Spending a lot of time with organizations, at conferences, and reading industry research and blogs, I see the phrases “out of sync” and “learning revolution” being thrown around a lot in reference to the current state of corporate learning. There might be some truth to those words – only 18% told Degreed they would recommend their employers’ training and development opportunities.

But a more accurate statement is that there is a massive shift happening in the way people are learning in their jobs.

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The fact is, most workers do spend time learning every week, and they progress every day, in all kinds of ways – not just sometimes, in courses or classrooms. This means that the L&D environment should enable self-directed development as well as formal training – and it should do that through both micro and macro-learning. Equally as important, we as L&D leaders, have to make the vast array of learning content and experiences more meaningful by curating the right resources and tools, providing context, and by engineering useful connections and interactions.

We call this a learning ecosystem. We are in an exciting time where technology, the gig economy, the vast demographics of our workforce have given us the opportunity to rethink our approach and the possibilities! So what does a culture of continuous learning that includes formal and informal, job training and career development, L&D and self-service, look like?

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You need a comprehensive ecosystem of systems and tools that include the following capabilities:

  • curate many different types of content
  • Allow learners to explore indefinitely
  • Aggregate data from all over the organization without manual work into one tool
  • Dashboards to monitor activity deeper than completions
  • Analysis without spreadsheets or data scientist

Perhaps most importantly, embrace APIs, and standards compliance using Tin Can/Experience to ensure that all of your tools will plug in together.

There is also no one-size-fits-all for tools, but platforms like Degreed and Bridge help facilitate L&D’s expanding requirements through their support of required, recommended and self-directed talent development, allowing organizations to meet the needs of a changing workforce.

Learning and development opportunities are a critical factor in making employee engagement (and more importantly, performance) happen. Today, people expect utility, relevance, and personalization, and you create that through a comprehensive learning ecosystem.

Want to know more about the Degreed and Bridge ecosystem? Check out the PR on their new integration.

Co-authors: Sarah Danzl – Communications & Content Marketing, Degreed & Katie Bradford – Director of Platform & Partner Marketing, Instructure

Today’s workforce operates at unprecedented levels, with technology and an increasingly diverse workforce constantly reshaping the world of work. The changes affect multiple facets of the business, right down to people operations. The shifts experienced by L&D are so great that HR expert Jeanne C. Meister suggests that the conventional wisdom about work and the role of HR departments has become obsolete.

Todd Tauber, VP of Product Marketing at Degreed, recently caught up with Jeanne for a Q&A on the future of work and what our always-on economy means for the way organizations view learning.

Todd: You’ve recently written about the idea of “the serial learner” — what we at Degreed call “the career-long learner”. Can you explain what that means, exactly?

Jeanne: Serial learning is a term I coined in “The Future Workplace Experience: 10 Rules In Mastering Disruption In Recruiting and Engaging Employees” book to imply the need for continuous learning on the part of employees.

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As I noted in The Future Workplace Experience, serial learners possess some of the same qualities as serial entrepreneurs. They are intellectually curious, not satisfied with business as usual, always reaching beyond their current role to learn something new, making connections out of seemingly unrelated topics and seeking out different networks to continuously learn. I think the same concept applies to learners today. This concept is gaining importance as the half life of knowledge is doubling every 2.5 years across all jobs not just technical ones.

Todd: You’ve also said being a serial learner is becoming crucial for career growth. And we’re seeing echoes of that in lots of other places. Why is this idea suddenly taking hold?

Jeanne: I believe the reason serial learning is so key for ongoing career growth is the rate and pace of change in every industry have accelerated. Consider that 52% of the FORTUNE 500 organizations have merged, been acquired or gone bankrupt since 2000. Those companies that are still on the FORTUNE 500 list are responding to change by becoming what I termed in the book, “learning machines.” They are creating a culture of continuous learning and they are also quite transparent about the need for serial learning.

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Consider the CEO of AT&T, Randall Stephenson challenged AT&T employees with this: “If you don’t develop new skills, you won’t be fired but you won’t have much of a career at AT&T. For the company to survive, AT&T employees should be spending between 5-10 hours a week learning online on their own time, to avoid technological unemployment.” Sound harsh? It’s an honest assessment in the case of AT&T and the question for all of us is will we see more CEO’s putting out these types of challenges to their employees.

Todd: How does all this affect corporate training and talent development leaders? How are you seeing chief learning officers and CHROs adapt to this new normal …their people, their processes, their tools, and technology?

Jeanne: I am seeing a sea of change in how companies are dealing with disruption as the new normal in corporate learning. First and importantly, there is the changing composition of team members in corporate learning. When I was conducting interviews for The Future Workplace Experience, I saw a number of new roles in corporate learning, such as Learning Experience Manager, Curator, Employee Community Manager and head of People Analytics. These new roles speak to a new direction for corporate learning – one that is data driven, while taking into consideration the need to craft a new experience for learners, one that is personalized, anticipates their learning needs and is relevant to the strategies priorities of the business.

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The processes and technologies are also changing, Processes no longer start with ensuring efficiency and standardization in Corporate Learning, but now routinely take into account the needs and expectations of learners. A growing number of companies are employing design thinking to create a human-centered approach to learning and one that starts with understanding the needs of the learner rather than the Corporate Learning function. Finally, I am seeing growing interest in technologies which aggregate all of the learning an employee participates in not just the company sponsored learning. In addition to technologies that curate learning, I am also seeing more companies integrate adaptive learning allowing employees to learn at their own pace and participate in learning will best suit their needs.

Todd: So how does all this fit into the overall employee experience …or as you call it, Jeanne, the future workplace experience? What’s career-long (or serial) learning’s role in the bigger picture?

Jeanne: The overall workplace experience is one that mirrors the best experience a company creates for its customers. I like to challenge my Corporate Learning clients to think of their best customer experience, and then ask them to describe their emotions. Many share emotions such as happiness, joy, delight and surprise as they recount a particularly memorable customer experience. Well, that’s what companies are seeking as they create a compelling workplace experience for their employees.

Interested in learning more about serial learning? Join us at a Degreed: Focus event near you:

Jeanne is Partner at Future Workplace and co-author of The Future Workplace Experience: 10 Rules For Mastering Disruption in Recruiting and Engaging Employees

 

 

Let’s get uncomfortably honest for a minute. CEOs are concerned about business results. They are paid to drive shareholder value, which is a function of three things: revenue growth, company profitability, and how efficiently an organization uses their assets.

Historically, that mentality has pervaded the way organizations value learning and how they invest. Most L&D organizations have been built for scalability, efficiency, and standardization.

Technology for most L&D teams is a way to deliver more, at a lower cost, with more consistency. The problem with that mentality is our learners aren’t one size fits all, or even one size fits most. It’s no surprise then that only 18% of employees would recommend their organizations training and development opportunities.

What this tells us is that the focus on efficiency, not engagement, doesn’t bode well in the workforce. The good news is that some organizations, like Caterpillar, are breaking the mold.

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If you go to industry events or keep up on articles and blogs in the learning space, you’re probably seeing increased conversation about engagement, and a whole new crop of tools popping up that are the result of solving the learning problems of today. While great resources, the most valuable information comes from those that have embraced the digital revolution, and are leading the charge to better the employee development experience.

Caterpillar’s Mike Miller, Division Manager of Global Dealer Learning, was interviewed by Todd Tauber of Degreed on his evolving approach to L&D and training. Here are some of our favorite excerpts from the conversations.

Todd: Caterpillar seems to be aiming for more of a balance between efficiency and flexibility in learning. How are your strategies and approaches for developing capabilities in your workforce shifting?

Mike: To be honest with you, Caterpillar has never really lost the focus that people are our competitive advantage. The big change that we have going forward and the shift that you’re seeing in our strategy is less of a one-way conversation where we put out packages to one that’s community-led.

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With a community-led strategy, we have turned on solutions and content that allows everybody to contribute, and so by having the population rather than a handful of people working on learning, we are able to obtain organization capabilities far easier because we have well over 300,000 people contributing.

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Todd: How’s Caterpillar rebalancing the people, the time, the money, so that you can manage less and empower more?

Mike: There are still formal programs at Caterpillar. But people were looking for the next step: what is past the formal program? We’ve moved to a three-tier approach on our content. It includes making all of our content easily accessible on our mobile phones. And then we want to have onsite support, meaning at the time you have a question and/or an issue, we really can help you solve that, right? And last, where we need to, we’ll still do instructor-led training because there are places we still need to do certification or accreditations.

If you look at these components, we’re really trying to do put an ecosystem together that allows people to contribute and consume on demand as they need to.

Looking to empower your workforce to consume content on demand like Caterpillar? Set up your Degreed profile today!

Organizations spend billions each year on formal training programs. Yet it’s estimated that only about 10% of what is learned in training is applied at work. This is likely a concerning statistic, but probably not all that surprising, considering learner behavior today.

Formal, L&D-led training is still a valuable part of how workers learn – around 70% of people told Degreed they take live, virtual or e-learning courses from their employers at least once a year. But these same people use informal, self-serve learning experiences to support their growth on a daily basis. According to Degreed research, 85% of workers said they learn things for work on a weekly basis by searching online, nearly 70% learn from peers or by reading articles and blogs and 53% learn from videos.

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This data makes it clear that people progress every day, from a variety of resources.  The same survey told us they already invest 3.3 hours a week on their own. But a source that’s accessed once a year versus a source that’s accessed daily tell us people want more than what they can find in the typical L&D course catalog, though.

As demand from the workforce grows, making learning easy, accessible, personalized is only going to get more important. And not just important enough to keep workers happy. So important that it will be the difference in retaining employees.  As Josh Bersin put it at Degreed Lens, opportunity has become directly correlated to employee engagement and tenure within organizations.

So what can the enterprise do about it? Prioritizing growth, development, and learning will create a culture that positions both the company and its employees for success.

There are many ways to emphasize learning as a central strategy but here are four that can take you to the next level and make learning a strategic advantage.

“Mastercard had a vision – to create the most innovative and enviable learning environment for current and future employees. We activate this strategy through three simple goals: growing skills, diversifying learning modalities and building a world-class learning infrastructure,” said Steve Boucher,  Vice President, Global Talent Development for Operations & Technology at Mastercard.

So how does a global $9 billion organization prove their investment in each of the 13,000+ employees, spread across more than 37 offices around the world?

By creating a learning culture, facilitating continuous personal and professional learning experiences for their workforce.

From a technology standpoint, Mastercard implemented an enterprise-wide learning tool, Degreed at Mastercard, where employees can discover, curate, share and track both internal and external learning resources on thousands of topics in a wide variety of formats.

The Talent Development team saw savings in curriculum and content development time, but the bigger success was an increase in employee engagement. Employees were growing their skills at will, contributing to organizational innovation, allowing Mastercard to remain competitive in a rapidly changing industry.

We are proud to be a part of the Mastercard learning journey, and congratulate them on their recent “Best Corporate University Program” award from HR.com.

To find out the 3 things Mastercard did to fuel a continuous learning culture, check out their case study.

 

 

Think about all the times you have launched a new program, tool or initiative in your organization. All the hype, excitement, planning, preparation, team members involvement, etc. Your launch comes and goes, but then what? How do you keep the hype going?

You have one major advantage straight out of the gate – your team is ALWAYS learning! In fact, they spend 4 hours a week on average on learning activities.

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Encourage them to keep going with our top 3 suggestions for increasing engagement after the launch of a new tool.

  1. A great way to keep your workforce engaged is by providing or facilitating  what they need to be continuously learning for personal and professional growth. Consider your day and how you learn and consume content. It’s likely you are reading articles, watching videos, listening to a podcast or audiobook during the commute to work, attending professional events, talking with peers or mentors…The list goes on and on. While potentially outside the scope of what our formal training programs might consider learning, all of this informal growth matters and counts. So…
  2. Keep your learners engaged by celebrating ALL learning and encourage them to participate in the organization’s offerings  by serving them up content that’s relevant to the individual, personalized, and matches how they are learning through different sources.
  1. Better support career development by creating a needs assessment within your organization.  Knowing what is being searched, learned or asked about amongst your team and learning technologies will allow you to better deliver  content that’s relevant to what will have the most impact for your learners.

Research tells us your workers are invested in their personal growth, so much so that they already spend $339 a year on it. To continue driving hype and excitement even after the launch, your best approach is meeting your learners where they are with what they want to learn!

Welearned1

You are creating change and we thank you.

To find out more of what your workforce learned in 2017, check out the Year in Review. What will you and your team learn in 2017?

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Purchasing an enterprise learning solution like Degreed, is a high-consequence decision most companies only make once every five to ten years, so how do you justify the purchase of something like Degreed to your CFO?

Here are four ways Degreed is a positive return on your investment:

1. Improves learning team productivity  

Degreed offers several tools for leader-led and automated curation. To see the complete list, visit 5 ways to curate learning with Degreed.

Degreed pathways, a curated collection of content from any source, can be built in as little as 20 minutes, or 8-12 hours for advanced competencies. This is a huge time saving when compared to the days and weeks it takes to build a custom course from scratch.

Don’t take our word for it. Tenaris uses Degreed’s curation tools and leverages subject matter experts to combine current content and add curated materials to create a broader learning experience.

And when Mastercard rolled out Skype for Business, instead of rolling out a custom course that would have taken 2 people at least a week to create, they curated a pathway in a matter of hours. If you apply this recipe to all of your generic learning needs, that gives your team a lot more time to spend creating custom content for topics that will move the needle in your business.

2. Improves end-user productivity

Content is everywhere and workers are overloaded. Continuous learning is now a requirement for today’s workforce to stay competitive, but who has the time?

We need simple, faster ways to find the content we need, when we need it. Degreed will save your employees time and energy searching for the learning they need to target their development. Degreed does this through personalized learning recommendations, and its ability to connect all the best learning experiences regardless of source or format. The best way to prove this point to your CFO is to demo Degreed’s universal search in action.

Intel’s Director of Digital Platform for Learning, Tim Quinlan, did just that. He told the audience at Degreed’s LENS a story of how he justified the purchase of Degreed to his CFO. “When she asked me how we calculate ROI for this thing, I asked her the same thing. I said, “Tell me something you’re interested in learning about.”

She said raspberry pi, a microcontroller. Tim’s response was “try to find it in our current system.” First, Intel’s CFO tried searching in the LMS, and didn’t find anything. Next, she tried searching in Google, which returned some ads and a product review. Then she tried Degreed. Degreed’s universal search returned several items, including a video introduction to Raspberry Pi from Lynda. And because Degreed offers single sign on, she could access the Lynda video with one click. The Degreed search saved her several minutes to find the learning she was interested in. Now multiply the minutes saved, by the number of searches done each week by each employee, by 100,000 people at Intel, which results in some serious time savings.

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3. Reduces IT overhead  

A special interest to the CFO, Degreed helps reduce IT overhead in several ways. Degreed offers a fast, simple implementation process in the cloud, and can reduce IT costs associated with ongoing maintenance and future learning implementations. These days, learning happens all over the place. If you’re part of a large organization you probably have at least one LMS, perhaps multiple. You likely have content from multiple content providers. You might also have Sharepoint or other custom portals to help employees find all of these resources.

Degreed can simplify all of this with one unified access point with integrations to all the learning in your organization and remove the need for custom portals.

One Degreed customer had 200 custom learning portals, which was becoming increasingly difficult for IT to manage, and cost prohibitive. By purchasing Degreed, they were able to offer employees one central location for all learning and significantly reduce IT costs. And because Degreed is a Saas solution with a simple, streamlined implementation process, it is a much easier platform to administer and maintain.

4. Streamlines vendor management

Are you spending a ton of money on content to find it only being used by a fraction of employees? Are you spending a ton of IT resources to onboard new content providers? Degreed already has integrations with most of the top content providers, streamlining the implementation hurdles of incorporating new content vendors into your organization’s learning ecosystem, while reducing the burden on your IT staff.

Degreed’s ongoing monitoring of content usage can assist you in future licensing decisions – allowing your org, and the CFO, to get the best bang for your content buck. From within Degreed, you can see analytics across all content providers (both internal and external), and you can see not only what people are taking, but also what subjects they are searching for. Now, when you go to make a content purchase or create a custom course, you are empowered to make better decisions and purchase the content that employees actually need and are using for their jobs. And you can always leverage the large selection of free and low-cost learning available in Degreed out-of-the-box.

Takeaways

These are just a few tips to help make the case with your CFO. There are a lot of other reasons to buy Degreed, including, improved employee engagement and user experience, better learning culture, more insights into learning, and a better tool for onboarding, sales enablement, leadership development, and more. If you have other tips, we’d love to hear them.

To learn more about Degreed, visit get.degreed.com/business

For a long time, perhaps too long, the HR and training functions have dictated learning for employees. But workers have started taking things into their own hands as they realize their competitive advantage, their employability, is tied directly to their skill set. This shift from relying on L&D to self-directed has left many organizations wondering what their next move should be.

The best place to start is putting yourself in the learner’s’ shoes and examine the human behaviors around growth and development.

At Degreed LENS, Tim Quinlan of Intel shared the value of approaching your workforce, the learners, as consumers or customers.

“I said, “How do you learn today? What do you want to learn about and how do you learn? If you’re curious about something how do you do it?” And [the management team] said, ‘Well, I have this trusted third party I go to or I do a Google search.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, that’s my experience as well… I think what I want is something that will seriously complement or compete with a Google search because that’s the learning tool at Intel.”

Degreed research compliments Tim’s story. Almost 85% of survey respondents said they learn things for work by searching online at least once a week, nearly 70% learn by reading articles and blogs every week, and 53% learn from videos in any given week.

HR, training and L&D provide the mostly high-value learning experiences people need sometimes, whereas Google or asking a peer or boss for guidance happens all the time, every day, right at the moment of need and not 3 weeks down the road. Recognizing that learning is happening all the time, not just through L&D offerings, it makes sense that “a new type of employee learning is emerging that is more “consumer- like,” commented Josh Bersin during his presentation at Degreed LENS.

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“Learner-centric” practices are at the heart of what more effective organizations deliver in their learning. Organizations that are more mature and advanced tend to deliver a lot less training through traditional methods and more through experiential, social, collaboration. Learning teams that are aligned with and meeting expectations of the larger organization empower “always-on learning, and a culture of exploration and discussion to enable continuous invention1.”

The most important tool in your kit for 2017? Your workers. “If you’re not focused on the experience of the employee, and you’re focused on what you want to do and the content you want to build and how great it is, you’re missing the boat,” added Bersin.

Want to hear more about how organizations such as Intel and Atlassian are embracing the consumer mindset? Check out the highlight video from Degreed LENS in San Francisco.

For more content from the LENS event, visit the Digital CLO content library!


1 – Predictions for 2017: Everything is Becoming Digital, Bersin by Deloitte, 2016

Digital technology is transforming just about everything, and fast. Yet just 33% of organizations say their top-level managers understand and support digital initiatives. If you’re not working on transforming your L&D and HR function for the digital age, too, then maybe you should.

The reality is, the world is changing constantly. And according to major startup investor Paul Graham, it creates not just threats, but also huge opportunities – if you recognize the signals in time and adapt appropriately.

McK quote Digital CLO

The threats that come with being a chief learning officer (CLO), or working for one, are real. Reality is getting more virtual. Intelligence is getting more artificial. Data is getting bigger. It will take a new breed of chief learning officer that can adequately adjust to meet the needs of today’s workforce. Say hello to the Digital CLO.

The formula for success as a Digital CLO in learning and development (L&D) – which is essentially the algorithm for developing capabilities and driving business performance – is well-known:
Alignment + Efficiency + Effectiveness = Outcomes

That doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Most CLOs struggle to get or stay aligned. Almost 60% of the workforce’s skill sets don’t match changes in their companies’ strategies, goals, markets or business models.

Many CLOs also have a hard time being efficient. As much as 70 cents out of every dollar invested in L&D is wasted on irrelevant, redundant, low quality or unused training.

Most importantly, too many CLOs aren’t actually effective where it counts. Nearly three quarters of CEOs say that a lack of critical expertise is a threat to their businesses’ growth.

Some CLOs, however, are adapting and evolving – even thriving – in the face of all this digital disruption. To find out what the 3 things are that successful CLO’s do differently, join Intel and Degreed for the Digital CLO “playbook” webinar on January 31st. Register for the event here.

The workforce is changing and it’s affecting how we all work every day. It’s also changing the expectations that people have about who they work with, how they work, and where they work. I recently met with a group of Chief Learning Officers (CLOs) and learning leaders to talk about the four trends disrupting the workforce today and how that impacts the way we think about learning in the corporate environment. We uncovered four common trends.

  1. Different generations in the workforce

People have been talking about this for years now, but the reality is that we have many generations working together in the workforce today.  By 2020, 70% of the workforce will be made up of millennials, but in addition, boomers are working into their 70s and 80s.  What does this mean for the workforce and learning?  It means that we are more diverse and have greater opportunity to learn from each other.  As for learning, although it may be true that millennials are digital natives and generally very comfortable with technology, the CLO group I was speaking with agreed that the way people like to learn has less to do with age and more to do with personal comfort level with technology.

Judy Dutton, Senior Director at eBay, shared that there is a large increase of millennials coming into the company. The 32nd most recognized brand in the world according to Interbrand in its annual ranking of Best Global Brands, many don’t know that eBay also does a lot of slick things with technology including big data, machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

In 2017, their HR function is focused on new ways to attract top talent, especially millennials, by revamping their intern program and recruiting from more diverse universities. Their learning teams are embracing a new digital and in-person on-boarding experience, and completely rethinking their career development and approach to development.

  1. Rise in digital technology

Technology is changing the way we think about both business and learning.  As I wrote in a previous blog, learning leaders need to be tech savvy and include a digital learning component as part of their overall learning and employee experience strategy.

At eBay, a learning technology manager helps drive the ongoing technology requirements for the global Talent and Organization Development team.  This new role has also become more heavily involved with IT, the office of the CIO, and HR analytics since the learning technology need is increasingly prevalent.  But it’s not just about technology; there has to be learning expertise among each employee too.

These are just two of the four workforce trends that are changing the role of learning leaders. We will visit the remaining two trends, an increasing rate of change and the new relationship between employees and employers, in Part 2 next week.

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