It’s a well-documented fact that implementing a learning solution in today’s workplace is a necessity — McKinsey reports that 100 million workers globally may need to switch occupations by 2030, a 12% increase from before the pandemic. The right solution can help close critical skills gaps, while also leading to more satisfied, engaged and efficient employees.
While this sounds straightforward in theory, navigating today’s new world of work and its constant state of change is no small task for learning and development (L&D) leaders. Independently overseeing a company-wide, intricate training program comprising impactful upskilling and reskilling, leadership development, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), mentorship opportunities and many other components on top of their other responsibilities can be daunting.
This makes it all the more important to identify a learning solution provider that not only offers a platform that meets the current and future training needs of your workforce, but also serves as a strategic partner that you can lean on to help increase training capacities and capabilities, decrease administrative workload, and improve outcomes.
Follow these three considerations when partnering with a learning solutions provider to find success now and in the future of work.
1. Discuss the most pressing problems that need solving.
As you meet with different vendors and providers and learn about their solutions, be open, honest and as specific as possible about the business challenges you’re hoping to solve. How does your business need to transform to stay competitive? What competencies does your workforce need to drive that transformation? Where is your organization in its current learning journey? Are you simply looking to offer more content within your existing learning ecosystem, or are you trying to increase engagement, inspiring more employees to take ownership of their growth?
In any case, don’t let the vendor revolve the conversation around their awards, logos and feature list — make sure the discussion focuses on what they can do to solve your problem. And, if you choose their solution, how will they support you and ensure your success after the fact?
The right provider will serve you as a trusted advisor and partner. They will listen. They will work to understand your challenges and what your organization is facing. The right vendor will help you identify potential roadblocks and set up an actionable plan for success that includes continuous assessment and measurable results. And once they prove their ability to help you solve one problem, they’ll welcome the opportunity to solve another.
2. Set learning goals and track progress.
Be upfront with your account team about your organization’s strategic business goals. Take advantage of whatever implementation support and resources are available to set up and launch the solution across your organization. Ideally, you’ll work with a flexible platform to support your unique needs and challenges. For example, you may want to grant managers the ability to assign courses to their direct reports. Likewise, you may want to explore options for directing targeted, personalized learning programs based on particular audiences (e.g., cohorts, teams, job titles, geographies, etc.). Lean on the expertise of your trusted account team, and as long as the platform offers a reasonable level of flexibility, assume that no objective is out of the question.
You should also work with your account team to determine a baseline. To identify the skill gaps standing in the way of your employees’ ability to achieve the goals of your business, you need to find some way to determine what skills they already possess. All transformational journeys require a clearly defined starting point. To measure progress and ensure that your solution is driving positive change, you need data that offers a comparative view between two periods.
Speaking of time, as the months, quarters and years go by, your business goals and skilling needs will undoubtedly change. With the right trusting, open relationship with your solution provider, they should anticipate these changes and readily propose adjustments to meet those needs and achieve the new goals as they evolve.
3. Take advantage of the platform features that will help you accomplish your goals.
When I think of the smartphone in my pocket, I admit that I don’t know everything it’s capable of or the complete list of features installed in the last automatic update. But I do my best to stay on top of the latest and greatest enhancements and ensure the phone makes my life more connected, organized, on time and easier wherever possible.
While I maintain that knowledge on my own, luckily, you have a trusted partner at your learning solution provider to recommend capabilities that, one way or another, empower you to achieve the strategic goals of your business. The truth is, it’s hard to know what we don’t know. Talk to your provider and explore best practices to increase adoption and motivate your employees to take ownership of their skills and growth. For example, enabling a single sign-on (SSO) login experience removes one of the most common barriers to adoption. Engagement drivers might include seemingly small approaches such as creating assignments, hosting the custom content you’ve authored or content from other providers, or customizing the look and feel of your learning site to incorporate your organization’s branding guidelines. You may also be open to implementing at least a certain degree of gamification, perhaps through features such as digital badges or the ability to achieve streaks.
In addition, you should explore strategies that enable learners to refresh their skills and embrace new ones without interrupting their flow of work. For example, is it possible to curate social learning opportunities into daily-use tools? Are there other daily tools your learners use, such as a corporate search engine or internal social media channel? This approach extends your reach, enables collaborative learning, provides choice, and puts skill development at your learners’ fingertips. The right provider will meet your learners with growth opportunities wherever they are and in whatever format works best for that moment, from live, instructor-led training (ILT) to on-demand courses, hands-on practice labs and opportunities to connect with coaches and mentors. Find out what options are available to help you achieve your goals and give them a try.
The right learning solution provider should propel your organization and people to grow together. They should serve you as a dedicated partner and trusted advisor, focused solely on empowering your efforts to achieve your strategic goals. Following these suggestions for establishing this partnership will simplify the learning experience and improve your chances for success even before implementation.