Nov 11, 2022

Empowering Workforce through Continuous Learning Enhances Employee Experience (EX) Significantly

Organizations can Enhance Employee Experience (EX) Significantly by Empowering Workforce through Continuous Learning

From employees’ perspectives, when considering the overall benefits provided by either their current or future employers, continuing education and professional development is invariably one of the leading factors that is top of mind for most of them. According to global Glint data as well, opportunities to learn and grow are now the topmost factor that people say defines an exceptional work environment.

Competitive pay, health insurance, flexible work hours, remote and work-from-home options, and even over-the-top perks, such as free food and sponsored vacations, may certainly be few features that some employees find quite appealing and thereby influence their Employee Experience (EX) positively. However, what employees also realize is that it is not just about such additional perks, but more importantly about the emphasis of employers to constantly upskill or reskill (which in turn will enhance their employability either internally within or elsewhere in the future), which is of immense value to them.

How do continuing education and professional development opportunities contribute to EX?

When employers (in collaboration with education institutes) implement structured and integrated models to facilitate continuous learning to their employees, such concerted endeavours contribute immensely to continuing education of their employees, as they continue to perform work in their current roles or jobs. More often than not, such opportunities facilitated by the employers help the employees to perform even better at work, secure their current jobs, and more importantly, adapt to any global and local disruptions caused by ever-evolving technologies, geo-political events, business environment, or even natural and manmade catastrophes. They also aid in enhancing employees’ knowledge, skills, and experience, addressing their passion to keep learning on the job and their future growth aspirations — thereby contributing to both EX and Employee Value Proposition (EVP), and benefitting both the employees and the employers. Unsurprisingly, even back in 2017, in the LinkedIn study among employed LinkedIn members (conducted via online survey), 94% of employees had said they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development.

Role of experiential learning in facilitating continuing education

One of the key outcomes of continuing education, particularly in professional space, is problem-solving. Theories dealing with learning and instructional design prescribe specific approaches to building problem-solving skills. The most popular one among them is experiential learning, which is the learning one obtains while reflecting upon his/her experiences. Hence, a learning space should offer opportunities to both experience and reflect. A work-integrated learning is one such space, which by definition, uses relevant work-based experiences for reflection as an intentional component of the curriculum.

Experiences can be created within a continuum of safe-controlled conditions to extremely unpredictable circumstances; to provide some perspectives, an experimental setup in a typical educational institute is an example of the former and a flight simulator in a pilot training institute, of the latter. In this continuum of well and ill-defined contexts, all our professional experiences fall somewhere in between. Organizations and education institutes involved in professional education should create appropriate instructional models, learning-environment, and content, which are consistent with the nature of knowledge, its transfer, learner-motivation, and engagement.

Some of the leading institutes have built such systems to impart a variety of knowledge, skills, and competencies. While such systems do their intended job, they may be limited by their scalability and affordability. It is not adequate to create some competent professionals, but rather a large talent pool that can help address or transform the entire sector.

Accordingly, we at the Work Integrated Learning Programmes (WILP) division of Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani, in collaboration with several leading industry partners have designed and institutionalized an experiential learning ecosystem as a part of the curriculum that offers a learning experience that is integrated with the workplace. The technology adopted in it has made it scalable, flexible, and yet affordable, without compromising the quality of learning — invariably leading to significant value for both the learners and their employers. Since we adopted the experiential learning in its current form, over the last few years, we have helped train over 7,000 working professionals in a variety of domains, year after year, which resulted in many of them solving or addressing some of their organizations’ most pressing business challenges.

From employees’ perspective, when experiential learning becomes an integral part of the overall learning methodology, it positively enhances their learning experiences even further. When employers help facilitate effective continuing education and professional development opportunities (which incorporate high degree of experiential learning) to their employees in a constant endeavour to upskill and reskill them comprehensively, it would invariably enhance EX, and in turn aid in attracting and retaining leading talent. To emphasize this, discuss, learn, and share various other relevant such aspects related to continuous learning, professional development, and EX, we at BITS Pilani WILP are excited to be the Presenting Partner at the ET HRWorld Human Capital Experience conference and look forward to it.