According to a recent LinkedIn report, 42% of L&D leaders find it difficult to establish a strong culture of learning. This is particularly true in enterprise companies where the L&D function services a vast and often geographically dispersed client group.
So, when you’re tasked with supporting large cohorts of learners based on professional discipline and location, what do you do? And how can you help hundreds, if not thousands, of people to learn the skills they need for their role while maintaining a consistent learning culture?
And just as a captain needs GPS and maps to navigate a trans-Atlantic crossing, L&D leaders can only expect to maximize learning outcomes within their organisation with guidance from an effective enterprise learning strategy.
In this article, we share how to create the right enterprise learning strategy for your company. We will explain the benefits of implementing one and provide nine steps to help you develop a strategy that meets your learners' needs and business leaders' expectations—a strategy that wins.
Think of us as your L&D cartographer for the day.
A company's enterprise learning strategy outlines the ways in which the company will support employee development aspirations and help people to attain critical new skills. Notably, this support is made possible and enhanced through a learning management system.
This approach involves a range of learning and development techniques and fundamentals that enable the upskilling and training of employees, partners, customers, and clients at the precise moment they need it within a robust learning ecosystem.
Your strategy will consist of a collaborative network of individuals, tools, and resources to foster a learning culture of ongoing learning experiences and information exchange within a company.
If you aim to equip all employees in your organisation with the knowledge and resources they need to carry out their roles in line with the company's business strategy, then an enterprise learning strategy is the solution.
Essentially, your strategy outlines the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of your learning and development initiatives. How will you support employees to learn? Why are you prioritising particular initiatives? And what do you hope to achieve as a result?
Implementing an enterprise learning strategy can bring several benefits to your organisation.
Here are four advantages:
1. Your learning strategy will guarantee that the learning programs you and your team design will empower employees in various departments across the business with the skills and knowledge they need to carry out their roles and contribute to your company’s business goals.
2. Through a learning strategy, your team can gather data for ROI and KPI adjustments, impacting business metrics like revenue and retention. It also informs future decisions for learning and development investments.
3. It will facilitate continuous employee development and the growth of culture and technology within your company.
4. By implementing a robust enterprise learning strategy, your company can increase its influence and effectively communicate its mission to current and potential partners.
So, if you're looking to gain these benefits and more, implementing a learning strategy is essential. The question is, how do you create your learning strategy?
Creating an enterprise learning strategy involves several crucial steps.
First, ensuring your learning strategy aligns with the organisation's business goals and priorities is critical.
This stage of the process involves carrying out a training needs assessment. You need to determine the essential learning opportunities needed to meet your company's goals. To accomplish this, you need to work with stakeholders, including department heads and company leadership, to identify the knowledge and skills that require training emphasis.
Carrying out a training needs assessment is instrumental in ensuring that training resources are leveraged and offered to those employees who need them.
Next, you need to perform a skills gap analysis to identify the difference between learners' current skills and what they need, as determined in the training needs analysis.
Here at 360Learning, we recommend taking a bottom-up approach to empower individual employees to tell you where their gaps are. Potential tools are surveys, in-person interviews, or a collaborative learning platform that enables employees to declare new learning needs.
The great thing about a skills gap analysis is that you can always return to your data every six months to determine if employee development programs meet their forecasted ROI.
Your skills gap analysis will enable you and your team to consider what learning solutions will best impact those targeted business goals.
Now it’s time to consider the type of training for your organisation's learners after identifying their skills gap and learning needs.
To get you started, here are some common types of training to consider:
Crucially, the type of training solution you select depends on the identified skills gap, the employee learning needs, and the resources available to the organisation. So, make sure you choose a training type that fits.
The next step in developing your enterprise learning strategy is prioritising which training needs should be addressed now, which to shelve, and which to drop.
You should assess each of the identified learning needs on factors such as the following:
Next, you need to ensure you don’t overlap your time and investment with any existing resources your organisation has already developed.
There may be additional resources that you can build on to deploy your learning strategy at a whole enterprise level. Does one department have an instructional asset, such as a webinar, that can be adapted, evolved, or incorporated into your training needs? If so, great. You could save time and money by incorporating it into your strategy.
An enterprise learning management system (LMS) is a software solution for administrating and delivering corporate learning to employees.
You are going to need help deploying your extended enterprise learning strategy. An LMS will help you design, author, and organise your training content and ramp up your learning environment. It will also serve as a central location for storing and distributing course content, enabling you to monitor employee engagement and progress efficiently.
LMS features you should be on the lookout for include the following:
When choosing an LMS, ensure you align platform features with your learning objectives.
Now that you have your LMS solution, it's time to put it to use and start designing and creating impactful content.
With the data from your training needs assessment and skills gap analysis, it's time to work with your team to develop clear learning objectives and a brief content outline to address those learning needs.
To achieve the best learning outcomes, we recommend creating training content that is not only informative but also entertaining, interactive, and useful. Integrating training into the flow of work can also enhance its effectiveness for your team.
Some top tips we’ve heard from L&D experts when designing training materials include leveraging interactive learning, focusing on learner value, sharing training objectives with learners, and catering to different types of learners.
Don’t forget to work alongside your internal subject-matter experts to ensure you capture their know-how and share it amongst your teams–that way, everyone can upskill from within.
With your content ready to go, you need to ensure that you have identified how you will measure the impact of your training content first.
In your learning strategy, it's important to evaluate training programs to show they achieve the desired outcomes, such as boosting employee engagement, retention, performance, or innovation.
Some standard training metrics include employee satisfaction, completion rates, course attendance, assessment scores, and time spent on each activity. By monitoring metrics like these, you can assess the effectiveness of your learning strategy and enhance them through data-driven decisions.
Objectively assessing the effectiveness of your learning solutions ensures they align with the business goals you identified at the beginning of the process.
The moment has arrived to initiate your enterprise learning strategy and witness its impact on the learning needs of employees and your company's business objectives.
But the work isn’t over yet. It is crucial to continually assess your learning strategy’s effectiveness and relevance to your business objectives while ensuring it addresses any skill gaps.
It's also important to acknowledge that sometimes things don't go quite as planned, even with careful planning. Therefore, it's necessary to be prepared to iterate and improve your strategy as your organisation expands and the marketplace evolves.
360Learning is the first comprehensive learning platform that uses AI and collaborative features to turn your in-house experts into L&D collaborators.
By combining the elements of an LMS, LXP, and our Academies, our platform makes it easy to implement your enterprise learning strategy while building a collaborative learning culture and upskilling your learners from within.
With the help of these features and tools, you and your team can establish an enterprise learning strategy, foster a culture of collaborative learning, and upskill employees from within. Keen to hear more from one of our collaborative learning experts? Get in touch for a free demo!