Elana Varon of the SAP Center for Business Insight recently interviewed me with the topic and questions focusing on different approaches to corporate learning.
The full report, entitled Why Companies Should Invest in Revamping Corporate Learning — with additional insights from Marcus Schwarz and Karie Willyerd of SAP — is available at this link. I encourage you to download it. (it’s free) My specific responses are below.
Elana: Do employers have an obligation to train and develop their employees?
Pontefract: We consider it a responsibility of TELUS team members to participate in learning. There are a lot of tools we make available. But we’re really trying to take care of our people. It’s not the case that they have to go figure everything out for themselves. The model is for leaders to assist.
Elana: Companies still seem to be very invested in classroom-style learning (both online and offline) rather than in facilitating collaboration. How do they need to change?
Pontefract: Companies need to blend that learning model into the corporate culture. Often, marketing or IT is in charge of deciding what collaboration tools employees will use and showing people how to use them. Meanwhile, the learning function within HR is playing catch-up. But the learning function should be leading, or at least working in parallel with other functions.
Elana: What do you think about expanding the role of corporate learning to include the whole ecosystem of business partners, freelancers, and contractors?
Pontefract: You have to make a judgment call as to what type of relationship you have with a particular contractor when you decide who should have access to your training programs and whatever informal or social learning opportunities people have internally. But in general, hiring fewer full-time employees and relying more on contractors or freelancers – which many companies are doing today – means that fewer people inside your company are learning the skills they need to accomplish the work.