As technology continues to evolve with each passing day, corporate expectations and requirements too continue to grow in leaps and bounds. In the labyrinth of growing demands, enterprise companies are striving hard to provide a flawless digital experience to their employees in their interactions. That is, of course, easier said than done considering there may be so much of history to these companies because of their size and the fact that they may have been in business for a long time.
So, the challenges, especially on the Learning and Development (L&D) front, that these companies face are myriad. Many of them have had L&D departments functional since long, and as drivers of success differ significantly from time to time, this function has particularly had to face several problems over time.
From legacy business models to resistance to getting management nod for new initiatives, here are some of the biggest challenges that Enterprise Companies face from time to time:
1. Weaning off from Legacy Business Models and Tools
Most Enterprise Companies have been in business for long with appropriate L&D departments, decent budgets and apposite learning systems all in place. However, technological innovation is changing the ways that we produce, deliver and consume learning content every single day! This means that the methods/ approaches, models/ tools which were previously the default ways of working and managing learning/ training are bound to lose their dominance.
For example, there is a sea change in the Learning Management Systems of the past (either home-grown by the company or purchased) and the new-age ones available in the market today. Similarly, the emergence of 70:20:10 and similar learning & development models has resulted in changes in Instructional Designing, Graphic Designing, and delivery approaches.
This is precisely where the challenge lies. It is not easy to migrate from old models because the big concern Enterprise Companies face is ‘should we stick with our existing systems/models/processes which have done critical jobs in the past?’ or ‘should we spend money on newer systems that demand changes at multiple levels?’ Companies that do so flexibly often realize that the adoption of a newer L&D strategy offers more advantages than the legacy approach, but it takes experimentation, some risk and at times even failure along the way.
2. Porting from On-premise to Cloud
There was a time when most software systems were on premise and Cloud, as a concept or a practical solution, did not exist. That situation is now history. Today, to be competitive, switching to Cloud is almost imperative. Although the advantages of a Cloud-based LMS over an in-house hosted one are legion, opting for the change is not an easy decision for Enterprise Companies. Sometimes, even though the pros are very apparent, there are several other considerations that could make the decision difficult. It could be the nature of the industry or even the nature of the training content, amongst other things, that could deter an Enterprise Company from changing its existing LMS model. But at the end of the day, a carefully considered decision to make the move gives several advantages of porting from On-premise to Cloud.
3. Handling Organizational Resistance to Change
Maintaining status quo is often the easier option. Change brings with it new challenges to tackle and new things to learn. In the case of Enterprise Companies, new initiatives mean changing (unlearning and learning) a lot of things that have been the norm for some time. Naturally then, facing resistance from several quarters in the organization is a given. Implementing new learning systems are bound to earn the wrath of some people in the organization because the old models have been around for some time. This is one of the biggest challenges that L&D face in Enterprise companies. Several doubts may be raised about the worth of the new project, especially in terms of justification of ROI, legal reviews, revenue concerns and much more.
4. Leveraging Legacy eLearning
The corporate training landscape experiences evolution of technologies all the time. This means that there are several learning courses that are stuck in the past and have no takers. However, many Enterprise Companies have learning courses that have some great content. Trashing all of them just makes no sense when they can be salvaged, revamped and presented in a modern avatar. This is where companies need to make a little more effort to understand how legacy eLearning can be utilized to create new content. The biggest obstacle is to consider catering to the burgeoning mobile workforce and making legacy courses responsive. Ensuring that content that has been built over the years to play on desktops (through earlier versions of authoring tools) is usable on mobile devices can be tricky. There are several other considerations too: how to deliver the erstwhile lengthy courses as Microlearning modules in tandem with changing times, how to switch from one authoring tool to another, how to make courses instructionally rich, how to upgrade content and so on.
5. Getting Management Buy-in
While there can be several ideas on all of the above points, none of them can really work well if there is not enough support from the most important echelons of the organization. This is simply because learning cannot work in isolation. L&D professionals face one of the biggest obstacles when they work on acquiring the buy-in and support of the management and the several stakeholder groups concerned. Without their backing, it is difficult for the new project to sustain. However, most often L&D professionals in Enterprise Companies have a tough time getting endorsement from these time-starved partners.
Although not easy, the shift for Enterprise Companies from their existing learning models to newer ones, is one of the best developments for their future. It is up to L&D professionals to present their case to the management and secure their support for the transition. Has your company faced challenges on these fronts? I would love to hear from you.