Forbes (03/20/13) Bersin, Josh
U.S. businesses spend more than $60 billion per year on employee development, according to the 2013 Corporate Learning Factbook. Although some executives still question the value of that investment, experts suggest that an effective corporate learning strategy provides companies with an unquestionable competitive advantage. To illustrate these advantages and how to obtain them, the Chief Human Resources Officers for two high tech companies recently discussed the success of their own corporate learning strategies. These companies, as well as many others, have found that creating high-impact learning begins with integrating company talent practices with a culture of learning that is open to mistakes. In order to develop such a learning culture, companies should follow four steps. At first, formal training can be eschewed in favor of coaching from managers and staff alike. However, as the learning culture expands, the company should put in place a corporate university on scale with the needs of the organization. This brings the organization to the “professional training” step, which should be developed through a needs analysis model to determine what skills employees require to do their jobs well. Next, the company begins to incorporate different learning programs as an essential part of its talent strategy. This incorporation process focuses on long term career paths and continuous learning. When the company finally reaches the fourth step, it brings together both informal and formal learning programs to aid employees in the development of job capabilities for each position. Strategies in place include action reviews, performance support tools, mobile learning, small teams, and military coaching programs. At this level, corporate learning is not just about productivity and reducing errors, it is essential to gaining competitive advantage.
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Basic skill sets around accountability and communications are necessary for new recruits to be most effective in a culture.