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Accenture Outlook: The Learning Enterprise

Accenture Outlook: The Learning Enterprise

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Published by Accenture
Bringing new and relevant skills to the workforce has never been more important. To do so successfully, organizations must absorb the best practices of internal and external experts into their own knowledge base, connect people in ways that will encourage innovation and turn the entire enterprise into a learning team.
Bringing new and relevant skills to the workforce has never been more important. To do so successfully, organizations must absorb the best practices of internal and external experts into their own knowledge base, connect people in ways that will encourage innovation and turn the entire enterprise into a learning team.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Accenture on Jul 16, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The journal of high-performance businessThis article originally appearedin the 2012, No. 2, issue of 
Talent & Organization
The learning enterprise
 By Diego S. De León, Terry Nulty and Geirean Marcroft
Bringing new and relevant skills to the workforce has neverbeen more important. To do so successfully, organizationsmust absorb the best practices of internal and externalexperts into their own knowledge base, connect people inways that will encourage innovation and turn the entireenterprise into a learning team.
Outlook 2012
Number 2
Every year, companies spend billionso dollars on their enterprise learningprograms—more than $171 billion inthe United States alone, according to a2011 report rom the American Society or Training & Development. Are they getting their money’s worth?Not according to the recent AccentureSkills Gap Study, which surveyed morethan 1,000 employed and unemployedUS workers: Only 21 percent o respon-dents reported developing new skillsin the past ve years through ormaltraining programs oered by their companies.This ailure to deliver relevant skillsin a timely and consistent manner isbeing elt on both an individual andcorporate level. For workers, rustrationis setting in: Our research shows thatalthough 55 percent o employees say they eel pressure to acquire additionalskills, less than a quarter report they’regetting the support they need.For companies, skills shortages areincreasingly common. Despite growingunemployment in many countries,organizations rom almost every industry are struggling to nd peoplewith the capabilities they need todeal with changing technologies,markets and customers.I hiring needed skills is not necessarily the answer anymore, then companiesmust nd ways to retrain the peoplethey already have, which in many cases includes signicantly upgradingskill levels and training people to moveinto roles with dierent capabilities. Butthat doesn’t mean operating in isolationwhen it comes to capability development.Quite the opposite: It means transorming your entire organization into your enterprise learning team—connectingpeople in ways that result in innovativeideas—and turning the best practices o internal and external experts into your own knowledge base.In act, given the learning eld’spotential to deliver consistent, expert-driven, capability-based training tocritical workorces, combined withnew social media and collaborationtechnologies, the time has actually never been better or bringing relevantskills to the workorce while alsoencouraging the interactions thatgenerate innovation and increase your organizational brainpower.
The social dimension
Most employees recognize that mucho what they need to perorm better,improve their skills and gain moreknowledge is around them all the time:learning by observing colleagues,receiving coaching rom a supervisor,having access to proven ideas and bestpractices, as well as simply gettingon-the-job experience every day.Seventy-ve percent o workersresponding to Accenture’s survey buildnew skills through job shadowing,observing others and on-the-jobexperience.The challenge or companies is to trans-orm the inherently ad hoc nature o thisinormal learning into something withmore structure and rigor. That’s wheresocial networking and collaborationtechnologies are now beginning to createlearning opportunities.Social media is an inescapable presencetoday. It would be hard to nd a major business that’s not asking people toollow it on Facebook, or that isn’ttweeting regular news about its products.But it’s one thing to leverage theenormous popularity o social net-working to reach customers andmanage brand awareness. It’s quiteanother to integrate social media intoa core capability such as learning.Sound easy? It’s not. What training proessionals reer toas “social learning” will be a orce inevery organization, sooner or later. Inthe words o Claudia Rodriguez, vicepresident and head o Motorola SolutionsLearning, organizations are at “a major infection point” when it comes to theuse o social media and collaboration
Outlook 2012
Number 2
tools in business—not just in learningbut in everything a business does.“Gradually, social networking is be-coming so ingrained in how we livethat it will also become ingrained inthe way we work,” says Rodriguez.“The question is, how do we do it ina way that advances the business andalso contains the risks? We are answer-ing that question by providing morerobust tools that make collaborationeven more accessible and ecient to thebroader internal and external ecosystem,while also educating users on howto be eective and more accountablesocial learners.”Social learning is not without risks—some perceived but some very real:leaked inormation, learning programsthat might be inconsistent andcontradictory, productivity lossesand a candor in exchanges that may not always be productive.Consider the company that establishedan internal orum akin to a Facebook page. Direct reports to a senior executivewere asked to post their vision statementsor their organization onto his page.One manager did so, but the executivedidn’t like it. His response—visible toeveryone in the entire company—wasthat the manager’s posting wasn’t atrue vision statement and would needto be totally reworked beore it wouldbe acceptable. Not something that’s likely to stimulate learning and the opensharing o ideas again anytime soon.Properly designed and managed,however, social media tools have greatpotential to harness the experientialdimension o the workplace to deliver relevant learning experiences thatrefect both proven expertise within aunction or industry and timely accessto an organization’s best thinking,wherever it might be.
Global learning
 A social learning solution developedby Microsot—called Academy Mobile—is an internal platorm employees canuse to share knowledge by creating andposting audio and video podcasts. Theplatorm has been enormously popular,with download trac up 115 times inits rst two years.Its value resides largely in how easily employees across Microsot’s globalorganization can translate interactions,meetings or timely personal insightsinto content that can support better learning, perormance and idea genera-tion. For example, using the platorm, virtual meetings can be captured,catalogued, indexed and convertedto video or audio. Content is search-able, and learning programs are alsoorganized and catalogued by topic,creating a kind o virtual curriculum.The academy is available on workers’mobile devices as well.The Academy Mobile platorm isespecially valuable to employees suchas salespeople: It enables them to learnrapidly about particular products,solutions and sales techniques sothey can capitalize on an immediatecustomer opportunity.How does a Microsot employee knowwhat content is more valuable than other content? In part, through a rankingsystem rom the users themselves. Theranking (rom one to ve stars) becomesa means by which the best ideas rise tothe top because o their practical value.Employees can also interact and ask questions o content creators, generatinga dialogue that may become as importantas the original posting—and oers anoth-er indicator o what content is “hot.”The ability to rate content sourcedonline will become increasingly impor-tant to eective enterprise learning. Inits totality, the Internet is the world’sgreatest source o learning but, to usethe cliché, that’s a bit like saying thata re hose is the greatest source o drinking water. A company’s knowledge system mightwell provide a search capability andgenerate abundant content in responseto a query, but then what? Content
Social media toolshave great potentialto harness theexperiential dimensionof the workplace.

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