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Employees work long, hard hours week over week, yet 70 percent of employees feel disengaged. It’s clear that employees want to continuously learn and seek opportunity for development and growth, so in addition to recommending MOOCs and sending employees to industry conferences, companies are creating internal learning databases.

These learning databases are the culmination of knowledge inside a company. When an employee or member of the C-suite gives a presentation, it’s recorded and saved in the database. When a new training document pertaining to a specific skill is created, it’s saved and archived. From webinars and presentations to documents and templates, all of these resources are available for employees whenever and wherever they want to access them.

6 Reasons an Internal Learning Database Provides Value

Every other month, Cornerstone holds Development Days when employees and executive leaders give presentations and talks to share knowledge. While these sessions deliver impact on the day they're held, their value lives much longer than just one day since all of the content from the day is recorded and saved in an internal learning database.

Here are six ways learning databases provide value to the company and its employees:

  1. Provide anywhere, anytime access to resources. Whether an employee wants to access a webinar a few weeks after it was hosted or two years down the road, the resource is stored online so employees can access it on their own time. “Recording the sessions and posting them to our learning portal enables employees to access that training at their leisure,” says Jeff Miller, manager of learning and development at Cornerstone.
  2. Foster the confidence and flexibility to expand skill sets. With the flexibility and control to push boundaries either by sharing a skill or learning a new one, employees are encouraged to be change agents, or what innovation expert John Seely Brown calls “edge dwellers.”
  3. Let the youngsters teach the veterans. Keeping a fresh, updated learning database requires constantly leveraging the knowledge of new and old employees, notes Terry Young, CEO and founder of Sparks & Honey. When employees are put on the same pedestal regardless of their tenure at the company, a true learning culture is created.
  4. Build an employee’s development curriculum. Managers can assign a group of new employees a set of learning resources or can select specific resources for an individual employee that needs development in a particular skill. Having the learning resources archived in a database lets managers direct employees as a group or as individuals to a certain resource.
  5. “We don’t have to reteach these things because they’re sitting on our portal, so managers can just direct their employees to that course,” Miller says. “We’re building this massive library of resources that’s all employee-designed and delivered.”
  6. Break down information silos between teams. Often the expertise that employees are looking for is available from an employee a desk or two over, yet knowledge of those skills isn’t transparent. Let employees voice their areas of expertise and be the leaders of learning opportunities. Nichole Kelly, CEO of Social Media Explorer, suggests creating an online network for employees to list their professional experience and talents.
  7. Learn what resources are most loved. With training resources on the company’s internal database, the company can monitor which topics and sessions employees are most interested in and tailor future content in that direction.

While external resources can provide added value that may not be available within the organization, many organizations neglect one of the most valuable, accessible sources of knowledge: internal talent. When employees create and drive learning initiatives, they’ll be more apt to use them and encourage others to check out the resources they’re responsible for.

Photo: Creative Commons