Personalizing employees' learning is the key to recruiting and keeping talent

Photo: Štefan štefanck / Unsplash (CC)
Roser Reyner
Learning analytics helps detect the most appropriate resources and methodology for each employee, as the general manager of UOC Corporate explains

Some people are predominantly visual, and mental images are a natural way of understanding the world. Others are more auditory: listening is their main channel for interacting and learning. Or more kinaesthetic: they assimilate by doing. These and other personal characteristics of employees are elements that companies must take into account when designing innovative learning solutions for their people, according to Jordi Gutirrez, general manager of UOC Corporate, the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya company dedicated to training professionals for the corporate field.

In this context, technology can play a fundamental role. In fact, e-learning is a format that is growing ever more important: it is estimated that in 2025 it will generate over 300 billion dollars throughout the world. But this kind of training does not always have the quality desired. How do we ensure that it helps not only to retain employees but that it also motivates talented candidates to work in a specific company?

One of the keys, notes Gutirrez, involves personalization: "One size does not fit all; rather companies must make the effort to design innovative solutions so that professionals can find the resources they really need, at the right time and in the format that best adapts to their way of learning". Today, learning analytics enables us to assess how professionals learn, and therefore to "personalize both the content and method that best suits them", he points out. In the case of UOC Corporate, "we were born digital and this task forms an integral part of our methodology: we have systems to process how you interact online, how you learn, and to design solutions more tailored to what you need", he explains. These systems are combined with the information already available for each person and with the follow-up by consultants and experts.

Thus, Gutirrez says, employees will have a positive experience that will motivate them to continue learning and to adapt to ongoing change. "And if in a job interview candidates understand that the company firmly believes in quality and individualized learning that enables them to grow personally and professionally, they will have more reasons to want to work there", he adds.

Effective content and social learning

Moreover, there are two other essential aspects for the success of a learning initiative, according to Gutirrez. One of these aspects is innovative and short-term content: "You must surprise employees with new approaches, linking brief, useful and relevant resources with an attractive format and, above all, directly applicable to their daily routine", he emphasizes. To this end, web series, podcasts, infographics, simulators, interactive videos and games are very useful, explains the General Manager of UOC Corporate. Moreover, there is a tendency to fragment content into small capsules (known as microlearning), which enables blocks of content to be consumed in short periods of time from the computer, mobile or tablet.

The other key aspect is "to foster more informal and collaborative learning, in open environments where you can share with colleagues and experts", explains Gutirrez. Online forums and chats as well as on-site sessions are useful for this purpose. "For instance, if we talk about leadership, apart from acquiring knowledge, as a group we will assess current leaders, debate how the best of them work and, with the help of a practical case rooted in our reality, we will work on how to apply it to our company in specific situations", he continues.

In short, "the value lies in carefully defining the challenges that employees must overcome, bringing together the most suitable resources and experts, and designing a methodology that gives them a positive learning experience", concludes the UOC expert.

Three years of life and more than 80 companies

UOC Corporate was born in autumn 2014 to foster Universitat Oberta de Catalunya training in the business field, with the mission to support companies in the growth of their professionals to enable them to meet the business challenges facing them. Since then it has provided its services to 3,500 employees in over 80 companies. "We offer attractive and effective training geared to the needs of each organization", stresses Gutirrez.