Building future-ready workforces
Anthony Santa Maria on how personalised learning builds future-ready workforces
Organisations continue to experience tectonic shifts in response to the evolving conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic. To keep up, business leaders are increasingly realising that creating a culture of continuous learning is a competitive advantage amidst rapid change.
To meet the moment, organisations are strategising and implementing large-scale upskilling and reskilling programmes to ensure their employees – and the business – have the skills they need both now and in the future. And everyone’s looking to learning and development (L&D) professionals to make that happen.
According to the latest Workplace Learning Report, L&D pros said upskilling and reskilling is their number one priority for 2021. It’s a massive undertaking and a new muscle for many. In response, L&D pros are leveraging personalised content to drive the learner engagement that organic skill-building requires.
Today we’ll look at what it means for learning to be personalised and how it enables organisations to continuously develop their workforce and meet the needs of an uncertain future.
What is personalised learning?
When we talk about personalised learning, we’re referring to content and experiences tailored to a specific learner’s needs, learning style, career goals, and interests. While there are varying levels of personalised content, the most effective personalisation meets each learner where they are and helps them get where they want to go.
“With so much out of our control, something you can control is setting an intention that you can use to be successful in your personal and work life.”
According to our Workplace Learning findings, the desire for personalised learning is building steam, with 78% of respondents expressing the need for course recommendations based on career goals and skill gaps. That’s because our roles and responsibilities are changing before our eyes. It takes a culture of continuous learning to ensure your employees stay on top of the latest trending skills in their industry and have an understanding of how their range of skill sets compare to their peers.
Bottom line? Align learning to your employees’ career paths, and they will come.
This is great news for L&D pros who are starting to build out upskilling and reskilling programmes. It means that the work you put into building out career paths, internal mobility programs, and skill gaps analyses can help fuel learner engagement in whatever training programmes you decide to deploy. Below we’ve outlined three advantages to personalising your learning content.
1. Boost learner engagement
It makes sense that content personalised to an individual learner’s needs helps drive engagement, but we’re seeing an even greater impact on the heels of rapid digital transformation. According to this year’s Workplace Learning Report, 73% of respondents said they would spend time learning if it would help them perform better in their current role, and nearly 40% said they’ve utilised learning resources to move into a new role or learn skills to perform in a different function.
Ultimately, creating a personalised learning path is about meeting people where they are and truly understanding what drives their professional ambitions and passions.
“We believe that people learn better when they know what they’re truly, truly passionate about,” explained Leena Nair, CHRO of Unilever at LinkedIn Learning’s 2020 Virtual Summit. “What is it that gives people meaning? When they discover what they’re truly passionate and purposeful about, they learn much more easily.”
Building learning paths for every function and level of your business is no easy feat. You can reduce the curation burden by closely collaborating with functional leaders and subject matter experts, as well as senior leadership to identify the skills needed to move your business forward.
2. Give your organisation a competitive edge by upskilling and reskilling your workforce
The World Economic Forum predicts that a whopping 85 million jobs will go away and 97 million new ones will be created in just the next four years. Largely driven by digital transformation and the rise in AI technology, the ways organisations function, the products and services they develop, and the expertise they need to succeed are all going to look much different than they do today.
L&D pros are leading the charge to build programmes that strategically upskill, reskill, and provide opportunities for internal mobility. According to LinkedIn research, 64% of L&D pros say that reskilling the current workforce to fill skills gaps is a priority now, and another 62% say that internal mobility is a main priority.
“When the new ways of working are discussed, L&D needs to be part of those conversations and address the reskilling and upskilling needs that will inevitably come up,” says Simon Brown, Chief Learning Officer at Novartis. “That is the way to not only keep L&D’s seat at the table, but also continue to be a strategic partner shaping how work will happen in the future.”
L&D pros play a large role in helping their employees and organisations stay competitive in changing industries and markets. Leveraging personalised learning enables you to close skills gaps by strategically upskilling and reskilling your workforce. By curating learning paths that speak to your colleagues’ interests and overall business needs, you can build a learning culture where every employee – from summer intern to C-suite executive – considers themselves life-long learners.
3. Align professional development to business goals
Beyond providing value to your employees, building personalised and intentional pathways that align people’s skills and expertise to business goals and outcomes is a sure way to solidify L&D pro’s place as strategic partners to the business.
“When we’re intentional about what we want in our personal lives and can apply that same level of personal commitment to our professional development, this can show up as being more deliberate about setting goals for ourselves and our teams,” says Jodi Atkinson, Senior Director of Global Learning at Deltek. “With so much out of our control, something you can control is setting an intention that you can use to be successful in your personal and work life.”
Ultimately, when everyone has clarity on where their organisation is headed and how their roles fit into the bigger picture, learning becomes more meaningful and strategic. By achieving learning objectives and completing tailored career paths, your people will be better equipped to succeed in their roles, and their performance will directly support your business’ vision.
Building future-ready workforces
Understanding what people want to learn, how they learn best, and how personal and professional objectives tie into overarching business goals is not always easy – but it’s well worth the reward.
By tailoring your learning plans and career paths to both employee and business needs, you are sure to create a learning culture that unleashes your talent’s and business’s full potential.
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