The pace of technology change has implications on skills and that’s why aspiring talent will always want fresh opportunities for growth and will look elsewhere if their company isn’t offering them. On a similar note, the mercurial rise of new innovations such as cloud computing, blockchain technology, big data/analytics, the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence, among others means that today’s employees have to continuously learn, own their skill relevance and embrace the new and unknown.
A survey by Pew Research Center shows that 87% of workers believe it will be essential for them to get training and develop new job skills throughout their work life in order to keep up with changes in the workplace. This, as a result, creates some challenges especially to those organizations that do not have the necessary mechanics in place to facilitate continuous learning and enhance knowledge acquisition.
The right strategies that enhance knowledge acquisition can be a game-changer for both the organization and the workforce. In fact, helping employees develop their digital skills can boost an organization’s digital transformation efforts. To achieve this, organizations need to understand the state of their employees’ competence, motivation and overall engagement levels by evaluating the current employee experience and journey.
Through this primer, we’ve offered a number of ideas that companies can adopt to continuously develop their employees.
Provide More Learning Resources
By providing more learning resources that enhance knowledge acquisition, organizations can make it easy for employees to take part in continuous learning. Huawei is a classic example of a company that offers their employees the best opportunities to realize their goals. The company provides apps, online and classroom training that can help its workforce adapt to developments in technology. According to Harry Bai, Huawei’s Global Vice President, HR, the company encourages its employees to take responsibility for their own growth and development, while providing platforms to support them. Through its most important platform, Huawei University, which offers 25,000 courses, the company is geared to providing practical support throughout people’s careers. It’s a very much a hands-on approach, with all the tutors and trainers being managers and experts from business departments.
Introduce Innovation Contests
An Innovation contest is whereby a particular company asks its employees to come up with ideas for products or services they want. This can be a solid strategy for enhancing knowledge acquisition as it promotes communication and interaction, encourages the workforce to actively participate in creative competition and consequently increases the company’s innovation performance.
Examples include the innovation contest that Huawei runs on its Wireless Network Product Line, which receives more than 4,000 entries every year. As long as an employee comes up with an idea that is innovative and is commercially and technologically viable, the company will provide the investment to incubate and implement the idea through a project team. In fact, more than a thousand ideas from the contest have been implemented, creating multiple technological breakthroughs for Huawei.
Make It Easy for Employees to Learn
Today’s fast-paced business environment means that employees don’t have much time to enroll for new classroom courses in universities. With the advent of new ways of learning, organization can make it easy for employees to acquire new skills.
UL, a global independent safety science company, for instance, has introduced a blended learning program. This program offers learning materials in bite-sized modules. Employees can learn at their pace and even use their preferred devices, hence encourages active participation.
Enterprises can also integrate personalized training programs as this allows employees to learn curriculum that is unique to each of them. This ensures that they actively pursue more learning and development opportunities in the company.
AR/VR works by virtually placing employees in various scenarios that are not practical or cost-effective to recreate in reality. Walmart, for instance, trains its employees through VR after it partnered with Strivr, a company previously known for helping NFL players train. Employees get to put on an Oculus Rift headset and enter different real-world scenarios, during which they’ll be asked to make simple choices based on what they see. According to Strivr CEO Derek Belch, “the goal here is to put employees in scenarios that would be inconvenient to physically re-create — like dealing with spills, or preparing for a Black Friday shopping spree.”
The good thing with AR/VR is that learners are able to retain 75% of what they are taught, compared to a 10% retention rate from reading or listening to a presentation. The two technologies provide hands-on experience that allows for better learning outcomes.
Consider Knowledge Sharing
Continuous learning is not only about learning in classrooms or signing up for online courses but also sharing knowledge among colleagues within the company. With a social enterprise network in place, knowledge sharing can be an easy and a cost-effective way for employees to acquire knowledge. Salesforce, for example, has embraced the concept of knowledge sharing to enhance knowledge acquisition among its employees. The company is using Chatter (an enterprise collaboration platform from salesforce), where a subject matter expert can get invited at any moment into a conversation in real-time. The platform comes with an amazing amount of workflow automation, designed to enrich the conversation. It does this by connecting employees to people that they may not personally know, but who are experts in the conversation that they’re currently having. This, as a result, is driving a culture of continuous learning and knowledge acquisition.
The Bottom Line
We believe organizations need to reframe their traditional view of workforce drivers and adopt top strategies such as enhancing knowledge acquisition to enable a work environment reflective of the era of ever-changing digital technologies and skills.
Is your organization finding it hard to provide opportunities to the employees to facilitate continuous learning? Check out our ebook, Driving Talent Strategy in Today’s Digital Age, and learn the hottest trends that are enhancing knowledge acquisition in modern workplaces.
Driving Talent Strategy In Today’s Digital Age
Explore the ways organizations can enhance their talent engagement strategies and bring out the best in their workforce.