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Deloitte: Adapt Workplace Learning to the Speed of Business

Seventy-four percent of organizations surveyed focus primarily on traditional learning methods that can fall short of empowering employees to acquire skills to keep pace with change and improve the work itself 

OAKLAND, Calif., May 16, 2017 — New Deloitte research shows that organizations should adapt workplace learning to the speed of business as the pace of change accelerates and learning becomes more urgent, experiential and converges with work to support better business outcomes. Summarized in a WhatWorks® Brief, the research findings appear in “High-Impact Learning Organization: Maturity Model and Top Findings,” new research from Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP. The findings also will be presented at Bersin by Deloitte’s IMPACT 2017 conference, which will take place May 22-25 at the Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Florida. 

Based on a survey by approximately 1,200 global organizations, the research shows 74 percent of organizations surveyed currently focus primarily on traditional learning and development methods that fall short of empowering employees to acquire skills and take responsibility to improve the work itself. The research includes a new four-level maturity model that serves as a roadmap to a game-changing learning environment. The research demonstrates that organizations at the highest level of maturity move beyond traditional capabilities (such as instructional design) to refocus the entire organization on enabling employees to develop continuously. When learning and work are integrated, organizations naturally evolve to compete more effectively as business conditions change.

“Most organizations haven’t adapted employee development systems to respond effectively to the accelerating pace of change – change driven by an increasingly global economy, rapid technological advances and a more networked world,” said Dani Johnson, vice president and learning and development research leader, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “Our research shows organizations should shift away from viewing learning and development as separate, external activities delivered by the learning and development function to the workforce. Instead, they should focus on making employee development the responsibility of the entire organization – creating a true learning organization.”

The research reveals that high-maturity organizations are more than twice as likely to rate high than low-maturity peers on business outcomes, including efficiency, financial targets, anticipating change and innovation. 

Conversely, the research also indicates that the net promotor score (an index used as a proxy to indicate a customer’s satisfaction with a product or service) associated with development opportunities in the lowest maturity organizations is negative – illustrating the disparity between high and low maturity organizations.

“In the 15 years I’ve been studying corporate L&D, I haven’t seen the industry under so much stress,” said Josh Bersin, principal and founder, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “We are in a disruptive time, forcing companies of all sizes to literally reinvent their entire learning strategy, infrastructure and employee experience like never before.”

As described in the “2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends” research, many employees now enjoy the prospect of 60-year careers. At the same time, the half-life of skills is falling rapidly. These new realities are forcing companies to rethink the way they deliver always-on learning and development opportunities.  

Organizations that empower employees to continuously develop tend to view learning and work as “two sides of the same coin,” utilizing opportunities inherent in work for development, and continuously providing feedback and data that employees use to improve both themselves and the work.

In addition to a more intertwined relationship between work and learning, and a broader definition of what it means to be a true learning organization, the new Bersin by Deloitte research points to six significant shifts for mature learning organizations. The research shows that such organizations:

  • Attend to all phases of an employee’s career. Mature organizations consider and support development and performance for employees in their current roles. They also prepare employees for the next positions within the organizations to help them achieve long-term success.  
  • Use technology to experiment and innovate. Instead of using technology to do the same things better, mature organizations completely change the types of developmental opportunities they offer and enable learning in the workplace through technologies integrated into employees’ work. 
  • Use data to measure outcomes rather than activity. Mature organizations collect more data at more frequent intervals from more sources, and therefore better understand their organizations and what they need to make work better. 
  • Create the right conditions, instead of the right content. Rather than concentrate on creating courses, curated content and curricula, mature organizations focus on infrastructure, feedback loops and collecting data to help employees make better decisions about their work and their own development.  
  • Employ design thinking. Mature organizations both think through experiences, including courses and stretch assignments, tailored for development and build in opportunities for reflection and learning from mistakes. 
  • Empower employees. Modern employees are more empowered than they have ever been, and more mature organizations take advantage of this shift.  

“Truly mature organizations make employees active participants in their development,” Johnson said. “Employees in these organizations can often find what they need, when they need it, and seek feedback and data to help them improve. They are also more likely to self-organize to get work done, and change to further their own development and improve work and business outcomes overall.” 

To learn more, register to join Dani Johnson for her online webinar, “The 2017 High-Impact Learning Organization Maturity Model: Ways Mature Organizations Develop Employees,” at 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time /19:00 British Summer Time, June 6, 2017. 

Bersin by Deloitte is the indispensable destination for the HR professional seeking to build capability, community and credibility, stay informed and lead on workforce issues – all enabled by a digital experience. Those interested in learning more about Bersin by Deloitte or its memberships can email or call +1 510 241 4400. 

About Deloitte 

Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including 80 percent of the Fortune 500 and more than 6,000 private and middle market companies. Our people work across more than 20 industry sectors to deliver measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to make their most challenging business decisions with confidence, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthy society.

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Laura Evenson

Public Relations

Deloitte Consulting LLP

+1 510 251 4406