How technology helps HR - Building a culture of continuous learning

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HR leaders understand the importance of promoting continuous learning to remain competitive in today’s changing work environment. Organisations that invest in developing their workforce have a better chance of attracting talent. They can also reduce turnover and increase profitability. Additionally, they can improve productivity and engagement within the company.

 In fact, recent research by Deloitte found that those organisations with a strong learning culture are 92% more likely to innovate; have 37% higher employee productivity; and are 58% more prepared to meet the demand for future skills.

 “In the face of swiftly changing markets, a culture focused on learning empowers individuals to anticipate shifts, rapidly embrace new technologies, and adapt to emerging trends and customer demands,” remarks Louise Bhatia, director of operations at Silver Cloud HR. “This adaptability, in turn, makes the organisation more resilient and agile.”

 Liz Sebag‑Montefiore, director and co-founder of 10Eighty, adds that promoting the idea of continuous learning can improve performance, enhance employee engagement, and materially facilitate the development of a talent pipeline and future leadership capability. “It’s not just about upskilling, reskilling, and productivity, but also about being proactive in building a corporate culture fit to meet future needs, demands and challenges by fostering innovation and creativity. It’s also key to thriving in a competitive and volatile marketplace.”


Role of technology in HR

 HR technology plays a vital role in helping to build a culture of continuous learning because it can, for example, automate and streamline processes, provide reporting and analytics capabilities and track employee development in real time.

 “Technology serves as a catalyst for continuous learning by providing on-demand access to resources, personalised learning journeys, and interactive content,” says Louise Bhatia. “AI algorithms recommend relevant courses and materials tailored to individual employees, considering their learning history and job roles.

 “HR tech platforms ensure seamless access to learning materials by enabling employees to engage in learning at their convenience. They also foster collaboration through features like forums and chat rooms, cultivating a culture of collective learning. Advanced HR tech tailors learning experiences to individuals based on their roles, skill gaps, and preferences, optimising the efficacy of learning initiatives.”

 Janice Burns, chief transformation officer at Degreed, adds: “Personalised recommendations, content that suits different learning styles, and insights that help someone improve, are all good features in HR technology to promote continuous learning. HR tech, in many ways, needs to take inspiration from consumer technology giants like Apple, Spotify, and Meta.”

 Leveraging HR technology in L&D also enables organisations to personalise each employee’s learning journey, rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all approach.

 “The more the learning can be personalised the better,” remarks Liz Sebag‑Montefiore. “Employees want to be able to access learning via a range of platforms, and as and when they have time to study. Personalisation enables learning that is structured or on-demand, for individuals and groups, both theoretical and practical – whatever your people need; that’s how you engage them with your development offer and keep them engaged and enthusiastic.”


Performance Management Framework and L&D

 Effective HR performance management software can enable organisations to improve performance management through real-time analytics and robust tracking and measuring. This means managers can identify individual strengths or skills gaps, with development plans implemented as soon as they are needed.

 “HR tech simplifies performance management by consolidating performance data, automating feedback collection, and surfacing analytics for actionable insights,” comments Louise Bhatia. “This enhances consistency, transparency, and equity in performance evaluations.”

 The tech can also provide tools such as digital feedback systems, performance tracking apps, and analytics dashboards, adds Nicki Robson, managing director at Breedon Consulting. “The tools help managers and employees set clear goals, monitor progress in real time and adjust goals as needed. Feedback mechanisms are continuous, allowing for real-time changes and supporting a growth mindset among employees. This links performance management directly to learning.”

 Organisations that implement robust HR systems will also have access to a valuable source of skills data that can be used to inform both performance management and L&D strategies.

 “The learning, projects and tasks completed by an employee, along with manager and peer feedback, can be populated into a personal skills profile that then feeds into learning and HR technology to create better experiences, personal recommendations, and tailored development plans,” says Janice Burns. “Managers can use skills data insights to better understand their team’s strengths and weaknesses, to inform development discussions, and to offer learning opportunities that align with someone’s goals, interests, and areas of improvement.”

 HR tech platforms also offer a comprehensive array of tools for overseeing learning and development initiatives, adds Louise Bhatia. “This includes features like course catalogues, competency assessments, and progress tracking. By leveraging HR tech, organisations can efficiently administer, monitor, and assess learning programs to ensure alignment with strategic objectives and individual development requirements.”


Overcoming organisational hurdles

 Many businesses will face some barriers to L&D in the workplace, such as costs or lack of time or engagement, which can then have a negative impact on the education and development of employees. So how can HR technology support this and help to overcomes these challenges?

 “HR tech platforms, especially those with mobile access, facilitate easier, on-demand access to learning resources, which in turn significantly boosts engagement and learning activity uptake,” remarks Louise Bhatia. “Features like micro learning, mobile learning, and e-learning modules empower employees to upskill and reskill at their own pace, even in remote or hybrid work settings. 

Technology can help managers prioritise learning among their team, offer a breadth of learning opportunities to meet their needs, offer meaningful feedback and assessment, and celebrate success to motivate and reinforce the value of learning.”

 Janice Burns believes that, when HR technology is implemented as part of a wider continuous learning culture, where everyone is given equal opportunities to build their skills, then it is a powerful leveller.

 “In the Utopian ideal, HR technology and employers with the right vision will create true learning equity, making it easier for individuals to overcome barriers to employment, development, and career growth. For this to happen, we need equal access to learning opportunities, by bringing learning into online spaces that everyone can access no matter their location or other commitments. We also need learning to be highly personalised, to meet each learner where they are currently at.”

 According to Nicki Robson, HR technology can solve many organisational hurdles which traditionally impede education and development efforts, such as logistical issues, time constraints, and inconsistent training quality. “HR tech automates admin tasks which frees HR professionals to focus on strategic work such as curriculum development and career pathing.”

 HR technology can also increase learning effectiveness by supporting and directing employees to find the time to learn, while helping to align content to business needs, adds Liz Sebag‑Montefiore. “The use of easily accessible, flexible learning platforms and resources demonstrate the organisation’s intent to promote learning, career advancement and personal development. Ensure employees know that you encourage time for learning to foster a culture of continuous learning. Show that you value the efforts they make in workplace learning, acknowledge results, and provide feedback.”