Is L&D the emerging power centre at growth-obsessed organisations?


Back in 1993, HBR defined the ‘learning organisation as ’ …an organization skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights. This definition begins with a simple truth: new ideas are essential if learning is to take place.

In a study done in 2019 by LinkedIn,  94% of employees said that they would stay with an organisation that contributed to their knowledge of the business and their own roles.

Building a learning culture is critical for the success of every organization. In studies conducted over the years, one fact came out loud and clear. People prefer working in environments where they learn constantly. It is also established that the longer productive people stay with an organization, the better they understand its business and the greater their contributions are.

Hence learning should be encouraged at every level to enhance the capability of people within the organization.

How is a learning organisation built?

The first stage is all about creating easy access to learning and encouragement to learn. Decades ago, libraries were created within and employees were encouraged to spend time acquiring new knowledge. But that’s not feasible in today’s office environments where keeping knowledge current is a task in itself, especially in sectors where new markets and audiences are reshaping economies. A company needs to capture this change through L&D to drive internal change well in time to capitalize on it.

One way of building a learning culture is by having the leaders facilitate regular learning sessions through structured interactions. At Impelsys we devote a several hours, on a fixed schedule, every month to present new developments, projects, innovations in the industry, etc. These sessions are conducted by experts and leaders within the organization and by experts brought in from outside the organization. These sessions help us stay abreast and ensure that the knowledge dissemination is seamless, effective and reaches across the organization. Mandating people to read or acquire knowledge rarely achieves the desired results. Instead, creating an environment that fosters learning and rewards gets much better traction.

The enhancement of a learning culture

At every level within an organisation, there are a set of competencies that need to be met. You can inculcate a learning culture by firstly identifying these knowledge and skill gaps within the organisation.  Providing the right training to bridge the skill and knowledge gaps becomes critical for learning and development of the employees and the organization on the whole.

Another step that companies need to take is figuring out the market requirements. L&D managers can work in tandem with the CXOs and the HR department to foresee market requirements. They can then lay out a road map and  develop training programs so employees can reach milestones keeping in mind the market requirements. .

Digital transformation companies, valued at a trillion dollars have instituted strong learning systems and feedback loops within the company, in order to leverage the knowledge, they are gathering. They did this at a faster pace than companies created a few generations ago. And that made a significant difference to their development.

In 2019, U.S. companies spent $83 billion on employee training. It’s an indicator of the magnitude of change that L&D will drive in the decades ahead. In the first wave, software companies continually reinvented themselves. But the larger economy outside of IT, including manufacturing,  logistics, and retail were slower to adapt. And that helped companies with a strong IT core to surpass competitors from other industries.

Dealing with new and emerging challenges

Interactions and discussions play a major role in defining trainings and the workplace on the whole. However, with remote work becoming the new norm, and people wanting to continue working from home, companies have to deal with many new challenges. Most social interactions are now confined to screens and that has led to several adjustments having to be made. L&D has to deal with the challenging conditions and it sets the stage for doing things in ways that haven’t been explored before. Employees need to get used to learning online, collaboratively as opposed to one-on-one face to face sessions.

The L&D team has to now stay in synch with customer needs, learn to iterate, respond to suggestions, and quickly roll out programs. Mapping individual learning paths and measuring the success of learning initiatives could become the big goals that they may have to aspire to reach.

Learning organisations adapt better

The leaders within an organization know that markets and values need to be redefined from time to time, and they make the effort required to make necessary changes to inculcate learning and development within their teams. When change is accepted right at the top, it’s easily implemented and accepted down the line. This acceptance of change is a common characteristic of learning organisations. It helps them adapt better.

Adapting to change requires learning how markets evolve and exploring new ways to deliver value. As a result, learning becomes part of the company’s core function. Companies also get  over lean phases by learning and finding innovative solutions to problems.

Learning organizations can also cope better when difficult situations arise. In the light of what happened in the last year, when the pandemic struck businesses, and upset carefully constructed plans, the companies that weathered it and came out stronger, had resources and talent that they had nurtured for long to tide them through difficult situations.

Skills for future success

Skilled employees have become a competitive advantage for companies to leverage. L&D departments play a pivotal role towards keeping employees motivated and in turn retaining them. L&D is being utilized to keep internal motivations high and knowledge at the forefront. This is crucial for the future of the organization since finding the requisite skills externally is both expensive and time-consuming, apart from the time it takes for new employees to contribute and add value.

As technology evolves, they will have to identify the skillsets that will make a competitive difference and plan training in advance to make resources available when demand spikes.

Remote work and training are changing L&D

With remote working now in practice and employees being scattered around various geographies, managing L&D has moved online, almost completely. A year after the pandemic, about 79% of the companies have moved their training resources online. This is a good time to assess how effective the learning has been, whether it is, keeping up with the times and how it can be delivered seamlessly. This, apart from internal assessments and evaluating if the training is being delivered as per expectations.

When companies need to manage this transition, they will benefit by having a partner who understands every aspect of the process. At Impelsys, we bring linear and static content to life by adding interactivity, reusability, and discoverability features.

That leads to greater engagement, the ability to learn on the go and across devices and screens. Images, audio and video can be deployed leading to better acceptance to suit different learning orientations.