There is always that moment of collective, awed silence when a CV is opened and the term “MBA” leaps into focus.
The hours spent, the lessons learned, the complexity of admittance, each of these factors, and many more, place those who have achieved this qualification high on the business acumen food chain. Yet, for many, this level of education is impossible to achieve.
Not because they are unable to learn or because they haven’t the skills, but because they lack the time and the finances to leap with both feet into the depths of MBA academia.
This limited access to opportunity and learning has limited employees in the past but today, however, learning has become an entirely different ball game.
In fact, it has become an entirely new ball park.
Platforms such as LinkedIn Learning have evolved to meet the changing needs of employees and organisations in unpredictable and demanding markets. The skills learned at university and school are no longer enough to maintain roles and grow careers.
These skills are constantly changing alongside technology, innovation and automation. Some jobs will soon cease to exist, new jobs are about to pop into existence.
Thanks to online learning, anyone can dip into a plethora of training and skills development resources that are not just tailored to budgets, but tailored to time.
“LinkedIn Learning opens up options for people to engage with real time learning and to establish, before they really become immersed in a topic, if it is of value to them and their roles,” says Adel Goussard, Organisational Effectiveness Specialist at the Tarsus Technology Group.
“It allows you to gain specific information, to locate courses that are relevant to the business, and to ensure you get what you need to grow your career,” adds Goussard.
Tarsus has invested into a two-year contract with LinkedIn Learning, providing employees with access to on-demand courses over this period of time. The goal is to provide people from all areas of the business and walks of life access to ongoing learning and the opportunity to potentially change or enhance their careers.
The learning is done in collaboration with management to ensure that not only people focus on personal development, but to provide them with clear insight into the courses and training that would benefit them professionally.
“It offers endless possibilities as there is so much opportunity wrapped up in this platform,” says Goussard. “The more people explore the tool, the more potential they unlock, the more they learn about themselves. Already we are finding that people are becoming increasingly familiar with the platform and learning generic skills across the board.
“Our measurement of this is to see year on year growth in people, not measuring how many courses they’ve done. We want to see all-round exponential growth.”
Here’s an introduction video that outlines everything LinkedIn Learning has to offer:
A blended approach
Tarsus has blended the hard measure that requires people work with their managers to invest into relevant courses with the soft measure of encouraging personal growth and development. Individuals are actively driven towards exploring new career paths, new opportunities and areas of business through the platform.
It is easy for people to feel overwhelmed at the sheer complexity of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and to become lost in the fear that technology and automation will make them irrelevant or their jobs redundant. However, if the 4IR is rephrased as “the future of work”, the conversation changes to become more inspirational and more focused on individual potential.”
“It’s easy to worry about what is going to happen to us because the work of the future is so different from today,” says Anton Herbst, Head of Strategy, Tarsus Technology Group. “But if we start asking questions about the skills we need and how to go and get them, it changes the dialogue. It ensures we focus on becoming relevant in the future rather than how we are redundant today.”
Remaining relevant tomorrow is key
It is time to start saying – how can I become relevant in the future? This is exactly what Tarsus has set out to achieve with the LinkedIn Learning platform. It has not just been placed in front of people and left there for them to examine nervously, it has been embraced by management and informed how people engage with learning and development within the company.
“The LinkedIn Learning platform’s success relies on leadership – we can’t force people to become relevant in the future but we can create the framework within which they can become relevant,” says Herbst. “It is our responsibility to give them the opportunity to invest into their skills. We also need to look at the people themselves and ask them to be curious and passionate. These two processes are critical for personal and professional success as we enter into a period of intense flux and change.”
The LinkedIn Learning investment is intended to inspire employees to invest into their passion and their curiosity by giving them a virtual assortment of learning opportunities. It is designed to give individuals the chance to learn continuously, but it is only going to work if people are prepared to put in the work.
“If we as leadership can offer up the framework and employees are willing to dedicate their time and passion, then together we will all ensure that we remain relevant,” says Herbst. “Humanity is capable of embracing this change, it has in the past, but we need to create spaces within which our people can thrive.”
A powerful role
For Gary Gradwell, E-Commerce and CRM Manager at Tarsus, LinkedIn Learning has played a powerful role in providing his team with skills development and growth.
“As a manager, when I engage with my staff, I find that they want to train and learn, but it has been difficult in the past as we had to get them onto traditional training to ensure their growth. However, the pathway was complex and had so many moving parts,” he says. “With the introduction of LinkedIn Learning, this discussion has softened quite a bit. The tool lets people learn at their own pace and in areas they choose – it is quite free and open.”
The initial approach for Gradwell and his team was to allow them to explore the potential of LinkedIn Learning and to see how they could use it to broaden their skills and career growth prospects. It allowed for them to take charge of their learning without having to wait on opportunity or business investment.
“At the start people were hesitant, so I created learning paths using a LinkedIn feature that allows you to select specific courses or routes towards a specific goal,” says Gradwell. “These learning paths can be themed and then allocated to individuals or groups, and the system then takes care of the learning engagement with these people. It sends them emails and reminders and deadlines.”
A gentle nudge
Gradwell used the tool to gently nudge people towards the platform so they could explore it and discover what they wanted to do with it. It took people to a point where they understood the system and what it could do for them and their professional profile.
“They realised they could build up their LinkedIn profile, share their learning with their peers and ultimately encourage each other to develop their skills,” adds Gradwell.
“Now, the team is at the point where they are exploring the different courses for themselves and trying new things. And as managers, we can see that a person is inclined towards a specific area and then build their career growth around it.
“The results aren’t there yet, but I am really optimistic about the potential of the platform and what it means for the team and the company as a whole,” Gradwell concludes.