Where is the Learning Happening?

Current economic challenges have made most organizations concentrate on the one biggest tangible, ‘money’. Many organizations are implementing measures to reduce expenses and improve profitability. One trend is cutting down on employee training and development initiatives. Specifically, those that focus on soft skills. This is unfortunate and short-sighted. Any organization that aspires to survive and thrive in the current economic landscape, must strive towards the development of the behavioral skills of its employees. Unlike hard skills, which are about a person’s ability to perform a certain type of task or activity, soft skills are interpersonal and directly impact employee engagement. In an environment such as the current times, every challenge and change that emerges can negatively impact the morale and performance of even the best employees. Emotional intelligence, resilience, result orientation, and managing change for example, are key skills that are critical to enabling employees (and their organizations) transition successfully.

Reducing training budgets and cutting down on the volume of training programs certainly makes financial sense. However, the austerity should, instead, encourage organizations to implement more effective and efficient training and development practices, and shift toward higher-impact methods of training. The 70:20:10 model is one such method. It holds that employees obtain 70 percent of their knowledge from job-related experiences, 20 percent from interactions with others, and 10 percent from formal educational events. There are a multitude of arguments over the percentages, but, the fact of the matter remains – that the bulk of learning occurs through practical experiences and our interactions in the workplace, while only a small percentage of learning occurs through formal training or education. Delivering a learning intervention that harnesses the 70:20:10 model ensures optimum value of the training budget. More importantly, it creates a strategic learning function that supports the transition to a workplace learning culture.

Learning shouldn’t happen for learning’s sake! Learning should happen for performance improvement! The best solution is the one that improves employee performance while still striking a balance with business needs. Where is the learning happening in your organization?