As companies pursue accelerated digital transformation ambitions to meet new customer expectations and adapt to the next normal, they will likely encounter the painful knock-on effects of an ever-widening skills gap. Driven in part by the global pandemic, customers and employees have increased their use of technology across home, work and play. This has further accelerated the need for digital organizational transformation, emphasizing new skills and capabilities in high demand. There are more open jobs for tech professionals who can drive transformation within organizations than there are candidates.
In order to overcome this need, companies are pursuing an ambitious talent agenda that involves reskilling and upskilling existing talent to support the future organization. The best way to do this is by deploying learning at scale within the organization. Internal learning and development programs that enable core capabilities around digital and technology are now top of mind as leaders look to elevate their collective workforce capability.
As learning providers sprint to deliver solutions, organizations will need to carefully evaluate which platforms will enable the most value creation now, next and beyond. They should also consider how to effectively synergize their learning platform with their talent and recruitment strategy.
Identify the right learning platform for the organization’s evolution
Evaluating and qualifying learning and development providers is no small task. Organizations will need to look for evolutionary providers which not only deliver learning outcomes but high levels of engagement within their virtual and remote learning delivery platforms.
One of the top benefits of virtual learning is its ability to engage near-limitless audience sizes. Scale offers the potential for high-quality instructors and quality curricula to reach larger audiences. But that’s just half of the equation; the way by which learning is delivered must be engaging and immersive, or retention and befit will suffer.
Many virtual learning designers fall into the trap of believing an on-demand replay of a high-quality lecture will suffice. However, this isn’t the case and in fact, the education sector’s pivot to distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic illuminates this point fully. Educators who completely redesigned curricula for virtual delivery and creatively adapted teaching styles in order to improve their students’ virtual education saw higher levels of engagement with online learning during COVID-19.
The takeaway is that online learning must be designed with the virtual student’s experience kept front and center. It must be approached with a blend of asynchronous and virtual instructor-led learning, reimagined to avoid disengagement and low levels of retention—the experience of learning matters just as much as the content and instructor. Organizations will need binge-worthy learning experiences that rival streaming providers in terms of engagement to actualize the benefits of virtual learning at scale.
Recruit and retain through investing in employee education
The good news is that providers are increasingly developing consumer-grade learning experiences at scale for organizations. In fact, learning as an adaptive managed service is poised for take-off as companies demand an agile, iterative, and responsive curricula that can flex to their organization’s needs today and look ahead to tomorrow.
Companies that implement robust learning platforms and services will likely discover a newfound competitive advantage across recruitment and retention as employees seek employer-sponsored learning and development programs to enhance their skill sets and capabilities. By implementing robust online learning and development, organizations will attract and retain naturally curious and forward-thinking talent. Marketing the organization’s learning platform to existing and potential talent can be a powerful lever across the company’s recruitment and retention strategy.
COVID-19 has made one thing clear, the content and the experience of digital learning are critical ‘get-rights’ for an organization’s digital learning offerings. Companies who understand this are afforded an added value-add, the ability to attract and retain talent through digital learning.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Ernst & Young LLP or any other member firm of the global EY organization.