When my family moved to Florida eight years ago, we bought a house with a pool. We loved looking outside at night with the pool light on; peaceful and beautiful. But a few months later, the bulb burned out. Rather than call the pool guy, my husband went on YouTube and learned how to replace the bulb.
I was a new CLO in a large healthcare system at the time and witnessing him turn to YouTube boggled my mind. Oh yes, I kept up with the literature on learning delivery through technology, learning paths, microlearning and just-in-time learning. They were all emerging concepts that made sense, but I hadn't seen any of them in action.
The YouTube lesson felt like a wake-up call. My organization had been working tirelessly to justify the investment in expensive content—but that day, I realized the internet had evolved to a point where content was available for free. So what was my role now?
From Content Managers to Content Curators
That was a significant paradigm shift for us, and a difficult one at that. We were used to controlling who was "trained." It was our raison d'etre. But we soon found out that even if content was free, people still needed a reason to learn—and an easy way to access resources.
To my husband, replacing the pool light was another problem he could solve, and he loves to solve problems. He didn't need much, just enough to understand the specific steps to change the bulb without being electrocuted. When the pool pump acted up, he turned again to YouTube. Employees approach learning in the same way.
My learning team's role evolved from creating content to looking for opportunities to encourage people to learn. For us, that meant helping employees know what they needed to know through a two-way dialogue with their leaders. For the leaders, that meant they became learning curators.
Learning Is Changing. Fast.
Read any journal or article on human resource development, and you'll hear the term personalized or curated learning. Enabled by technology, but fueled by ongoing dialogue, we are no longer bound to "one size fits all" curriculums.
Think about YouTube. My husband could set up a channel specifically for pool maintenance, save time looking for content and maybe even find something new. Or consider Amazon. My Amazon feed shows me what I might be interested in, making it easy to find new things. A recent press release from Cornerstone details a similar future of learning: It will look like Netflix or Spotify, tailoring content to individual needs and interests with curated "playlists."
How to Earn Leadership Buy-In
However, after many years in human resources, I have some quiet alarm bells going off. Here's why: Technology isn't cheap, and the investment must pay off. So what are you going to do to get leaders and employees to want to learn?
First, help leaders become learning curators. This curator role isn't typically in a leader's wheelhouse, so he or she will have to understand the importance of the role and why "training" isn't the solution. You have to make an intentional statement to leaders that says, "Developing your people is the most important work you will do." Then you can begin to provide the tools and resources that will help them develop their employees. If they don't realize and appreciate the significant impact learning can make on their organization, they'll likely just keep doing what they've been doing.
Second, be clear about what you're trying to do. Learning drives two things: knowledge and behavior change. Getting folks to recognize the need for knowledge is far easier than getting them to accept the need for behavior change. Before you begin planning for any learning initiatives, be clear about your goals. Behavior change requires a strong infrastructure starting with the "why," providing time to practice and receive feedback, and measuring the actual change.
Where we are heading in organizational learning is terrific and needs to happen. If not we will keep sinking funds into programs that don't provide a return. But it's crucial to start preparing now for what the future of learning holds tomorrow.
Photo: Creative Commons
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ICYMI: Building a Personalized Future at Convergence 2017
To kick off Cornerstone's 15th annual Convergence conference, our CEO Adam Miller pulled up his Netflix account. At first, his recommendations bar seemed like an example of machine learning gone wrong: Sons of Anarchy next to Liv and Maddie? But as Miller explained, it was a perfect example of how modern media is personalized for consumers (in his case, for parents with three young kids)—and inspiration for how modern learning could be personalized for employees, too. Our learning product's new features, announced today, brings this possibility to life with a personalized, employee-centric user interface like Netflix and curated content playlists similar to Spotify. But we're not the only ones investing in a more personalized employee experience: Throughout the day, we heard from clients, analysts and partners about how the most innovative organizations are finding way to invest in strategies and tools that serve individuals, first and foremost. Keep reading to learn more about the innovative ideas shared at Convergence so far, follow @CornerstoneInc on Twitter and join the conversation with #CSODConf17! Involving Employees In Big Data Efforts In order to personalize employee experiences, organizations should involve them in the process. Data will determine your organization's ability to serve employees the content they need, so why not ask them to help along the way through self-service tools? Why not simplify the process of updating data by empowering the employees and managers to do so themselves? @AdamCSOD #CSODConf17 pic.twitter.com/jOl2tvK6iD — Kharalis (@kharalis) June 6, 2017 Viewing Learning as a Self-Driven Pursuit As organizations shift from "training" to "learning," the type of educational content they provide employees also needs to shift. The modern workforce is no longer made up of sharply defined roles or assembly lines—instead, most organizations have nimble teams with a range of experiences and areas of expertise. Learning needs to cater to employees on an individual basis, not just by job title or department. We have a shift from training to learning and it's a life long process with the learning agenda driven by the learner #CSODConf17 pic.twitter.com/ZmXHCtxpI3 — Praveen Kaushik (@pkaushik_) June 6, 2017 Common theme today is #curation and #experience @CsodConvergence #learning #CSODConf17 #facilitate #educate #innovate pic.twitter.com/Dw2kVvIN7L — MJ Macdonald (@WineAndWellness) June 6, 2017 Investing in the Employee Experience During the analyst keynote, Mollie Lombardi, Co-Founder and CEO of Aptitude Research Partners, discussed the importance of strengthening the relationship between employers and employees through "employee experience." Engagement is no longer enough—organizations should also be thinking about experiences, and how to deliver information in a way that's relevant to each employee's personal path. How can we create a culture that is a great user experience? We have to start with the end user! #CSODConf17 pic.twitter.com/9zuGYKjQNF — Stacia Sherman Garr (@StaciaGarr) June 6, 2017 Would your employees and leadership describe your culture the same way? @mollielombardi's research says not so much... #csodConf17 pic.twitter.com/9EFqccnhp3 — Erin Spencer (@erin_hr) June 6, 2017 Dancing With Friends (and Billy Idol) After a long, productive day, we headed to San Diego's Petco Park to celebrate with none other than famed rockstar Billy Idol. The Client and Partner Appreciation Party was anything but a case of "Dancing With Myself" with more than 2,000 colleagues, partners, clients, and analysts. Partying with the one and only @BillyIdol #CSODConf17 pic.twitter.com/mqBy151f8W — Adam Miller (@AdamCSOD) June 7, 2017 Cornerstone Convergence. Hot air balloons. Petco park. Billy Idol. Awesome. #CSODConf17 pic.twitter.com/1QRXrf5TaM — Dave Carter (@dcartercsod) June 7, 2017
How Personalized Learning Boosts Employee Performance
As people work and collaborate in new ways, they need learning environments that are engaging, accessible, impactful, scalable and relevant. That's why it's critical that your organization continues to invest in your people with personalized learning to help them upskill in their roles over time. Personalized learning is employee-centric while staying aligned to the goals and needs of the organization. Making the Connection: Personalized Learning and High Performance In 2018, Saba Software – now part of Cornerstone – collaborated with Brandon Hall Group, an HR research and analysis firm, to conduct a study on the link between learning and performance. The study found that high-performing organizations are more likely to offer personalized learning to their people than other companies. In compelling numbers, high-performing organizations reported that they agreed or strongly agreed that personalized learning: Improves the link between learning and individual performance Improves the link between learning and organizational performance Supports an employee in reaching professional goals more efficiently Supports employee needs for continuous development Helps to improve organizational strategies, mission or vision Aligns with the 70:20:10 framework Personalized learning is the norm at 62 percent of high-performing organizations while 35 percent of other organizations also make it a priority. Clearly, these organizations are onto something. And when organizations link learning to performance, they're a success story in the making. These top organizations cleverly devise and then execute a strategy to link learning and performance. Learning in the workplace is changing, evolving to keep up with the needs of both the business and its people. The increase in learning personalization helps to create a culture of continuous learning and development. It brings out the best in all team members so that they can deliver their best at work, every day. Start now: Link Learning to Performance at Your Organization High-performing organizations understand that learning and performance management do not merely co-exist; they are dependent upon each other. And personalized learning is just one way to link learning to performance at your organization.