How to Update a Talent Strategy for a Digital World

Every year, the workplace is becoming increasingly digitized. By 2020, digital technologies will add as much as  $1.35 trillion to the GDP of the world’s top 10 economies. To share in this growth, companies across industries need to attract and retain the talent driving it.

And yet, while digital transformation advances, finding people with the right digital skills remains a challenge. In the UK alone, 12 million people and 1 million small businesses do not have adequate digital skills while 40% of businesses are estimated to rely on younger employees and graduates for this skillset. 

This small pool of employees who have the necessary abilities are in huge demand and can be difficult to retain. The challenge for Learning & Development leaders is to avoid being dependent on this small workforce and instead look at how to develop talent internally.

In this blog, we explore 7 key steps that will help guide digital transformation in corporate learning & development.

Step 1 - Revisit your Learning & Development Strategy

Whether it has been a long time since your organization has reviewed its L&D strategy or a relatively short while, it’s worth performing an audit to see what has changed and plan for what may change in the future.

Rapid developments in technology, even in the last two years, may have had a knock-on effect - just look at the prevalence of voice-recognition home assistants that have appeared in the last few months, changing the way we use services, buy products and interact with brands on a daily basis.

Like calibrating a compass before setting off into the wilderness, it is essential to have an accurate and finely tuned strategy that is true to the goals of the organization. 

Check the organization’s current strategy against the following questions to see where and how it needs to be tailored to ensure your organization is still benefiting:

  • Who is the audience? Have they changed or are they evolving?
  • Who will L&D support?
  • What is the business trying to achieve?
  • How is L&D currently supporting staff?
  • How does it need to support staff in the future?

Step 2 - Review the Learning Management System (LMS)

Once the strategy is solid, it is necessary to work out how it can be implemented across the organization.

A key step is to review the current LMS. What is it achieving? Where is it falling behind? The role of the LMS must be re-evaluated to determine what value it brings in the context of modern learning. According to the Brandon Hall Group, 44% organizations are already in the process of doing this at the moment.

For learning and development teams, updating the LMS is essential for the survival of talent acquisition and development in the digital era. If business leaders and employees alike can find their own online tools and content sources, why would they need an LMS or training department? Consider carefully what unique insight, knowledge and understanding your company can offer that competing online learning platforms can’t.

Rather than just exchanging systems to gain a few new features, L&D must execute a process to design a continuous learning experience perfectly tailored to the needs and aims of the company.

Step 3 - Adopt Feedback Mechanisms

If there is any doubt about what employees want in terms of learning and development, try asking them.

In order to remain relevant L&D departments must remain flexible in its strategy and tactics. Rather than making broad, sweeping changes there should be a focus on iterative solutions and value proved organically by solving small but meaningful problems.

Engage in trials in different departments and measure their success. This can be achieved through collecting regular feedback, tweaking as desired and rolling-out in other areas. Getting condensed, simplified feedback is easier than ever with a multitude of easy-to-use online surveys available, some specifically designed for HR such as hub and Culture Amp.

Constant feedback will ensure your organization’s strategy remains relevant and act as a guiding light when making decisions.

Step 4 - Research New Technologies

With continuous learning crucial for an agile workforce, learning and development teams must identify the technology needed to drive improved capability.

This may include a social network, an employee knowledge platform, or any mix of right-fit digital tools. As new digital tools for the workplace continue to be developed, staying on top of the latest trends, failures and successes in this area will help guide decision-making.

If your organization hasn’t already done so, consider the benefits of online learning. Not only is it easy to access, possible to outsource and easier to scale on a global level, it is also a much more flexible learning method. 

Ensure to research the kind of content already available so any online learning that produced or offered is unique to your organisation and the same training is not available for free elsewhere. This makes your company’s training more desirable to current and prospective employees.

Step 5 - Embrace Digital HR

 Embrace Digital HR

Organizations are facing a radically shifting context in the digital landscape. HR and L&D leaders are under pressure to revolutionize the employee experience and deliver services through digital platforms, apps and robotics.

Using the right digital HR tools can open doors for both employees and the companies they work for by streamlining processes and allowing greater visibility on ROI.

Today, employees desire greater control over their development and real-time employee analytics are playing a  bigger part in informing company strategy. Digital HR means that applications for many processes (such as recruiting, compensation management, L&D, and talent management) can migrate online. This makes them not only easier to access by a global workforce but also easier for HR staff and their audiences to manage.

Last year, Forbes listed some of the top HR online software for managing payroll, recruiting, employee engagement and all-around management such as GoCo.io. Many are free to trial, and there are websites that rate different software performance so that you can find the right one for your business.

What’s more, with digital HR, multiple sources of data can be analyzed easily. This means that new employee initiatives can be measured and ROI calculated to aid quick and informed strategic decision making.

For companies with a big workforce, large data sets could be made even more useful through AI that could help predict employee potential or to design new retention strategies.

Step 6 - Ensure Employees are Satisfied

Staff that are satisfied will stay in a role and excel within the company. It’s important to gain insight into what makes employees stay at a company and introduce initiatives or perks that can build on that sense of well-being. This will not only help you attract employees with an in-demand skill set but also make retaining them more successful.

Using feedback and face-to-face sessions, find out what makes your employees tick beyond their job role. For example, good digital design is crucial for millennial workers and certification is especially important to workers without a university degree.

 According to Capgemini, employees tend to prefer jobs that give them the option to work remotely, an organization with strong online networks, digital networking tools, and enhanced digital engagement have stronger engagement from their workforce.

Knowing the needs of your company’s workforce will aid retention and help inform the L&D strategy to attract new recruits.  

Step 7 - Empower Employees with Skills

Empower Employees with Skills

The pace of change means that learning is now continuous. While on the job learning is valuable, there needs to be a mechanism for learning new skills that is flexible and accessible as and when needed e.g. microlearning.

By encouraging employees to upskill, your company will not only see that they keep up with digital transformation, but also that through learning and growing, will advance and achieve greater job satisfaction.

Digital advancements mean that increasingly employees both need and desire niche skills to equip them for the digital age. This is true across departments and so a standardized accreditation plan that can be rolled out across the entire organization is essential. Such is the value of accreditation that 56% of HR department heads believe that it improves the profitability of their organization. 

Not only does it assist the development of talent internally, but also acts as proof to prospective hires of how a company invests in its workforce.

While digital natives may be more equipped for the digital age, the rate of development suggests that continuous learning is crucial to make sure all employees stay up to date with the digital workplace.

By regularly checking in with the L&D strategy and training programmes, collecting feedback and keeping informed of the latest in digital HR, your company will be well placed to flourish in the digital world.

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