It’s now widely accepted that a well thought-out learning program has the potential to improve employee task effectiveness, nurture innovation, and open up new business opportunities. Indeed, a recent study found that 77% of employees anticipate that their learning program will enhance the quality of their work. In addition, 70% look forward to increased business success as a result.
An increased focus on workforce learning has led to many companies allocating ever-larger budgets to this area in recent years. However, not all organizations derive optimum value from their training dollar.
So, how can you ensure that your learning program makes your business more profitable and competitive? And how do you help your employees to build more fulfilling, successful careers?
Rethink workforce development
According to a recent infographic from SAP Education, Scale New Heights with Learning that Benefits Your Workers and Your Business, many organizations are now abandoning rigid traditional training approaches. Instead, they are finding success through flexible learning programs that are more closely tailored to meet the needs of individual employees.
The infographic highlights ways in which organizations can make their training budgets work harder – and add real value to the business. Five key steps identified are as follows:
1. Make learning continuous
People want continuous, on-the-job learning and coaching by mentors and experts – not episodic, formal instruction. This approach enables workers to learn what they need when they need it. Meanwhile, companies benefit from having a workforce with up-to-date skills.
2. Stop focusing only on high performers
To help ensure high business performance and retain employees, you must train everyone – not just high-potential employees. And don’t forget your contingent workers and partners. They also need the right skills to help you achieve your goals.
3. Support employee-driven learning
When workers embrace informal learning, give them your full support. Find new ways to deliver knowledge, and encourage workers to share learning materials or create interactive classes of their own with their colleagues.
4. Foster social learning
By making information available on smartphones and tablets, you can provide learning anytime and anywhere and extend the reach of your internal experts. Social technology also provides natural platforms for asking questions and sharing information.
5. Fill the data void
To gain insight into workforce capabilities, collect and analyze information on employee skills, experience, and certifications. You can unearth important learning opportunities that help employees excel in their jobs.
Reach the pinnacle of success
It’s clear that the organizations that are deriving the most value from their corporate training investment are those who place the employee at the heart of the learning experience. They enable all staff – from boardroom to factory floor – to acquire the skills they need, when they need them and in the manner that works best for each individual.
By providing best-quality learning opportunities in this way, your company can boost productivity and drive quality improvements, while improving workplace satisfaction and inspiring colleagues to reach the next level. So, together, you can scale new heights and drive competitive advantage to the max.
 Survey: SAP Education Business Value Story,” Pierre Audoin Consulting, spring 2014.