Corporate training as we know it today is mostly an obligatory chore, a boring task mandated by HR or management. For the most part, it is just a check box in the HR list to complete 40 hours of annual training. It is also something that often requires complex logistics, travel and high cost to bring the trainer and the learners together in one location. Scheduling is huge challenge as most employees are busy with projects and deadlines. There is often no concrete measurement of knowledge or productivity gain after the training with little or no follow-up.
The question is – How do we ensure that everyone in the organization knows what they are supposed to know – from the salesman to the factory floor worker to the manager. Constant training, knowledge sharing and collaborative learning are activities critical to every organization and employee. Yet the traditional methods followed are ineffective and yield minimal ROI that cannot be measured or monitored.
This problem is more critical than ever in today’s context where the nature of an organization and the rules of the game have changed compared to twenty five years ago. The following are some highlights on how things have changed in the recent past:
From skilled worker to knowledge worker – In today’s world, the average employee is not just a skilled worker but a knowledge worker – his/her level of knowledge related to the work makes a huge difference in critical parameters like productivity, sales enablement and customer satisfaction. A more knowledgeable (trained) worker directly means greater success to the organization.
Multi-location organizations – Every organization is increasingly become multi-locational, growing beyond local geographies as a chain of stores, branches, hospitals, etc.
Employee churn – Introduction of new employees due to attrition and growth is a constant activity.
Products and services are introduced at a much higher frequency – from annual/quarterly cycles to monthly/weekly cycles.
Complexity and features of a product are much more – Think of the features in a car/phone/shoe fifteen years ago to what it is today. The sales or the support person needs to know that much more on a regular basis for every new product introduced in the market.
Policies, processes and procedures – Company procedures, work processes and government policy changes are more frequent and complex than ever. The need to know such changes, adapt to them or change business and sales practices to comply with such changes are mandatory.
All of the above simply mean that training and learning are no more periodic optional activities. They need to be continuous and real-time. If a competitor launches a new product today, your entire sales or field team must be able to compare and explain your product against that competing product by the very next day.
It is easier said than done. To solve this complex problem, it requires addressing the complete workflow – the creation, storage, management and delivery of content and knowledge.
Previous attempts to apply technology to solve this problem have been largely ineffective. Online learning has failed to become mainstream because – quality content creation is a challenge, no one has the time to read pages of documents, mandated courses are done as a formality with no real learning. Assessments involve simple checking of multiple choice questions. There is no real measurement of whether there was any improvement in knowledge or skill or productivity post the training. There was also no serious incentive for the employee to gain deep knowledge to enhance productivity or skill level.
Our goal is to address this critical challenge and transform corporate learning from a mandatory boring obligation to something that is continuous, real-time, bite-sized and truly interesting. The next article will explain how our solution enables such corporate knowledge transformation.