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Tag Archives: Learning & Development

Why the Amazon Learning Strategy Makes Perfect Business Sense

The news that Amazon plans to spend over $700 million to offer training to 100,000 workers made global headlines. In today’s historically tight labor market, this talent strategy makes perfect sense.  Not only will Amazon position itself as an employer who offers opportunities for professional development, but it will also build a workforce of highly skilled talent. […]

Why the Amazon Learning Strategy Makes Perfect Business Sense

The news that Amazon plans to spend over $700 million to offer training to 100,000 workers made global headlines. In today’s historically tight labor market, this talent strategy makes perfect sense.  Not only will Amazon position itself as an employer who offers opportunities for professional development, but it will also build a workforce of highly skilled talent.

I regularly speak of the current “HR Perfect Storm,” and Amazon’s approach of combining learning and talent processes is akin to battening down the hatches. By interweaving these processes, organizations stand a better chance of weathering the storm. The good news is that developing an essential learning and talent strategy to combat this market storm is not difficult.

For starters, here are three easy steps that will help HR establish a basic framework for a learning and talent strategy.

1. Assess

It is easy to fall into the trap of assuming that everyone in an organization is on the same page. In my experience, this is rarely the case. To redress this disconnect, begin by examining the factors that influence the way employees view the company learning programs. It is critical to know where everyone stands to understand how best to move forward. Leverage a Survey Monkey questionnaire or similar tool to assess your team or stakeholders. Within the poll, make sure to have a narrow scope and use standard terms for clarity. I find that tenure and individual roles within the organization contribute to varying perspectives when assessed.

2. Align

The next step is the most important. Recently I had the pleasure of helping several leading organizations align their talent and learning strategy. What I learned from these experiences is that companies must take special care to define the parameters of common terms for any talent development plan. Start by reusing the survey/questionnaire but in a group setting where respondents can only submit one answer. Listen carefully as the dialogue during this time is gold and generates highly valuable insight to begin the process of alignment. Once the team can honestly assess their current state, calibration starts.

3. Execute

After the alignment exercise, it’s time to determine how best to proceed. Utilize the alignment discussions to identify one or two themes to focus your efforts. Look for areas that will establish a solid footing for your strategy, not necessarily the most visible or exciting. Don’t try to change everything all at once. Two areas that I see as the most fundamental and most significant indicators of success are governance and change management.

I also encourage organizations to leverage the Skillsoft Organizational Maturity Index. This framework offers a practical methodology for aligning learning, talent, and workforce management. It is an invaluable framework designed to assist the HR function pivot in the right direction to drive tangible business impact. By utilizing the maturity index, an organization can assess their progress and understand the milestones that demonstrate advancement to the next stage. Skillsoft provides a complimentary online assessment that diagnoses a company’s present stage and offers a playbook of recommendations to ascend to the next phase.

The key takeaway is that the intent for aligning your learning and talent strategies is to be deliberate in your outcomes. Organizations in 2019 cannot afford to be “coincidental” in their learning and talent strategies.

For more HR and talent development insight, please check out my weekly deliberations on my web site: www.brentcolescott.com.

Why Learning is Now at the Heart of HR

The role of L&D within an organization is increasingly recognized as essential for business sustainability and critical to strategic growth. For an organization to be successful in the rapidly changing marketplace, people development must be a top priority in your HR strategy. […]

Why Learning is Now at the Heart of HR

The role of L&D within an organization is increasingly recognized as essential for business sustainability and critical to strategic growth. For an organization to be successful in the rapidly changing marketplace, people development must be a top priority in your HR strategy.

The power of modern learning and development (L&D)

Employees today demand learning opportunities delivered how and when they need it most. It is also expected that the learning experience will match what they experience in their personal lives. For the learning to accomplish the business objectives, it should be targeted to:

  • Driving immediate impact with onboarding that reduces time to productivity
  • Developing both hard and soft skills, making employees more effective in their current role
  • Addressing critical areas of compliance and safety to build safe, inclusive, and compliant environments for employees to thrive. Limiting financial exposure to your organization
  • Leadership development, regardless of an employee’s level. In today’s project/team-based structures, every employee will take a leadership role, whether it be formal leadership or leading a project.
  • Collaborative learning that transfers knowledge across your multi-generational workforce
  • Building digital literacy, ensuring each employee keeps pace with technology innovation
  • Allowing employees to self-direct learning for aspirational career goals helping drive up retention

Measuring the ROI of learning

In 2018, US businesses spent $87.6 billion on training initiatives. HR Leaders are under pressure to measure the return on the organization’s investment in employee development. Technology is making it easier to record and track the contributions of L&D to the company’s success. However, it is incumbent upon HR to advocate with the C-suite that the real value of people development impacts both the top and bottom-line of your balance sheet.

Research by Deloitte shows that internal employees can develop the same skills as an external hire in 9-12 months at one-sixth of the cost. Businesses can save resources, increase engagement, and preserve company culture and knowledge with robust in-house talent development strategies. Additionally, providing employees a clear path to learning, development, and career growth has a direct impact on retention and engagement, leading to a more productive workforce.

No organization can overlook the importance of compliance within their learning execution. While it is often seen as the most perfunctory of employee learning opportunities, a workforce that isn’t up-to-date with compliance training can cost the company dearly through hefty fines, reputational damage, or both.

With these elements in mind, HR should be asking the following questions:

How much time is each employee spending on learning per month, per year? What about the entire organization, on average?

How has training completion and learning opportunity affected turnover? Are well-trained employees staying longer?

Are employees taking advantage of the educational opportunities available to them? What is the impact on the performance of those that have?

 

If the answers to these questions reveal that your organization is not optimizing learning, then I recommend reading SumTotal’s latest e-Book, Learning is the Heart of HR, and the Key to Business Success.

Written by Morne Swart, Vice President of Global Product Strategy at SumTotal, this e-Book details:

  • Why old-school L&D no longer cuts it, and how to modernize your strategy
  • How HR can lead and bring learning to the forefront creating a radical cultural change
  • Key insights on why learning and internal development makes financial sense, and how to communicate this benefit to decision-makers and leaders within your organization
  • The cost of ignoring your people’s hunger to learn and be challenged