The capabilities of knowledge workers, not technology or capital, is often a key constraint for organizational growth. Research reveals that a number of managers consider employee performance to remain the same even if their organization’s learning function is totally abolished. Studies further indicate:
- Ineffectiveness of Corporate Learning.
- Wrong investments in Learning and Development.
- Lack of linkage of learning with strategic goals.
- Focus on learning but not on employees’ development.
Investments and efforts on learning are concentrated towards wrong things. Abundance of online courses and mobile knowledge apps are triggering organizations to revisit their Corporate Learning Strategies. Utilization of innovative learning techniques—and modes—for leadership development has become the top agenda for senior learning leaders.
Learning and Development is important for organizations as:
- Employee engagement and leadership sets the right impetus for the organization.
- Competencies of knowledge workers makes the difference in achieving organizational growth.
- It delivers value, critical to survive—and outperform—competition.
- Effective learning experiences engage the emotional and cognitive centers of human brains, making employees appreciative of their organizational learning efforts.
Leadership, today, is more aware of the significance of Corporate Learning in Organizational Development and profitability. Leaders are now proactively striving to align their Corporate Learning objectives with demands of knowledge workers and strategic organizational goals.
The following learning practices represent 4 key phases of the process for defining and executing a research-substantiated Corporate Learning Strategy:
- Formulate the CEO Agenda
- Align Learning & Development (L&D) Resources
- Gain Buy-in from Key Stakeholders
- Activate the Learning Agenda
These learning practices have been grounded on senior leadership interviews and surveys on company strategy and decision-making rationale to develop corporate learning initiatives.
Let’s dive deeper into these 4 phases of Corporate Learning Strategy.
Formulate the CEO Agenda
Corporate Learning Strategy is much more than top management attending training events. It warrants making the corporate learning agenda an extension of the CEO agenda. Learning programs typically entail doing a Training Needs Assessment by interviewing mid-level management, who aren’t part of the organization’s strategic management, which makes the assessment flawed. Outsourcing the training function further compounds the problem.
The first phase of the Corporate Learning Strategy warrants gathering data from company reports, websites, and leadership interviews to enable documentation of senior leadership’s pain points, key issues, and strategic priorities. Mapping the CEO Agenda—uncovering the leadership priorities—should be the foremost element of aligning learning with strategy.
The step necessitates extensive meetings to identify leadership needs and attributes essential for future leaders and incorporating feedback of business leaders to develop new corporate learning initiatives. Chief Learning Officer reporting directly to the CEO facilitates the process.
Align Learning & Development (L&D) Resources
The matter as important as creation of a learning inventory is typically skipped at companies. The executives, there, find it difficult to track expenditure on learning programs carried out by scores of external consultants. Preparation of a repository of current Learning and Development resources has to be done regularly to make sure that the learning portfolio aligns with the organizational learning strategy.
Business units should align priorities and investment with top-level strategy. L&D leadership has to ensure that their interventions are tailored to the needs of the business. There should be regular reviews and calculated reorganization of the development infrastructure and processes (e.g., promotion and succession planning). The approach should focus towards strengthening the on-the-job learning experience, busting silos, and developing collaboration.
Gain Stakeholders Buy-in
Reorganization of Corporate Learning initiatives necessitates gathering input and support from all levels of the organization.
Interested in learning more about the other phases of Corporate Learning Strategy? You can download an editable PowerPoint on Corporate Learning Strategy here on the Flevy documents marketplace.
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In the wake of global pandemics when meeting face to face is not possible, it’s about facilitating workshops digitally, designing a formal agenda, and utilizing digital tools to ensure a productive virtual meeting. Digital Collaboration Platforms have been pivotal in the current scenario.
As a matter of fact, Digital Collaboration platforms have become a new norm and have forever transformed business work environment. Digital Facilitation tools are extensively used by facilitators, Change Management consultants, Organizational Development practitioners, and learning professionals as a way to collaborate on workshops, events, change initiatives, and learning programs.
Digital Workshop Facilitation can be categorized into the following 3 major types:
- Virtual Facilitation
In this type of Digital Facilitation, a group collaborates remotely in real time but from different locations. Common tools used are Zoom, GoToMeeting etc.
- Asynchronous Facilitation
In this facilitation method, a facilitator leads participants remotely at a different time and place. Common tools include Email, Slack etc.
- Face-to-Face Facilitation
In Face-to-Face facilitation, a facilitator interacts with a group of people in the same workshop space, in person. Digital tools can be used in such a setup instead of flip charts and sticky notes.
The new scenario brings forth new challenges in workshop facilitation that necessitate robust principles, methods, and tools for the future work environment to run smoothly. Understanding and adhering to the following best practices and principles in Digital Workshop Facilitation helps in attaining effective results just like face-to-face workshops:
- Specify well-defined guidelines and expectations.
- Form an assured environment to enable discourse.
- Ensure effective interaction before, during, and after a workshop.
- Ensure all voices are heard.
- Document the conversations.
- Alter the moderation approach based on the participants’ level of understanding.
- Seek comments and iterate.
Let us delve a little deeper into some of the principles:
1. Specify well-defined guidelines and expectations.
The remote nature of digital workshops limits the element of reacting to audience’s lack of attention. This warrants clear instructions regarding ground rules, both in writing and orally to compensate for this disadvantage. Participants need to use precise language in asking questions and answering them.
Instructions on technology and tools usage should be reiterated from time to time.
2. Form an assured environment to enable discourse.
Trusting participants in a virtual setting is difficult if you do not know them. It is the digital facilitator’s job to create conversation security in different ways. Spending time on icebreakers or other pre-engagement activities may ease the discomfort. Providing quick and positive feedback to those who actively contribute encourages shy participants and creates a positive environment. Informing the participants on how meetings are being documented and information on who has access to this documentation can reassure participants.
3. Ensure effective interaction before, during, and after a workshop.
Digital Facilitation platform can be used ahead of a meeting to help participants familiarize with each other, disseminate the agenda, initiate discussions, or obtain helpful information from the participants, such as questions, skill levels, ideas, etc. Digital Collaboration Platform should be the center of post-workshop activities, e.g., sharing documents, closing agendas, answering additional queries, and extended discussions.
4. Ensure all voices are heard.
Digital Workshop tools can facilitate participation of people who in a traditional workshop setup will not be able to participate due to dominance by a few individuals.
Interested in learning more about the Digital Workshop Facilitation principles, methods, and tools? You can download an editable PowerPoint on Virtual Work Digital Facilitation (Primer) here on the Flevy documents marketplace.