Empowered Autonomy is Key to Successful Organisational Learning Says New SkillSoft Study

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A new benchmark study into current and future trends in organisational learning has revealed that self-directed learning is the route preferred by the majority of employees and that the role of managers in facilitating this is critical to success.

The study, by online learning provider, SkillSoft, was compiled following two major pieces of research which took place towards the end of 2006 - involving an online survey of 5,360 employees plus in-depth interviews with senior HR thought-leaders from 16 global organisations (see notes to editors for detailed methodology).

One of the aims of the study was to establish whether there were any synergies between how employees preferred to learn with the training made available to them by their organisation.

The top five learner preferences were:

1. Being able to get at information as and when I need it.
2. Being in charge of my own learning pace.
3. Attending classroom courses.
4. Learning in bite-sized pieces.
5. Learning at my desktop.

In all the organisations that participated in this survey, there are a variety of programmes and plans in place to ensure that these employee requirements are being met. These include: providing online training that can be done in bite-size pieces; enabling access of learning resources at home; increasing the availability of online books and referenceware; providing more support for just-in-time training; offering blended solutions that allow employees to pick and mix; and giving access to specific facilities in the workplace that can be used before or after working hours.

However, all of these opportunities are rendered ineffective if learners are not given the opportunity to take advantage of them. As a result, the role of the manager is seen as key by both the HR executives and the employees interviewed - for a number of reasons. In some organisations, managers are responsible for defining the training requirements of their teams; in others they are encouraged to promote a learning culture; and in many cases, they are responsible for measuring the effectiveness of any training taking place.

Charles Jennings, Global Head of Learning at Reuters believes that managerial support is critical to effective organisational learning. He says:

"I fundamentally believe that you cannot build a high performing company without managers understanding their responsibility in helping employees learn and build their capabilities. And they not only need to understand it, but they need to have the tools and the skills to be able to do it."

Kevin Young, Managing Director of SkillSoft, EMEA adds:

"The importance of the line manager is never more important than when they have control over deciding who can participate in the training available.

"Giving managers this responsibility is something that most of the HR professionals we interviewed had very definite views on. There was a consensus of opinion that involving managers in training decisions is beneficial for all concerned.

"However, arguably the most gratifying finding from the research, cited by both employees and employers alike, is the acknowledgement that training is critical to the corporate capability of an organisation. There is widespread belief that having a corporate learning culture is one of the best ways an organisation can grow and thrive."

The benchmark study, entitled 'The Future of Learning' is available free of charge in hard copy format from Nina Michell at nina_michell(at)skillsoft.com or for download at http://www.skillsoft.com/emea

Notes to editors
For additional information; a pdf of the full report; and/or to request case studies, quotes and comment from research participants and from SkillSoft, please contact Louise Jaggs on +44 (0)1242 257770 or email louise@textontap.com

Methodology: two separate but complementary surveys were carried out simultaneously towards the end of 2006.

The first was a qualitative study, consisting of in-depth, face-to-face interviews with senior HR executives from large organisations such as Atos Origin, BDO Stoy Hayward, DHL, GSK, HBOS, ING Direct LloydsTSB, Nestle, PAREXEL, Pilkington Group, Reuters, Royal Bank of Scotland, SITA, TDK, T-Mobile and Virgin Atlantic.

The second was a quantitative study, consisting of an independent web-based survey, completed by 5,360 employees at various levels of experience and working within a wide range of industry sectors.

Throughout the 20-page report the views of leading HR directors are contrasted with those of 5,360 employees, with an emphasis on the following areas:

  • Employee engagement - what is the existing custom and practice currently prevalent in the learning arena?
  • Quality, value and impact - how effective are existing learning methods, both from an organisational point of view and from an employee perspective?
  • The critical role of managers - what part do managers play in ensuring employee involvement in learning; and what are the best practices in this area?
  • Employee productivity - how is learning impacting on productivity. What gaps are employees reporting in terms of their professional development?
  • Focus on the learner - which types of learning are preferred by the learners themselves and how easy is it for people to access the learning they need.
  • The future vision - what will organisational learning look like in the future? Is there a synergy between the view of HR leaders and that of employees?

About SkillSoft (http://www.skillsoft.com)
SkillSoft PLC (Nasdaq: SKIL) is a leading provider of e-learning and performance support solutions for global enterprises, government, education and small to medium-sized businesses. SkillSoft enables companies to maximise business performance through a combination of comprehensive e-learning content, online information resources, flexible learning technologies and support services.
Content offerings include business, IT, desktop and compliance courseware collections, as well as complementary content assets such as SkillSim™ simulations, KnowledgeCenter™ portals and online mentoring services. The Books24x7® division offers online access to more than 10,000 unabridged IT and business books in its Referenceware® collections, as well as book summaries, executive reports and best practices. Technology offerings include the SkillPort® learning management system, Search-and-Learn®, SkillSoft® Dialogue™ virtual classroom, SkillView® competency management software and the Enterprise Learning Connection Suite™, a set of platform-neutral modules that can be used to create learning programs tailored to business needs. SkillSoft courseware content described herein is for information purposes only and is subject to change without notice. SkillSoft has no obligation or commitment to develop or deliver any future release, upgrade, feature, enhancement or function described in this press release except as specifically set forth in a written agreement.

SkillSoft, the SkillSoft logo, Ahead of the Learning Curve, SkillPort, Search-and-Learn, SkillChoice, Books24x7, Referenceware, ITPro, BusinessPro, OfficeEssentials, GovEssentials, EngineeringPro, FinancePro, AnalystPerspectives ExecSummaries, ExecBlueprints, Express Guide and Dialogue are trademarks or registered trademarks of SkillSoft PLC in the United States and certain other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Louise Jaggs, TextOnTap
t: +44(0)1242 257770 m: +44(0)7712 011246
f: +44(0)1242 257771 w: http://www.textontap.com
Skype: louise-tot SkypeIn: +44(0)20 7193 0681

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Nina Michell
SkillSoft
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