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Talent management drives learning evolution


Armin Hopp looks at the key drivers of learning technology in an increasingly competitive global market.
The pressure is on organisations to keep up with the rapid changes in technology, social media and blended learning solutions. Organisations are realising that finding and nurturing talent is the key to being competitive on a global scale. More than ever before, companies are adopting a blend of language learning solutions across their international subsidiaries as part of an active hunt for talent discovery and development.
Consolidation in the talent management (TM) market is increasingly becoming the main driver for providing online communication skills training within large global organizations. In the past year, the TM market has rapidly become commoditised and big vendors have moved towards the cloud.
This recent development was sparked by the announcement made by SAP in December last year to take over SuccessFactors for approximately $3.4bn. Salesforce followed, buying social performance management software company Rypple. Early this year Oracle announced its takeover of recruitment software provider Taleo, giving it a powerhouse set of products for HR and TM. And we expect more consolidation in the market over the next months.
"The "perfect blend" of combining virtual classrooms, mobile learning and e-learning is revolutionising the way in which organisations approach training and development."
With the availability of high capacity, global enterprise resource planning (ERP) and talent management platforms, talent management is fast becoming an integral part of the IT and HR strategy of worldwide organisations and, for the first time ever, we are seeing a move towards the complete integration of the TM market with ERP.
As the entire tech-based learning industry turns towards the cloud, it becomes much easier to disseminate technology-based learning to global organisations that increasingly use talent management systems as integrated part of their ERP systems.

A new era in blended learning

We are still in the early stages of the evolution of talent management. So far, the focus has been on automation and streamlining of business processes, however it is important not to lose sight of businesses as made up of people and developing customised needs for staff soft skills needs to be the ultimate focus of talent management investment. For this, blended learning content is the lifeblood that can help organisations transform their staff member’s soft skills and improve skill mobility in the long-term. 

The "perfect blend" of combining virtual classrooms, mobile learning and e-learning is revolutionising the way in which organisations approach training and development. In a recent European survey entitled Languages and business audit*, 71 per cent of organisations said they forecast delivering more blended learning content within the next two years. Meanwhile the study predicts classroom training will dramatically fall to only 17 per cent.

Moreover, the expectations on organisations have changed. The employees of today expect a form of blended learning solution to be in place as part of the organisation’s technological infrastructure. As a result, organisations are under pressure to respond, by ensuring HR, L&D and IT teams work closely together to implement a blended learning strategy that is both reliable and can be delivered efficiently to employees who are likely to be dispersed in more than one location.
With accessible resources and robust IT infrastructures, it is no wonder we are seeing the adoption of blended learning on a global scale. In the past, organisations took a more local approach, using cost-cutting measures to implement learning methods in perhaps one or two of their subsidiaries. Now, as cloud-based technology has helped create a tighter global TM network, organisations are adopting one streamlined process that encapsulates the needs of all their international counterparts.

Talent mobility and new technology

A more strategic approach to learning has meant organisations are enjoying greater results. With a wide-scale, streamlined adoption of blended learning solutions, organisations are realising that measurability of learning can be both efficient and accurate. Significantly, this means organisations can spot talent better within the organisation as a whole.
For instance, a talented staff member in Manila with a good grasp of English may be spotted to fill a vacancy arising in the organisation’s subsidiary in the UK. The benefit of skill mobility is fast becoming a big driver in the uptake of blended language learning.
In the past few years alone, our organisation has seen a rapid adoption of its own online corporate language training solutions across Europe, the Americas, China and South-East Asia. With this comes promise of further evolution of the perfect blend. For instance in China, we are seeing an increased popularity with social media moving into collaboration with learning methods, which allows a fascinating portal into the foreign language environment.
There is evidence that points to a future trend in social media and mobile learning technology. Speexx’s recent survey, which questioned 103 senior L&D managers, HR managers and business education staff across the globe, revealed one out of five organisations expects that "social and informal learning" will play a greater role in staff development.
The 2011 Towards Maturity Benchmark Survey entitled Boosting Business Agility also indicates organisations certainly want technology to encourage interaction and many have already been experimenting with different forms of social media for some time now, with some tools starting to become established.
Unless we adopt real technical standards for social and mobile learning that involves a consistent communication process, the potential of harnessing its benefits will be greatly underutilised. At the moment we still have a long way to go for the full integration of social media in the learning blend.
Ultimately, success can be easily visible once organisations realise the breadth and scope of talent developed and the lower rates of staff turnover. Leadership development, career development, talent management and staff satisfaction all stem from having both the requisite technical skills and soft skills such as communication and multi-linguism. Success lies in an organisation’s ability to make the most of the most sophisticated learning tools procured as part of a robust TM strategy embracing business communication skills, in order to provide staff with the requisite resources to achieve those goals.
*The survey was conducted by Speexx at the international conference Languages and Business which was held in Berlin 28 - 30 October 2011.

dp (digital publishing), the provider of award-winning online corporate language training Speexx, offers practical business courses in five languages: English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. The company was founded by Armin Hopp, Alfred Ertl and Jörg Koberling, and is headquartered in Munich, London, Paris, Milan, Madrid, São Paulo and Shanghai. For more information, please visit


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