Fostering lifelong learning for future capable workforces
Get the latest research from SAP SuccessFactors into learning trends, digital learning, learning contexts, and intentionality in this space.
Understand the motives behind learning, what the best experiences of learning are, and how to create a culture that promotes this.
Hear about the role technology has to play in enabling lifelong learning.
With many organizations struggling with getting the skills they need from the external talent marketplace, there has been an increased onus on upskilling and internal talent mobility. And getting the right approach in this area can fuel sustained growth in the long term. It’s why UNLEASH is excited to deliver a data-driven webinar on how to create the types of lifelong learning organizations that can underpin the above benefits.
Led by Kate Graham, Head of Content Labs and Insights at UNLEASH, Dr. Lauren Park Research Scientist, Growth and Insights at SAP SuccessFactors and Carey Franklin-McInnes, Director, Learning, and Performance Development at Canada Life talk through the latest research in this area, using it to inform discussion of lifelong learning models, what future capable workforces look like, and what learning in new contexts and structures of work looks like.
Watch on-demand to:
- Hear about how the focus on learning has changed over the last two-plus years
- Learn about how Canada Life increased learning access uptake by a staggering figure
- Understand what motivates your learners and how to deliver for them
We have to be very thoughtful and very intentional about how we’re delivering learning experiences.
Dr. Lauren Park, Research Scientist, Growth and Insights at SAP SuccessFactors
What is driving your learning culture?
Firstly, Dr. Lauren Park kicked off the webinar by talking through how social factors and colleagues still have a role to play despite learning – largely as a result of the pandemic – being increasingly digital. This means that HR can’t just assume learning will occur in the right way just because it has rolled out a shiny new platform of digital delivery program.
In addition, employee values and purpose are front and center more than most in HR will be able to remember them ever being. Employees want more development and growth. This is driving cultures of demand where, as Park laid out, learning and development (L&D) is primed to play a key role. Already, most in L&D know there is an increased desire for development: a quick look back over the two years shows that many individuals had the impulse to use any extra time the pandemic gave them to learn new skills.
Alongside this demand is a whole plethora of capabilities and skill sets that, as Franklin-McInnes explained, organizations need going forward in order to navigate the future successfully. These are mental flexibility, resilience, the ability to be vulnerable in a work setting, comfortability, emotional connection, and emotional intelligence as well as a whole variety of futureproofed technical skills. It means they can’t just assume one-off learning programs can deliver then – learning is going to have to be continuous. For L&D, there’s a lot to do then.
Are organizations providing lifelong learning opportunities?
An audience poll during the webinar revealed that circa two-thirds are only just getting started or progressing on their journey to turn their organization into one where lifelong learning flourishes. It begs the question of how to get to a place where this type of culture and mindset is embedded.
Franklin-McInnes believes one way of doing this is to sell learning to employees as a key part of their own development and growth; something that is going to also be increasingly useful to them as the world of work changes and employees needs better emotional intelligence and self-starting collaboration and self-management tools. She added that organizations also need to embed a growth mindset in their culture, too; it can’t just be about changing the employee into an individual that wants to learn.
Of course, digital platforms will be useful tools to get towards this culture. With work increasingly hybrid and flexible and away from traditional geographic centers, tools that allow the right types of connections and collaborations to occur (sometimes asynchronously) and the right access to learning content will be key. Within this, HR must remember not to overburden and burn out its workforce; remembering that an impulse to learn is bettered and fostered within employees whose managers set good work-life boundaries. Something that is easy to forget as work, learning, and life, becomes more digital.
Learning is individual; so, focus on the individual
And, as ever, to get to the lifelong learning utopic goal, and push for greater, more continuous, and more deeply embedded learning has to be individualized, too. Here, HR must understand that there are many different types of learners: some want to learn from others’ experiences, some want the latest learning content, most want social learning, and others need contextual markers and learning to fit into their schedules. Of course, there will be those who want to learn for reasons as simple as hitting KPIs and developing, too.
Park believes – and she used SAP modeling during the webinar to illustrate this point – that broadly these motivations can be captured in three key areas. Firstly, there’s learning that employees must do to fulfill role expectations. Secondly, there’s learning to problem solve in the flow of work. And, lastly, learning to develop own skillsets, whether through curiosity, self, or to get a promotion. Here, Franklin-McInnes believes that the learning that employees must do for basic role fulfillment should be made as painless and efficient as possible, to free up time for learning that employees are self-driven to engage in, usually by career or growth wants. This will allow a learning culture to flourish organically.
Improving learning takeup; improving learning drivers
In fact, as was discussed in the webinar, this individualization might just be the best way to get towards being a lifelong learning organization where more workers are engaged in learning.
Canada Life’s Franklin-McInnes noted that to encourage learning at her business, they deliver lots of different styles – from blended to content-driven – but also went on a journey to get better data and a better learning management system. Here, even HR and L&D went on a learning journey in order to better shout about learning opportunities available within the organizations, getting to grips with marketing and shouting about opportunities to develop.
Technology was crucial in driving success here. Using linked-up platformers allowed Canada Life to ensure asynchronous learning could take place – something that will be crucial as work gets more flexible and structures more uncertain – and increased employee access to working content by a staggering figure. In fact, now, it looks like ongoing learning and active learning are happening at the insurance giant. As laid out in the webinar, they’ve gone from a place where less than one percent of their population was actively seeking learning to where the overwhelming majority were engaged. A life-long learning win!
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