Recent research has revealed that driving a culture of innovation in your organization goes hand in hand with a well-strategized learning and development (L&D) program. Read on to discover how!
Maintaining your competitive advantage in today’s marketplace can feel eerily similar to trying to keep your head above water. No matter where you’re located, your potential competition has grown rapidly – from your local market to markets all over the world.
Investing in learning and development programs is one way to maintain your competitive advantage and innovativeness over the long term.
According to the 2019 L&D report from professional development search engine findcourses.com, companies with growing revenue were 3x more likely to predict an increase in their L&D budget. Organizations investing in L&D are seeing the results.
Considering the market competition we see today, an L&D strategy will enable companies to create and sustain impactful cultures of innovation within their offices.
Conversations with practicing training professionals in the report demonstrate some key strategies to transform innovation from a pipedream into a reality, including:
- Top-down goal alignment to encourage agility
- Building safe spaces for ideation in the training environment
- Investing in the right tools such as e-learning platforms to maximize the innovative potential of L&D program
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Read on to discover how other organizations have implemented effective L&D strategies. Learn how L&D, e-learning, and creating an ideation-friendly training environment can help center innovation at the heart of your business operations.
Align Your Goals To Let Innovation Flourish
According to the report, companies with executives highly engaged in L&D are 3x more likely to say their companies have a culture of innovation. A good manager should lead by example – allowing innovation to flow from the top down.
With leadership engaged in L&D, employees will understand the significance of participating in training initiatives and be inclined to take them seriously. Furthermore, it will facilitate the alignment of your business goals with your training goals – a key aspect of encouraging innovation.
Aligning goals across the many functions of an organization is a key factor in encouraging innovation on multiple fronts.
Only 36% of organizations have their training goals aligned with their business goals.
By bringing the two functions together, you’ll improve the efficiency of the L&D process as employees will be exposed to training information most relevant to their roles, and what they need to accomplish in relation to the needs of your business.
If you need to upskill your employees on the newest innovative technology in your sector – aligned goals will help you quickly integrate the relevant knowledge into an existing training program.
In this context, a learning management system (LMS) can be an important tool to help expedite that process.
Agility is the name of the innovative game. Aligning business and training goals will help ensure that your business and your employees are able to shift focus at a moment’s notice – and stay abreast of the daily challenges and changes that are thrown at you by the market.
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Build Safe Spaces To Drive Innovative Ideation
Aligning goals is a top-level strategy, but what can you do within your actual training program to ensure that innovation is flowing organically into operations?
Focusing on individual strengths is one way to build a safe space within the training environment, encouraging employees to share their ideas without fear of repercussions. Tiffany Poppa, Director of Employee Experience at Bonobos, has seen the impact of building safe spaces first hand.
At Bonobos, innovation is a byproduct of employees’ free-flowing ideation in the training room. “Our strengths-based approach has effectively fostered a culture of collaboration and open communication because it celebrates the individual,” Tiffany Poppa says. “Focusing on strengths creates trust; it creates a safe space to try something and possibly fail, have a conversation about it, and move forward,” she adds.
Rather than focusing on hard skills, building relationships between employees and managers helps create a constant flow of idea-sharing. With employees encouraged to share their perspectives on training and your business operations more generally, you’ll increase the likelihood of valuable ideas and innovative perspectives organically coming to the fore.
Just over 50% of companies believe that their L&D strategy gives them a competitive advantage. The right L&D strategies can help put you in that majority.
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Innovative Training Tools Make the Difference
Of the companies surveyed in the L&D report, there’s a clear indication that the days of classroom training are behind us. Training aids such as e-learning have become the new norm. Respondents’ predictions for technology use in their L&D functions varied:
- 63% will utilize e-learning
- 45% will utilize micro-learning videos
- 23% will utilize virtual classrooms
- 23% will utilize mobile learning
- 21% will utilize game-based learning
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Evaluate how your organization is currently approaching training, and find those areas where you can integrate innovative technologies.
Techniques used in classroom training haven’t become completely irrelevant yet. Instead, they have taken a new digitized face, thanks to advancements in training technologies.
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By redefining your L&D strategy with innovative technologies in mind, you’ll be making the training process far more productive and increase your ROI.
A study conducted by Brandon Hall found that e-learning requires 40-60% less employee time compared to conventional classroom learning, allowing them to spend more time on innovating within their roles.
Research from IBM indicates that for every $1 invested in e-learning, companies earned $30 back in productivity as employees were able to save time using online learning, and apply their newfound knowledge to their roles right away – making innovative changes on the go.
Aligning your training goals from top to bottom, creating a safe space within the training environment, and investing in the right tools for L&D will help innovation flourish organically from the training room into operations. And it all boils down to a well-thought-out L&D strategy.
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