A growing trend in today’s learning industry is the concept of “social learning,” or the idea that effective learning can take place in a more communal, collaborative environment. What better way to achieve that other than using internal social networking programs?
Couple the idea of social learning with CLOs’ appreciation of new technology and trends, and it is easy to see why the growth of social media will directly impact employee education, effective communication skills and the learning industry as a whole.
Networking can complete the picture
In an article for Chief Learning Officer magazine, Susan Distasio and Donna Lord posited that enterprise social networking (ESN) holds great opportunities for employee learning, because these websites serve as a complete learning portal.
For example, since much of the on-the-job learning process takes place in an informal setting, the relaxed nature of social media is a complementary addition. It’s also valuable for training that occurs in a group setting, because employees can share ideas, ask questions, and offer feedback via ESN at a later time.
Best of all, CLOs and their organizations can tune into these online conversations and gain knowledge of the educational experience. Leveraging this data will help develop more efficient, effective training methods in the future.
Networking can lead to ROI
Employees who are active and engaged on social media can be beneficial for any company. Once staff members are networking as a way to complement on-the-job learning, they often continue those interactions long after the training is over. The end result is typically a strong return-on-investment for an organization’s emphasis on social media technology.
According to Wired, encouraging social media conversations among your employees can improve optimism, reduce turnover and even lead to increased brand advocacy. Not only could your team be better trained, but they may also share positive experiences with colleagues.
Networking requires a different approach
While there are plenty of benefits to social networking—especially from a learning perspective—CLOs must be aware of the potential pitfalls as well.
In a separate article for CLO magazine, Distasio and Lord explained that the rise of networking means dealing with the risks. Organizations must take a new approach to ensure employees are safe online while receiving the benefits of this strategy. That can be achieved via employer-to-worker communication, technology training, and planning.
For starters, employers need to discuss the implementation of ESN closely with their staff members. This will help facilitate the rollout of new programs and prevent problems from forming. Social networking will also be approached differently depending on the department. How sales uses these resources will be unique compared to marketing, for example. Outline each strategy and communicate that with each team.
Above all else, remember the value of enterprise social networks—you can provide employees a hands-on learning solution all while addressing your corporate confidentiality and privacy needs.
© 2014 Merit Career Development. All rights reserved. For more information, please contact Jim Wynne at jwynne@MeritCD.com.