Using Learning Technologies to Support Talent Management

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Natalie Ann Holborow
Digital Content Specialist
Using Learning Technologies to Support Talent Management

In our #WhatsYourTalent story, we introduced you to L&D manager Tom, CEO Elaine and trainer Josh, who is also a learner on the leadership programme at the fictional company NewWay Training. 

In this blog post, we’re going to explore how both learning management and talent management are more closely interwoven than they may appear – and how learning technologies such as the LMS and LXP can be used to support talent development.

Learning and Talent – What’s the Link?

We’ve previously described how talent management is evolving. As the business landscape changes, the concept of the ‘siloed’ organisation is slowly being broken down to allow collaboration across different departments. While HR is responsible for acquiring, developing and retaining talent in an organisation, L&D on the other hand is responsible for improving performance and equipping people with the skills required to do their jobs.

Developing, nurturing and retaining talent has never been more imperative. Today, organisations face a tension between cutting costs in an economic downturn and delivering training to help their workforce adapt to the changing working environment caused by COVID-19. When we consider that the cost of finding and recruiting a replacement for an employee is estimated to be a staggering three times their annual salary, it makes sense for organisations to now focus on the talent they have within their own workforce to save on costs, rather than outsourcing. This may mean reskilling or making changes to organisational structure, and it relies on everybody coming together to work towards an overarching goal.

In order to implement the most effective talent management strategy, there needs to be visibility of learner activity across departments and clear lines of communication in place.

This is where the right learning technology can help.

learners engaging in personalised learning using technology

Making the Move to Online Learning During COVID-19

Let’s return to our fictional organisation, NewWay Training. In light of the pandemic, L&D Manager Tom is quickly having to adapt the learning material for the leadership course for online delivery. 

However, Tom knows that simply moving the learning material into a set of Powerpoint slides and pushing it out as content on the company’s learning platform is not going to score any points when it comes to learner engagement. Instead, Tom needs to take a more holistic approach and consider how to adapt learning delivery to encourage collaboration, boost motivation and work towards a clear set of objectives. Tom also needs to be able to monitor development, identify problems, and provide solutions when and where they are needed.

Tom is also keen to ensure key stakeholders such as HR, line managers and CEO Elaine have visibility of learner activity within the platform. As a modern L&D practitioner, he knows that it is important that everyone is clear on the overall aims of the business so that he can allow these aims to inform his strategy. After all, with Elaine as the person who outlines the goals and invests in L&D, it’s vital that Tom has her on his side.

Josh, although a keen learner and great at his job as a trainer, is apprehensive about the move to digital. Busy with his family and with young children now at home, he worries about taking time out in his hectic schedule for learning on top of his normal working day. After all, those lunchtime plates of spaghetti hoops on toast won’t make themselves.

A natural people person, he’s also apprehensive about the concept of reduced face-to-face interaction.

How Can Learning Technologies Support Talent Management?

Aware of the concerns of his learners as well as Elaine’s reticence over learning technologies, Tom is a champion of blended learning and is keen to prove that digital will help future-proof the organisation by augmenting current talent. He is particularly focused on the leadership development programme to prepare for the post-pandemic world of work.  Leadership development programmes can provide support for a more agile organisation and introduce leaders to new skill sets such as effective leadership of remote teams.

As well as being a tool for training and learning, the LMS can also be used to promote career development opportunities to the organisation’s in-house talent. Investing in training that helps employees grow and achieve their career ambitions in turn improves staff retention, meaning costs saved and potential maximised at a time when it counts most.

Performance management should reflect the fact that learning is a continuous process. The reporting insights afforded by learning technologies allow for an ongoing review process, so that skills gaps can be identified and remedied when necessary. When combined with communications tools within the learning platform, a coaching dynamic can be implemented to ensure learners are supported throughout increasingly self-led and remote learning journeys. In addition, visibility of learner reports for relevant stakeholders (such as line managers) provides detailed insights prior to performance reviews.

The format and delivery of learning content is also key when considering engagement. Learners must be motivated to develop, but the content must also be relevant and engaging enough to keep them logging back into the learning platform in order to progress. Research has revealed that 58% of employees prefer opportunities to learn at their own pace and 49% prefer to learn at the point of need

Just like Josh, who is busy with family responsibilities and work pressure, today’s learners simply don’t have the time to spare for hours of ‘chalk and talk’ style learning. Offering the learning digitally, and in bite-sized chunks, allows aggregation of smaller amounts of similar content, resulting in learning that is more targeted and specific. It lets learners know that every little morsel of information is relevant, so they’ll consume it with due attention and consideration. The result? 

Better engagement, a willingness to learn and a strengthened skill set.

How Thinqi Can Support Your Top Talent

At NewWay Training, Tom uses Thinqi to deliver the leadership programme. Thinqi incorporates the key features of the traditional LMS and combines it with those of the LXP, which include:

  • An open system to accommodate external resources
  • Content and curation in the form of ‘Playlists’
  • Adaptive learning paths through tagging
  • Discussion spaces such as ‘Networks’ for collaborative learning and coaching/mentoring 
  • The ability to track learning outside of formal situations (with the help of xAPI)
  • The ability to track soft skills (or ‘intangibles’)
  • The capacity for unmarked, practice assessments
  • The capacity for formal, marked assessments
  • Virtual classrooms
  • Devolved roles with visibility of reports for individual learners and cohorts

By integrating the two, the result is that Tom can successfully engage learners beyond mandatory training, yet is still able to measure and manage formal learning activities linked to the unique organisational goals outlined by Elaine. He can view detailed learner reports and share these with line managers, so that stakeholder involvement is maintained throughout.

So, what does this mean from a learner perspective? Josh had been worried that without the face-to-face interaction of the classroom environment, he would not be able to collaborate with peers or discuss any aspect of the learning he finds tricky. However, Josh is pleased to discover that he can stay connected to his peers through forum-style discussions and virtual classrooms – an all-in-one centralised learning space. He can share resource recommendations with other learners.

The accessible digital format also means that Josh can simply log in and continue with his learning once the kids are finally tucked up in bed. Josh is actually finding that he’s able to dedicate more time to his leadership course, simply due to the fact he can learn whenever suits him best.

It’s win-win all round.

In Summary…

With the imminent need to develop and reskill during the pandemic, digital learning experiences encourage a continuous learning environment that’s perfectly suited to remote working. L&D managers must consider what capabilities and knowledge are needed for a response to the pandemic in order to future-proof and augment existing talent within the workforce.

L&D – developing your talent to face the business challenges of tomorrow is only a click away.

If you would like to learn more about how our cutting-edge modern learning ecosystem can help you develop the talent in your organisation, we’ve got the tools and expertise to help you succeed. Request a demo to arrange to speak to one of our experts.

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thinqi logo
Natalie Ann Holborow
Digital Content Specialist