Andy Grove, founder and former CEO of Intel, once said, “Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure.”
For companies that want to stay competitive – to remain at the forefront of their industries – it’s imperative that their employees continually strive for greatness.
To prevent your staff from growing complacent and encourage your employees to develop new skills and hone their existing ones, your organization must promote a culture of continuous learning.
Today, many companies’ HR departments are achieving this by implementing digital learning programs that blend formal learning techniques with peer-to-peer learning.
A 5-step guide to maximizing the results of your learning programs
Learning programs have the power to drive an assortment of tangible business outcomes that can benefit the entire company.
A business that embraces a learning culture, according to Bersin & Associates, is 58% better prepared to meet future customer demand, 34% more likely to be first to market with products, and 35% more likely to experience greater employee productivity.
To experience these differentiating outcomes, your company must:
- Engage learners. Implementing a learning program is merely the first step to engaging your staff and encouraging professional development. By outfitting your learning programs with virtual training rooms and learning communities, you can better promote the various learning opportunities available throughout your company and connect employees around the world with expert colleagues.
- Increase learning effectiveness. People tend to learn and retain information more effectively when they’re taught by and with their peers. Through the creation of a learning community, you can help your employees absorb material more rapidly and permanently by ensuring they have access to information, colleagues, and experts before, during, and after formal instruction.
- Expand access to learning. In addition to traditional social learning communities, your business needs to support the use of “communities of practice.” These communities enable staff to access additional information on a given topic, network with peers, and share bonus course content and knowledge.
- Extend training beyond the enterprise. Learning programs and communities don’t have to be exclusive to your internal employees. You can open them up to include customers, partners, and recruits, allowing you to build better business relationships, enable your ecosystem, share private information, and engage prospective staff.
- Improve learning processes and reduce costs. Creating learning content takes time and money. By having your content creators collaborate with members of a learning community, they can quickly source ideas and gain valuable feedback to ensure the content developed is relevant. It also ensures that the content is created in a cost-efficient manner.
The impact of collaborative learning programs on sales teams
Instituting a comprehensive digital learning program can have a major impact throughout your enterprise, from the marketing department to the sales organization. The sales line of business, in particular, can significantly benefit from the use of formal learning and social collaboration applications.
When applied to drive enablement, these applications empower empower sales professionals to access the right information or the right expert at precisely the right time. They even enable employees to share useful content or connect prospective customers with helpful subject matter experts quickly and easily.
With relevant materials at their disposal, as well as the means to more easily communicate with their customers and colleagues, sales professionals are better equipped to develop effective account strategies, sell as a team, and build ongoing customer relationships.
Learning programs and social collaboration applications can also help organizations accelerate salesperson onboarding. Training new staff can typically be a lengthy process. With a comprehensive onboarding program you can fully immerse new employees in the content they need to succeed in their new roles and facilitate better peer engagement.
Although the potential benefits of learning programs and social collaboration applications seem abundantly clear, there’s actual research to back it up.
In the July 2016 commissioned study, The Total Economic Impact of SAP Jam, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of SAP, Forrester Consulting found that collaborative learning programs can help companies to:
- Reduce time to close, resulting in 9.63 million new deals over three years
- Decrease sales enablement time, shortening the onboarding process of new sales hires by 13%
- Improve the customer experience by solving issues 10% faster, leading to more favorable brand sentiment and future sales
- Increase speed of information, enabling the workforce, including sales, to be 14% more productive
Watch your performance skyrocket with collaborative learning programs
Promoting a culture of sharing and learning is a surefire way to achieve enterprise-wide business success. When your employees are informed, educated, engaged, and connected, they’re prepared for anything – and your company is in a prime position to outperform the competition.
Are you going SuccessConnect 2016 in Las Vegas? Join the “The Business Value of Collaboration: Study of SAP Jam Conducted by Forrester Research” session on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 from 3:00 – 4:00 PM in Marcello 4405, where Liz Witherspoon, from Forrester Consulting, and I will be discussing how creating a culture of learning can help you drive tangible business results.