The State of Learning: How to Future Proof Your Organization

Nikki Chawla
August 10, 2022

Two years into the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commercial Learning and Development (CL&D) landscape has radically changed. Industries and organizations have had to reckon with the rise of remote working and a tightening labor market that’s begun prioritizing fulfillment through their work. Without the physical, in-person interactions that once dominated and drove workplace culture, employees are now starting to demand more than just income from work. The shift to remote working has led to a workforce that now values the intangible drivers of workplace culture.

The most important of those values? The opportunity for growth and learning. 

In an age where the workforce is one of a company’s greatest assets, key leaders are beginning to invest in championing CL&D and training efforts through their organizations. Rising needs for reskilling and upskilling in the face of broadening skill gaps, and quicker employee turnover, have now demanded action from executives who agree that L&D has a new mandate to become its best self. These shifts have poised CL&D teams to become one of the most significant drivers of commercial success. 

This is especially true for the pharmaceutical industry. In 2020, facing an aging global population and a sudden demand for global vaccines, Big Pharma added almost $51 billion to its market value; that number is likely only to grow in the coming years. The world is looking at the Life Sciences and Healthcare industries and asking more from them. It’s never been more critical to ensure these organizations can not only meet that demand but are best equipping their employees to do so.

While advances in digital learning have offered novel methods to replace tired and traditional models of onboarding and training, the number one challenge for talent development and upskilling isn’t just a refresh of infrastructure to support now-remote workforces. What’s required is instead a model of learning that embeds itself seamlessly within workers’ day-to-day.

More clearly: Life Sciences organizations need to ensure their field forces and sales reps now not only learn once but continue to learn in the flow of work. 

According to a recent LinkedIn Learning report, “almost 49% of employees prefer to learn at the point of need,” and “68% prefer to learn at work.” Regular learning that allows workers to train while on the job not only offers methods and opportunities to apply knowledge (which are proven to be more effective for retention) but also ensures that avenues for consistent re-training have the opportunity to occur, so field forces remain up to date on advancing clinical and product information, and more.

Another report also found that among executives, “72% agree that L&D has become a more strategic function at their organization.” Executives are turning a critical eye to L&D as they look to ensure the company is equipped to support the needs and demands of the modern workforce. With remote and global employees now becoming the norm, executives can, and should, take advantage of software and platforms that help their workers learn while they work.

So how do you do it?

1. Consolidation
An omnichannel approach to learning software is key to ensuring learning occurs in the flow of work. Disjointed and fragmented user experiences not only add to the noise your workers will have to parse through but will burden their workload. Employees have limited time for training, less than an hour a week, so maximizing the return for that time is crucial and for effective learning, incorporating a system that integrates and works within their workplace is the first step.

2. Personalization
All your learners train differently; traditional onboarding and training efforts often don’t account for different learning starting points. When commercial success is dependent on the time your sales reps spend getting up to speed with clinical information, being able to ensure they train only on what they need is significant. Adaptive learning and the use of intelligence in learning are replacing the rote-learning method and encouraging users to seek out training to fill their knowledge gaps at their own pace.

3. Flexibility
With field forces often spread across regions, being able to afford flexibility in learning is no longer nice to have but needed. Flexible learning considers different learning styles but also brings the learning to learners at their point of need, in the form of need. This shift towards flexible learning is becoming a landmark of evolving organizations that not only encourage workers to keep learning but champion them to do so when, and how they need to do so. 

Learning in the flow of work means your workers can learn in the moment of their need, in the way they need. It means reducing runways for product launches, saving on onboarding and training costs, and—more than anything—helping workforces learn efficiently and continuously, making learning a way of working, not just a symptom of it.