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Corporate learning strategy: Focus on relevance

The information imparted in training sessions today should be chosen for its relevance.

When it comes to employee training and learning programs, relevance is key. Both the content of the courses and the methods of delivery can be honed to fit the modern office environment, and if they are not, businesses may be missing out. Leaders might find that their current efforts have gone out of date, due either to the fact that their subject matter is no longer relevant or that they are clinging to an old-fashioned seminar model. Investing time and money in materials and processes that will educate the workforce is important, but unless there are frequent updates, especially in tech-centric systems training, these resources might be going at least partially to waste.

"Identifying important elements and creating courses for them may transform companies."

Organizing principles
Huffington Post contributor Stephanie Ciccarelli recently gave a few hints about how companies should decide which training modules make the cut, both for their required and optional education programs. Unsurprisingly, she expounded on the virtues of leaders selecting their topics very deliberately, aiming for important areas of performance. Some of these are based on the company's core mission statement, others are recommended by the employees themselves and a third group is based on adding new dimensions to skills. In all cases, the end goal is the same: equipping team members with abilities that will help the business excel.

The current digital office environment is reflected in the fact that Ciccarelli's suggestions include mastering the technical systems in place. She noted, for instance, that leaders should inspect the particular CRM systems they employ, then give workers a grounding in that technology. General concepts are fine on some level, but the actual programs employees interact with every day are hugely relevant, and a better grasp on them could be an immediate value-add for any business.

Employees today, depending on department, work with everything from basic spreadsheets to high-powered analytics programs, unified communications suites to supply chain management systems. Identifying the most important elements and creating courses for them may transform companies, and Ciccarelli suggested that these efforts be uniform for new hires.

Employees today are receiving highly relevant coursework from their employers.
Employees today are receiving highly relevant coursework from their employers.

The author also specified that there should be plenty of input from workers into what elements are included in training modules. Who is better equipped to know what a company needs that the people on the front lines? Individuals may feel ill-prepared to handle certain parts of their daily responsibilities. If there is no feedback mechanism, they may keep these feelings to themselves. If the company listens openly, however, it can learn priorities that will enhance its performance.

Tech-enabled delivery spreading
Being forward-thinking isn't just a virtue for the content of corporate courses. Businesses are also increasingly distributing materials through modern means. A recent Sydney Morning Herald piece by contributor Matt Smith pointed out that there is now an expectation at large companies that training will be delivered at least partially via software, and this sentiment is spreading. Smith indicated that soon small businesses, too, will use eLearning solutions to deliver their latest content, and in so doing, they will make their programs more accessible and less demanding of leaders. Matching relevant content with such an advanced deployment method could transform a company in short order.

Corporate Learning & Performance
Information Technology

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