Mid-market organizations have a significant contribution to the global economy, and analysts predict continued growth within the sector. According to an industry report, there are about 200,000 mid-market organizations in the United States, and their cumulative revenues constitute as much as one-third of the private sector gross domestic product (GDP). The report also states that mid-market businesses are at the forefront of the continued economic growth that the country is experiencing.
While striving to reach the next level of success, mid-market businesses are continually strategizing to achieve their goals. Some aspire to achieve ambitious financial goals, while some aim for geographic expansion. For others, the next big step is simply moving beyond the mid-market and continuing their exponential growth. However big or small the goal — the success of these businesses is governed by certain factors that must be understood and addressed.
Challenges of Sustaining Growth
A significant challenge that many of these businesses face is optimizing for operational excellence. Administrative tasks and back-office functions are challenges for mid-size organizations as they wrestle with resource loading and where to focus the attention of their talent. Many organizations experience growth in the number of people and processes. On the other hand, there is a lack of sophisticated systems to manage them. The systems that do exist are often not the right fit, and they must rely largely on manual processes that lead to data inconsistencies and performance lags.
In addition, there is a sizable administrative burden that takes the focus of employees away from their core competencies, as they struggle to manage processes that can easily be automated with the right technology and systems. But technology is only the enabler, the only catalyst. It is creating time and space for their most precious resource, their talent, that often is overlooked. To gain a competitive edge and sustain growth, organizations must be able to scale and that requires resources. One of the single most pressing challenges that the mid-market is facing is how to resource load their talent.
The second challenge is strategy and planning. Mid-size companies have room to grow and can take advantage of emerging trends. They tend to be more agile and transformative, but struggle with finding time and resources for impactful business planning. Faced with a multitude of pressing issues, strategic planning often takes a backseat.
The combination of these two challenges leads to an important realization: Talent — and its development and retention — is arguably one of senior leadership’s most pressing enigmas. The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the workforce and created a new business environment. Mid-market leadership needs to attract talent, as well as develop and retain it to rise above their competitors.
Learning and development (L&D) initiatives, which can be a huge force behind building up an organization’s business acumen, are also put on the backburner. This is not because of the lack of training budgets but a lack of future-aligned strategic plans. The training and development of employees is attempted in sporadic bursts, not as a continuous and sustainable process.
Managed Learning Transformation and Its Benefits
Managed Learning Transformation is an approach that creates process-centric discipline. It is scalable and enables organizations to focus on their core competency while ensuring their internal development is being taken care of. This approach often enables the mid-market organization to develop operational efficiency and focus on future-aligned business strategies. Most importantly, it leverages learning expertise, allowing mid-market organizations to reap the highest level of benefits when working with a managed learning service partner.
In 2021, Infopro Learning, Inc. partnered with Training Industry to conduct research on the modern L&D landscape for mid-market companies. An early indicator from the findings was that mid-market organizations who turned to a trusted learning partner to support them performed better in the market space and achieved a higher growth objective.
For organizations who still have barriers to adopt technology to smooth out their organizational processes, a managed learning partner can help them expedite the tedious process of evaluation, integration, implementation and change management. They can accelerate straight to reaping the benefits of the strategic partnership in many ways — each with distinctive advantages.
A sound L&D strategy cannot be an afterthought as it is crucial for achieving business outcomes. To continue focus on business goals, mid-size organizations can work with transformation partners that link technologies, learning content, training delivery, learning administration, compliance requirements and learner needs with a strategy that aims not just to train sporadically but transforms the entire organization. It is time for L&D to be strategic — not just a tactical member of the team.
Technology is readily available to everyone, so this not a roadblock for most organizations. The roadblock is change management challenges that come with adopting new technology. Many senior leaders forego technology adoption because it can paralyze an entire organization. Managed transformation partners can help businesses adopt technologies that support employees with knowledge and skills required to do their job. They can also ensure that timely and user aligned training is available and delivers business outcomes.
Training content is not just about design and development. It is a part of a comprehensive learning journey, designed to address knowledge or skill gaps. Whether it is custom-designed for pertinent business needs, curated content or off-the-shelf content, managed learning partners can provide expertise in creating the right training content with multiple modalities, including instructor-led training (ILT), virtual instructor-led training (VILT), eLearning, simulations, gamification, performance support, video-based learning, job aids and more.
While learning and development is critical for a mid-size organization, as much as it is for any large enterprise, it is often overlooked. Leading managed learning partners have an established global network of learning consultants. The organization can choose to source talent based on emergent or fluctuating needs, whenever required, and only limited to the areas of need. In addition, the responsibility of managing, processing or training on these resources is taken upon entirely by the managed learning partner.
Mid-market organizations that want to scale up to the next level must work consistently toward empowering their workforce. The expectations and preferences of the new-age workforce is changing rapidly — and successful mid-size businesses are addressing these challenges head on.
L&D can bring about transformation by addressing business priorities, minimizing costs and building performance. Working with a trusted partner is proven to not only provide cost savings but to also lead organizations to higher levels of performance.