6 min read

Do you operate in an emerging technology or industry sector?

After recruitment, one of the biggest tasks for enterprises in a new domain is to train employees for enhancing productivity. There are a large number of training programs devoted to soft skills and general management. However, niche areas with few domain experts are a complex problem to solve.

Enterprises allocate budgets for learning and development every year. But content creation, management, and deployment in emerging areas of technology and industry sectors are tall orders, especially when competent trainers and domain expertise are in short supply and recruiting a combination of these skills is prohibitive.

Limited domain expertise and a lack of trainers

For example, take a biotechnology company developing IP for drug discovery. New recruits may need to be integrated into the company’s area of work and brought quickly up to speed to perform and contribute. There is a base level of knowledge within biotech specific to the company they will have to learn. Companies could create their own content to begin with. But protecting the IP and delivering it across any medium or platform securely are not part of the internal skill set.

This is precisely where Impelsys can help enterprises manage the entire process—by leveraging domain knowledge available internally to build a content curriculum and delivery system with all IP protections in place.

This is not a simple content development exercise. It involves creating learning programs to fast-track competence, testing if employees have mastered the subject matter required and ensuring compliance.

Most learning and development companies can perform a few aspects of this exercise. They can either design or create the content but may not have the expertise to deploy it on a technology platform. Or a technology company can provide the platform, and another security firm can protect the company’s IP assets.

Long-term planning

Well-designed and discoverable content is one of the most significant internal assets a company can build for the long term. Instead of looking outside for help all the time, it helps to have internal resources to scale and train the talent available.

This can be built at every level across the company, depending on specific requirements. At the entry level, it could be a primer for market differentiation. As employees move up the ladder or for lateral entry, it becomes the core knowledge platform to sustain management principles and values.

A culture of learning and sharing comes from being able to communicate the company’s strengths and build a depth of expertise to be leveraged for the future.

Making it happen

In most companies, senior managers have extensive market and process knowledge with decades of experience. This can be tapped into for building the next generation of managers within. As the company grows and spreads geographically, departments tend to operate in silos with marginal crossover skills.

Internal communication focuses on the current state and activities of the company. What needs to happen is a dispersion of the knowledge within departments that can be captured and orchestrated by a skilled content curriculum development team.

After creating content, making it part of the knowledge stream and testing competence become the next issues to be tackled. A program that tests the knowledge of people performing the roles helps cultivate a culture of deep expertise.

Learning is a great retention strategy

There are several studies that show how continuous learning helps employees enjoy their jobs a lot more and deliver their day-to-day responsibilities to the very best of their abilities. It contributes to their overall well-being and sense of purpose. Companies that encourage and put learning programs in place tend to stay ahead in the market because they have built a greater depth of expertise within.

To quote a recent article that appeared in CNBC—94% of employees say that they would stay longer with a company as long as they are learning on the job.

And here’s what a LinkedIn survey found: According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report, 94 percent of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it simply invested in helping them learn.

This interest in learning and development is particularly strong among younger workers. LinkedIn’s research found that roughly a quarter of Gen Z and Millennials say learning is the number one thing that makes them happy at work, and over a quarter (27 percent) of Gen Z and Millennials say the number one reason they’d leave their job is because they did not have the opportunity to learn and grow.

Content creation is not the problem

Consistency and a planned approach are the real challenges. There could be several reasons that contribute. Companies may simply not have the time to devote to these issues in a fast-evolving industry. A belief that skills can be recruited from a market pool also drives a lack of investment in learning and development.

The skills required change over time as roles keep evolving. Keeping track of this is next to impossible, even for experienced L&D managers. This requires an articulation of the skills, which companies must build internally to stay competitive, and then review every few years to see if objectives are being met.

Simulation of real-world environments into the training process has been adopted into areas where it helps trainees experience their job functions and understand how they have to react and respond. This typically comes into play for jobs like product managers and game designers.

Gamification of the training process also enables making the learning process less academic and more goal-oriented. It also makes assessment easy when participants complete goals assigned to them and understand what is required.

This needs a complete learning system—right from determining what is needed to make it available across the company to putting in the assessment and qualifying systems to track competence parameters; and finally, keeping this secure and proprietary for the company’s own needs.

It cannot be accomplished with just parts of the system in place because there will be leakages and compliance problems. Content management, updating and assessment are equally crucial for the company to derive benefits that pay off in the long term.

Successful companies that have scaled and built multinational operations have invested to drive depth into their learning and development departments. There are no shortcuts; moreover, stop-gap expertise will always be more expensive in the long run.

At Impelsys, we are uniquely equipped to understand, develop, and deploy learning solutions that work best for the job or career functions crucial to the enterprise’s success.

George P Oommen, Vice President – Learning & Content Services