Jobs have become more and more specialized, with success being measured with expertise, not the years of experience. Make no mistake, this is not a paradigm shift. The change has been gradual, and we are still in the process of evolution. When experts say today’s job market is as much about capabilities as it is about the products, they clearly see a change that is evident.

Many organizations are smart enough to see this shift, embracing the fact that employee training tools must be more experiential. This has led to traditional course-based learning taking a backseat to make room for skill-based employee training software. To ensure upskilling is successful for their employees, L&D leaders now realize they need a dedicated employee learning platform, rather than a generalized Human Capital Management (HCM) with a learning module.

The Era of the Employee Learning Platforms is Here

Employees are often not job-ready at the time of onboarding, and this causes huge costs to be incurred by employers, knowing fully that attrition is a market reality. And companies realize this. That’s why they are already putting more focus on what they call the process of “increasing specialization.” Research studies, after all, say specialists deliver 10x more employee productivity over generalists.

What is more interesting is that it’s not just the people who are focusing on specialization. Much in proportion, a specialized employee learning platform is becoming increasingly necessary to build a successful and productive workforce.

Why is learning one of the least-used modules in HCM?

This may come as a shock, especially to those who think learning is mission-critical. But the opposite is true. At least, this is what the trends suggest.

When selecting options for Human Capital Management, here are the essential modules companies are reviewing (listed in order of popularity):

  1. WorkForce Analytics

  2. Process Management

  3. Talent Management

  4. Payroll Administration

  5. Benefits Administration

  6. Time and Attendance

  7. Learning Management

  8. Succession Management

As you can see, learning is at the bottom of the list, when it should be at the top. Not that organizations underestimate the merits of learning. They simply have not yet been presented with the right picture in the right scheme of things. Up until now, companies have remained in oblivion about how learning in the flow of work affects business ROIs. It does this, on a daily basis.

Your business productivity soars when you leverage learning to upskill and train your workforce through continuous learning. Specialized employee learning platforms have a considerably higher share of learning, even if they are deployed in companies that have an HCM.

For instance, one of the world’s largest utility vehicle manufacturers, that already leverages SuccessFactors HCM, recently decided to integrate Disprz learning solution atop their HCM architecture. They realize the importance of depth over breadth in learning and want to give a major boost to their employee training tools and learning efforts.

Capability development of people is strategic while everything else on HCM is operational

According to a study by LinkedIn, getting employees ready to make time for employee training remains the biggest challenge when it comes to talent development. Most of your employees will complain that they are so busy with their routine and operational work that they rarely find time out to ‘learn’ something new. Learning & training was considered a luxury, not a necessity.

What can we do for them? First of all, digital and mobile learning content delivery becomes very critical. It also calls for blended content delivery — delivering training on multiple platforms, such as classroom, mobile and just-in-time (microlearning is an important diet for knowledge-hungry employees with time crunch). It’s also about personalization which in turn boosts active employee engagement.

In contrast, learning in an HRMS training program module focuses mostly on compliance training and routine administrative management of instructor-led training like managing training room availability, training budgets and trainer calendars. Not delivering an engaging training program or skills.

Dedicated learning platforms drive upskilling

We have clearly moved on from training course-based learning to employee learning path with skill-based learning. Under the new paradigm, upskilling is more important. Many enterprise organizations are already focusing more on skills & capabilities over course-based qualifications and employee designations.

The bottom-line is this. Human Capital Management platforms typically have many modules — right from recruitment to employee benefits, leave management, and more — and learning just happens to be one among them.

So while a traditional learning management system has always been a useful addition to HR Tech, over time there has been a call for a dedicated employee learning platform. Businesses realizing this now are better positioned to create a culture of employee engagement and continual learning.

Employee learning platform – 7 features that justify a switch from HCM

1. Dedicated, strategic and on-demand learning

It’s only recently that organizations are realizing their HRMS/HCM platforms are handling only routine administrative tasks such as recruiting and workforce management. While these are important, they are not strategic for employee development and company growth.

And this is where legacy HCM solutions are lacking. They lack strategic modules that directly impact employee development and performance with learning and performance management.

In simple words, you can no longer rely on traditional HCM platforms where a training module is just one out of the many activities. You need a dedicated and specialized learning platform as part of your business strategy that delivers training material and learning in the flow of work.

2. Content authoring

Today, enterprises need specific learning content to be authored in the latest bite-sized format and want to ditch their SCORM packages approach. They need an employee learning platform which combines content authoring with delivery and this is one area legacy learning management systems lag behind.

3. Open online course (MOOC) integrations

Today, the best content comes from MOOCs. While your enterprise LMS may have MOOC integrations, most of the times they will come integrated with only the big three — Coursera, edX and Udemy.

That is usually done to show to the market that the LMS is product-wise complete (while clearly it’s not). You would rather need a dedicated learning solution that is willing to integrate with specialized MOOCs since each comes with customized learning objectives. Don’t rely on just the big three.

4. Content from the open web 

High-performing companies want their learners to search within their Digital World and not in Google for anything related to learning.

Specialized employee learning platforms like Disprz provide a natural-language-processing search that crawls internal organizational sources, MOOCs, and also the websites on the internet for the best content altogether. A feature no HCM platform provides.

5. Learning Analytics

No employee learning platform in the world provides a single window into learning analytics across all learning experiences. This is another challenge.

Just imparting learning lessons are not of much use unless you are able to track what is working and what is not. Are your learners able to grasp their lessons? If yes, to what extent? If not, at what point exactly they slip through and get disengaged?

A strategic employee learning platform would ideally provide advanced skill analytics across all learning experiences with in-depth insights. Some even use machine learning and artificial intelligence to deliver impact analytics.

6. AI-based recommendation engine

How about intelligent bots recommending what to learn! When your organization has thousands of courses and learning experiences at the employee’s disposal, don’t you need a state-of-the-art recommender system, something which only dedicated learning platforms have in their kitty?

7. Manager-driven, journey-based competency development 

The specialized employee learning platforms enable skill development as a collaborative activity between each employee and their managers, where each employee has to craft their 12-month professional development experience month-by-month combining learning from different sources as well as other educational experiences.

You are not going to see such customized 30-60-90-day learning journeys on legacy HCMs.

Employee learning drives business outcomes

Don’t postpone or delay a key strategic initiative in place of an administrative initiative. This could mean disaster for your company. Even if you have legacy HCM software in place, you still need a strategic learning platform atop it to make your learning & engagement initiatives complete.

Don’t you want to present content to learners in a “Netflix-like” interface with AI-powered recommendations? Don’t you want to give your learners the flexibility of choice to learn the way they want to learn: articles, podcasts, micro-learning modules, flashcards, videos, and more? Don’t you want to personalize journeys or learning tracks for your individual learners so that your training content leads to a productive learning outcome? Don’t you want to assess the learning outcomes and identify individual skill gaps which can be easily corrected? Don’t you want to help them help themselves by engaging them into specially created social forums and internal chat rooms for constant learning and development?

If the answer to most of the questions above is an overwhelming ‘yes,’ you need a specialized employee learning platform that offers personalized learner experiences to your employees.

Upgrade your learning management system model several notches higher, in sync with the need of the hour, providing your employees a strategically thought-through dedicated learning solution to foster continuous learning for everyday growth. You need a specialized employee learning platform to translate learning into behavior.

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