08 Oct 2021 20:44 IST

Digital solutions for HR’s new age challenges

HR leaders need to leverage Covid-induced digitalisation of businesses to improve learning at work.

Two years ago, the world had not heard of Covid-19. Businesses flourished from a brick-and-mortar setup. People worked sitting together, hustled in conference rooms, found breathers during water cooler conversations, and relied on classroom setups for their corporate learning and development programmes. A prerequisite for these learning programmes was to have all the learners and trainees in a room simultaneously, with the same zeal. The pandemic changed everything almost overnight. It forced businesses and people all over the world to find alternate ways to continue. Thankfully, digital technologies helped them to enable their employees to work from anywhere and stay equally effective.

Moreover, these technologies also democratised people’s learning and development journey as classroom sizes or locations did not limit them. Instead, they could access relevant, customised online tutorials about their profession, attend virtual masterclasses, or participate in a group discussion with participants from all over the world. It is an understatement to say that the digital transformation has changed how we visualise learning at work.

On the job, learning is centred around specific skills or helping people stay competitive in their respective fields. Enabling the learning and development process in a non-linear, flexible way helps businesses upskill their people with optimal investments. Here are the top three reasons why digital learning solutions should be a strategic priority for HR leaders:

Location is not a bar

The best thing about digital learning management systems is that it eliminates location barriers. People can access their learning materials, webinars, and chatrooms irrespective of wherever they are. In addition, such platforms can be easily integrated into existing communication systems that a company uses such as Salesforce or Slack. This integration is essential to make training accessible to people at work, which means, do not force them to learn another system. The integrated solutions simply scheduling for live sessions and let people access other content at their own pace. As a result, people can customise their learning journey and feel empowered.

Imbibes meaningful collaboration among people

While there is no replacement for the human touch, the last year and a half proved that the internet could connect us in more ways than we thought. It also shattered some myths that online collaboration may not be an effective way to learn. Online learning expands the scope of digital resources and empowers people to choose what they want to or need to know. Apart from going through static learning modules, people can draw from each other’s expertise on a virtual learning platform.

For example, they may share generic information or case-based knowledge. With the help of features such as digital whiteboards, screen share, messenger chats, emojis, participants can make these conversations engaging. Thus, like-minded colleagues and industry experts could come on a common platform to create a learning environment unavailable in a traditional classroom setup. As a result, the learners could constantly keep up with the industry, even amid hectic lifestyles.

Helps in maintaining competence

On paper, learning and development is a part of most professional job requirements. However, due to time and other constraints, it barely goes beyond employee onboarding. To help people stay relevant and competent in their respective fields, they should be abreast with the latest trends, practices, solutions, and technologies. Given the limited bandwidth at work, lack of access to top institutions, and several other constraints hold people back from committing to learning at work. Businesses should help their people with digital learning opportunities to steer their careers in the right direction. Using digital platforms, companies can connect their people with top academic and industrial learning institutions to facilitate formal education and accreditation.

With the above benefits of digital learning, the next step of business leaders is to identify the tools that suit their people the most. The investment in digital education helps people to experience a sense of commitment from the organisation. There are umpteen studies to showcase that this improvement in employee experience has a direct bearing at work. Business leaders will do well to show some urgency on this front.

(The writer is CEO & Co-Founder, Stratbeans, a boutique consulting company.)