Development of leadership skills
An aging and changing workforce means that organizations must plan for a wave of retiring employees while building new talent. To meet this challenge, organizations report an increasing need to develop leadership capabilities in their employees and cite a growing priority to improve skills in stakeholder management, interactive communication, and effectiveness in a cross-functional team environment.
The ESI 2011 Learning Trends Report, a global learning survey directed at a cross-section of commercial and government leaders, shows that 53% of organizations indicate that fostering and encouraging leadership skills in employees is an important area of training investment, coupled with a strong requirement to allocate funds and build business skills/acumen (40%) for technical professionals.
Leadership training can move the entire organization forward by:
- Equipping the workforce with skills in critical thinking and business acumen to identify organizational priorities and design the appropriate responses within a business context.
- Supporting a culture of individual accountability to speed decision-making, ensure successful project outcomes and ultimately, to assure organizational effectiveness.
- Rapidly developing the capabilities of less tenured employees to manage and lead successfully to ensure continuity and productivity.
Achieving a new level of team dynamics to create more integration and cohesion on projects and programs, resulting in greater workforce productivity.
Blended learning at the point-of-need
Blended learning contrasts with more traditional, commodity training focused on obtaining credentials. Credential training is a good starting point, but focuses exclusively on learning content to achieve a certification, rather than on-the-job application.
Just-in-time tools, learning-on-demand and self-paced online learning are just some methods that organizations are utilizing to ensure learning events are immediately relevant, with the added bonus of cost savings and flexibility by reducing travel and keeping people on the job.
Yet, the difficulty is that the more training choices you have does not necessarily translate into better results. A blended training approach needs to provide the right information at the point-of-need to enable an employee to perform effectively. For example, learners simply needing more information on a topic or seeking to recall information may require a different learning experience than those seeking to apply content to specific on-the-job challenges or organizational changes.
The blending of learning solutions is not simply offering a choice of modalities, but also takes into account content, learning styles, teaching techniques and learning environments, and aligns to specific learning objectives.
Therefore, a multi-touch, blended learning program must:
- Support the learner's ability to recall and repeatedly apply content in their work environment.
- Follow and complement the individual's workflow.
- Reflect and be tailored to support organizational methodologies, culture and technical readiness in order to assure an engaged and productive workforce.
Show the value of training
With training and development budgets under strain and scrutiny, HR recognizes the need to move beyond "smile sheets" to post-assessments that track learning transfer and business impact.
Learning can and should be a critical business process, enhancing not only individual or team performance, but also having a significant impact on the strategic and financial goals of an organization. If you can measure the business impact of learning then you are better able to determine how effective your organization achieves true learning transfer.
The first step is to define the key business impact areas for measurement. Some of these might be: increasing quality, increasing productivity, increasing employee engagement, decreasing costs, increasing revenue, increasing customer satisfaction, decreasing cycle time, decreasing risk and increasing effective communication.