3 Trends Are Turning Learning Strategies into 2019 Business Strategies

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At the start of every year, we’re all provided with lists predicting various trends, challenges and agenda-topping issues. The list we’re providing here is noteworthy for leaders throughout the organization because it reveals trends that link investments in learning with improved business results.

As a respected leader in the learning space for more than 25 years, Media Partners knows an exciting trend when we see one. For 2019, we’ve identified several ideas we predict will gain greater traction as the year unfolds. Already, we’re seeing these ideas empower our customers to leverage learning solutions to improve enterprise performance. They can work for your company, too.

If you’re ready to apply innovative new strategies this year, here are three transformative learning trends to help you drive stronger business results:

1. Learning strategies are finally being recognized—and leveraged—as the broader business strategies they are.

learning strategiesL&D leaders have long understood the symbiotic relationship between learning approaches and business results. Now growing recognition by business executives and functional leaders is driving application of learning strategies to strengthen and improve such enterprise imperatives as talent acquisition, employee engagement, retention/turnover, succession management, employment branding and internal mobility.

How? Top companies are leading the way by providing more robust internal training and development, sometimes as a precursor or supplement to other learning opportunities. For example, McDonald’s—a long-time advocate of the power of learning—offers extensive educational opportunities, both within and beyond the company, driving business benefits through increased retention, performance, and long-term brand support.

Training Industry affirmed L&D-business connections in a report on learning functions using internal certification programs to enhance performance. And Forbes described how Walmart, Starbucks, Amazon, and other employers offer tuition programs as part of upskilling and reskilling strategies to attract, engage, and retain talent.

2. Rapid change is turning learning into a fluid process.

rapid changes in learningAs the pace of change accelerates, the shelf-life of employee skillsets shrinks. Too often, by the time training can be designed, delivered, and consumed, it’s nearly obsolete. Increasingly, L&D functions are challenged to keep up.

For businesses and their workforces, that means learning has to become a continuous, fluid, flexible way of life to enable agile responses to shifting business needs and learner preferences. By extension, it means that training content and the way it is delivered must continuously evolve, too. While the release of frequent updates has always been a key component of technical skills training, it is now required of soft skills training as well -- particularly compliance content (such as sexual harassment training) which must comply with ever-changing government mandates.

There will always be demand for one-and-done learning interventions. But just as SaaS changed abilities to deploy and update HR and other business systems, innovations in the learning space are accelerating fluidity by transforming content development and training delivery.

3. An uncertain world is driving demand for training content that resonates both within and beyond the workplace.

training beyond workplace3Demand has always existed for meaningful and relevant learning opportunities that prepare people for success at work. But we have only to look at the world around us to understand that we need to continuously develop new skills and perspectives that equip us to contribute effectively outside the workplace, too. Abilities that empower us to build better lives and achieve the well-being we want for ourselves, our families, our friends, and our societies.

The takeaway for business leaders? Development strategies that enhance both work skills and life skills are true differentiators that attract top talent and keep employees engaged and committed to continuous improvement. Training in soft skills—those vital capabilities that enable us to interact effectively with others—offers one example of a learning strategy with work-life relevance. Teaching people to be better listeners, effective communicators, and enabling them to recognize and stop harassment, bullying, conflict, and other negative behaviors, promotes respect and cooperation—in the workplace and beyond.

At Media Partners, we aren’t just reading about the latest trends, we’re setting them—transforming effective learning and development strategies into innovative business solutions to help enterprise leaders and employees achieve better outcomes in the workplace, and beyond.