In today’s fast-paced and competitive market, corporate learning has shifted from being a purely human resource objective to a business-related one. Organizations have realized the massive competitive advantage investing in their employees’ skills and abilities grants them. This shift in priorities has also led to a change in the meaning of corporate learning. Some hold that it has always been a part of company cultures, evolving to capture a broader definition at present. However, others maintain that this broader meaning defines a new era in how companies approach employee development.

Corporate Learning: Learning that Exists at all Levels of the Organization

It’s common for people to associate corporate learning with compulsory training programs employees attend as part of their job. And while that is correct to some extent, it is not the complete picture of how experts define corporate learning.

At an IMD event, Professor Shlomo Ben-Hur described corporate learning as an organization’s ability to acquire knowledge and then use and share it to lead to more efficient solutions that enhance the company’s competitive edge. Thus, it’s a culture of learning that permeates the organization at all levels, with leadership, management, and employees alike taking the initiative for development.

Thus, corporate learning is an umbrella term that includes formal corporate training as one aspect of it. However, the organic exchange of information and spontaneous learning opportunities that arise from working and socializing within a company with a strong learning culture are also a huge part of it.

The Need for Corporate Learning

Over the past decade, the skill requirements of industries have changed more rapidly than ever before. This is due mainly to the growing integration of technology on the client and company ends.

The emergence of new technologies has created requirements for new skills, rendering older ones obsolete. And the speed at which innovations occur has sped up the rate at which new skill requirements arise.

Not having the right skills creates skills gaps in employees whenever a company evolves. And in an economy where the half-life of skills has dropped to a mere 5 years, corporate learning fills this gap by creating a culture that adapts to changing requirements at all levels.

Apart from enhancing adaptability, corporate learning also helps with employee retention, satisfaction, and engagement.

  • According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees would extend their tenure at companies that invested in their career development.
  • Similarly, Ceridian’s 2018-19 Pulse of Talent Learning Report found that employers providing learning opportunities is important to 86% of employees. Ceridian also reported that employees are 83% more likely to feel happy working for a company that invests in learning.
  • LinkedIn’s 2022 Skills Advantages Insights reported that companies with internal mobility options could retain employees twice as long as companies that don’t.
  • Learning and development opportunities also lead to more engaged employees, as mentioned in Bob Nelson’s book “1,001 Ways to Engage Employees.” This data comes from responses collected from over 3 million professionals.

With competent employees that care about their jobs and the company, profits are also bound to soar. Harvard Business Review reports that the profits of organizations that invest in upskilling their employees tend to increase by 14 – 29%.

Thus, given its importance, how can organizations leverage the benefits of corporate learning and enhance their internal learning culture?

Cultural Enablers of Corporate Learning in a Workplace

The process of acquiring, applying, and sharing knowledge in corporate learning cannot occur in a vacuum. The company’s learning culture, once again, plays an essential role in facilitating this. Broadly, 5 qualities in a company’s culture enable a learning environment. They are:

  1. Diversity: Diversity provides variation in viewpoints, capabilities, approaches, and insights employees can provide. It is a well-known fact in the corporate sector that a diverse organization is more innovative and, as a result, successful.
  1. Psychological Safety: A learning environment cannot exist without acknowledging failures. Companies that understand this inadvertently promote a learning culture better than those that don’t.
  1. Autonomy: Autonomy allows employees to function without the constraints of the organization. By doing so employees share valuable intellectual capital with organizations, creating areas of growth and development for the entire establishment.
  1. Experimentation: Experimentation gives companies a competitive edge over others in the same industry by opening up opportunities to get a head-start on up-and-coming ideas and ventures.
  1. Rewards: Rewards reinforce effort and provide due recognition to those involved, increasing the likelihood of continued accomplishment.

eLearning and Corporate Learning

While e-learning was projected to become a significant aspect of employee development this decade, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this process exponentially. However, this was seen as a blessing-in-disguise for corporate learning by some.

E-learning provides learning solutions that are overall more convenient for employees. These courses are specifically adapted to fit the needs and patterns of people living in the digital age. They are intentionally designed to be consumable, digestible, and relevant and are deeply embedded in learning principles.

By providing e-learning solutions to employees, organizations can place some developmental control in their hands and promote the creation of a robust learning culture. E-learning is generally flexible, allowing employees to learn in their own time. Apart from compulsory modules, companies can also let their staff choose from formats and courses they might personally find beneficial for their career development, schedule, and learning style.

Some corporate learning trends for 2022 that incorporate e-learning are:

  1. Microlearning: Microlearning allows learners to learn information in short bursts and acts as an excellent review and revision tool. This is an engaging and effective new paradigm for an age of learners who have shorter attention spans than before.
  1. Mobile Learning: Cell phones are a very ingrained part of daily life. They have evolved to serve all purposes imaginable to humankind at the tap of a finger. Mobile phones are extremely convenient and are increasingly used by individuals to consume different kinds of content. To fit this usage pattern, e-learning courses are now rolling out mobile-friendly options to make learning even more accessible.
  1. Cybersecurity Training: Due to mostly functioning online, sometimes not on company devices, cybersecurity is an even larger concern for companies than before. Thus, training employees about it is essential for businesses.
  1. Personalized Learning: Personalized learning is diverse learning that provides content and format options for learners to pick and choose from. It motivates learners to learn more often, which benefits the organization directly due to enhanced competence.
  1. Remote Access Options: Long seminars in auditoriums are not feasible, safe, or an enjoyable option for people anymore. Allowing learners to choose their preferred learning environments and changing delivery methods will help promote a better learning culture.
  1. Interactive Learning Methods: E-learning aims to make content stimulating for individuals by using audio-visual aids and strategies like gamification to hold attention and promote absorption and retention of information. Information is more likely to stick when learners are paying attention. Thus, e-learning makes knowledge acquisition more efficient and lasting.

Businesses realize the necessity of relevant and innovative corporate learning and have increased their budgets for Learning and Development activities and departments this year.

Conclusion

Corporate learning is a necessary tool for organizations to secure a competitive edge over others. To do so, they must create an environment that promotes learning at all levels. Diversity, psychological safety, autonomy, experimentation, and rewards make an organization more conducive to learning. E-learning is a very effective tool for businesses wishing to leverage the benefits of corporate learning.

Infographics

Corporate learning

Corporate learning

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is corporate learning important?

Over the past decade, the skill requirements of industries have changed more rapidly than ever before. This is due mainly to the growing integration of technology on the client and company ends. Organizations have realized the massive competitive advantage investing in their employees’ skills and abilities grants them. Apart from enhancing adaptability, corporate learning also helps with employee retention, satisfaction, and engagement.

How do you create a corporate learning strategy?

E-learning tools can be a valuable tool in constructing corporate learning strategies. Some corporate learning trends that incorporate e-learning are microlearning, mobile learning, and cybersecurity training,

What is the future of corporate learning?

Businesses realize the necessity of relevant and innovative corporate learning and have increased their budgets for Learning and Development activities and departments this year.

Is L&D a part of HR?

In today’s fast-paced and competitive market, corporate learning has shifted from being a purely human resource objective to a business-related one.

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