8 Issues Affecting Corporate Learning Today

From guest blogger Gary Bragar, HR Outsourcing Research Director at NelsonHall

Our recent research indicates that 2013 marked a turning point in Learning Business Process Outsourcing (LBPO), as organizations shifted back to reinvesting in their employees. Here’s what we found to be the top LBPO trends and business drivers today:

  1. Talent Management is Now on the Front Burner
    While candidates are plentiful, employers are having a difficult time finding workers with the right skills. As a result, organizational awareness is shifting toward a focus on acquiring, developing and retaining the best talent. Companies are devoting more energy to developing employee skills and leadership capabilities internally.
  2. Learning is a Global Issue
    This talent shortage is not limited to the U.S. – it’s a global phenomenon. As a result there is an increase in contracts for learning outside the U.S.
  3. Aging Workforce is Accelerating Talent Shortage
    Members of the Baby Boom generation are quickly moving into retirement age. This is particularly the case in the U.S., where already 10,000 workers retire every day.  The situation is also acute in Japan. The numbers are expected to accelerate as the economy continues to improve, making transfer of knowledge within organizations an even more urgent priority.
  4. Companies Must Engage a New Type of Learner
    The transition from older workers to younger Generation Y and Millennials brings with it a cultural change. Younger workers want to learn when they have a need to, and expect to do it with instant access to information. Collaborative learning and the use of video and gaming technology are emerging as popular training modes.
  5. Social Learning Picks Up Steam
    Clients are beginning to invest in social learning approaches such as collaborative networks and social forums, looking for greater employee engagement, speed to competence and lower cost.
  6. Next Generation Learning Solutions a Priority
    Creative approaches are being developed to cope with specific learning situations:
    a. Formal training – Classroom and course-based approaches are now including virtual instructor-led training and self-paced e-learning.
    b. Technology-enabled – Access to job-specific content on employee demand. Social learning allows employees to reach out to subject matter experts as needed.
    c. Embedded – In the spirit of just-in-time manufacturing, companies are implementing on-the-job training at the required time.
    d. Blended – A more geographically dispersed workforce, combined with more at-home workers and the need to reduce costs has created the need for increased use of blended learning
  7. HR Outsources More Administrative Functions
    Due to staffing cutbacks, HR managers are taking on a more strategic role – for example, more focused on talent management – and are increasingly seeking the help of LBPO providers to reduce their administrative burden in addition to their expertise.
  8. More Pressure to Demonstrate ROI
    Businesses are looking across the board to increase ROI through improved productivity and speed to market, and learning operations are feeling this same pressure. There is a growing focus on connecting learning spend to business results which include increased revenues and client satisfaction.

Gary Bragar is the HR Outsourcing Research Director at NelsonHall where he has global responsibility for HRO. Gary joined NelsonHall in April 2007 after gaining extensive HR management experience at AT&T.  In this key role, Gary assists both buy-side and vendor organizations in assessing the opportunities and supplier capability across HRO, including for learning, recruitment, payroll, benefits, and multi-process HRO. Gary recently completed an industry-leading analysis of opportunities and vendor capability in Learning BPO.

In his last job assignment at AT&T, Gary was a member of the AT&T governance team responsible for managing the service delivery of AT&T’s major Human Resources and Payroll services BPO contract with Aon Human Capital Services. Gary helped forge the strong partnership and as such AT&T and Aon were selected as “HRO Relationship of the Year.”  Gary’s prior operational experience at AT&T included: Learning, Recruiting, Benefits Administration, Compensation, HR Transformation, HRIT and Employee Programs for AT&T International. In Learning Gary performed content development and delivery of AT&T Bell Laboratories quality curriculum. Gary is also an adjunct Professor having taught part-time in the Business Department at Bloomfield College, NJ for 17 years. Gary is certified as an online instructor and delivered courses using classroom, online and blended delivery.

Gary has published numerous articles, conducted numerous webcasts and presented at many conferences in the U.S. and Europe including co-presenting with Raytheon in Amsterdam on the benefits of Learning BPO and in California at the 2014 CLO Symposium on To Outsource or Not to Outsource Learning, a discussion from a left and right brain perspective.