What was the last thing you learned? Were you observing something you saw a colleague or friend do, or a mentor sharing a key to success? If you’re like me, it’s likely in that moment you didn’t realize you were learning. Learning opportunities continually surround us. What’s key is having an open mind and making the material accessible and easy to digest.

This way of learning is not revolutionary – but it is new in the workplace.

Accenture’s study, It’s Learning, Just Not as We Know It, uncovers how enterprise education and training systems are failing to keep up with the current demand for skills, let alone tomorrow’s new requirements. As a result, the skills gap is limiting innovation, revenue and growth.

To reverse this trend, learning must become part of the organizational culture—a ‘way of working and being’ – rather than a list of painful tasks that must be completed. For that to happen it must be targeted, timely, relevant and easy to access and digest.

To help with the ‘how,’ I’ve asked our Workday Learning Practice Leader Ned Waith to share how and why Workday can help companies transform learning – and, therefore, their business results.

Let’s assess what matters most in learning

The first question: Do people want to learn? The answer is yes – legions. The Accenture Technology Vision 2019 noted that more than 40 percent of millennials say learning and development is the most important benefit (after salary) in deciding where to work.

Second, do we have content? Again, yes - almost limitless, and it isn’t restricted to what is in-house.

Do we have compelling business reasons to make sure everybody learns, and regularly? Once again, the answer is yes. Accenture’s study, It’s Learning, Just Not as We Know It, shows that over the next decade, the 14 G20 countries in the analysis could miss out on as much as US$11.5 trillion of cumulative growth promised by intelligent technologies if they fail to meet future skills demands.

Do we have talent processes -- onboarding, performance management, goal-setting, and succession planning – that need learning to complete their cycles? Big time.

Do we know that improved learning increases employee engagement, retention, and satisfaction? Yes. It’s all around us.

Another key question: How well are businesses keeping up?

When I ask people at various companies if their learning system is one of the first places they go to learn, the answer often is, “Not yet.” Then I ask if it’s easy to find things and I hear, “Let me find the link… Give me a minute… I haven’t used it since last year.” When I ask if their company’s learning is relevant to their needs, they say, “Well… It looks like our machine operators, accounting staff and sales people all see the same content… maybe there is going to be a big push for cross-training I haven’t heard about?” Then they head off to YouTube.

Learning doesn’t need to be ‘fixed.’ It should be reimagined, with the learner now positioned directly at the center. Fortunately, the individual trajectories of learning technologies, ubiquity of content, the business imperatives and the demands of learners themselves have arrived at a rare confluence – one that enables us to turn the perfect learning storm into the perfect landscape for “Learning in the New.”

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Learning doesn’t need to be ‘fixed’. It should be reimagined, with the learner now positioned directly at the center. #futureworkforce

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What “learning is in the new” and how can it help?

“Learning in the New” is an Accenture approach, which recognizes that learning as a core business discipline needs to do more – much more. “Learning in the New” is a high-performance learning framework that orchestrates and embeds learning throughout the enterprise – thus finally helping to give learning the importance and muscle formerly given mostly to operations.

However – and here it comes – when learning occupies a much bigger and more important position in the enterprise (thus driving improved business results), it should indeed take on more complexity. It will touch more processes. So yes, there will be more moving parts.

Enter Workday Learning

Workday Learning is an intuitive system that tames learning complexity while giving learning a far more prominent place in the enterprise. It enables content to be created, shared, and consumed on any device – when it’s needed, by precisely the right people and tailored to their needs.

In addition to advanced analytics, Workday Learning provides a strong foundation for Accenture’s “Learning in the New” approach. And with “Learning in the New” embracing Workday Learning, feedback from clients based on the learner experience has been very positive. Already, it’s helping them meet their macro challenges – the skills gap, for example.

Why “learning in the new” matters

“Learning in the New” acknowledges that learning should be more deeply embedded in the employee experience and culture, provide learning outcomes more tangibly linked to employee skills growth and talent (along with their career needs and interests) and serve internal and external content much more capably. In short, “Learning in the New” raises the bar for learning, making it more present and visible and more central to the way we work.

Three ways to get started

The research mentioned at the beginning of this post offers three ‘musts’ for organizations: Accelerate experiential learning techniques, broaden individuals’ blend of skills, and ensure inclusive access to tomorrow’s skilling solutions. Enterprise learning will need to step up to meet these new imperatives, and Workday has the means and the answers.

Colin Anderson

Managing Director

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