Nick Gidwani

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Experience is Table Stakes

L&D Talent Management

As you might’ve noticed, we at Pathgather recently released a major update to our platform, along with starting to call ourselves a Talent Development Platform. This may seem strange to some who have spent a lifetime in learning & development. Talent Development sounds like something that includes a lot of coaching, stretch assignments or performance conversations. It certainly doesn’t sound like learning.

The easier thing to do would be to describe ourselves the way others in our industry do, as a Learning Experience Platform. Josh Bersin of Deloitte has said that the learning experience platform is something that all companies will need going forward. In fact, when we discussed our product evolution with analysts, one from Gartner told us he gets many calls for Learning Experience platforms, and that it would be a mistake to talk about ourselves in any other way. Why would we consider not taking his advice?

The truth is, we know what it is to be a Learning Experience Platform. We invented the category in 2013 when we launched with Qualcomm around our tentpole features of a consumer-grade user experience and both aggregation and curation of resources from across the web.  We beat all other players to that market. We’ve learned a lot in the last four years, and that’s a big reason why we’ve chosen to evolve our product and establish Talent Development as the ultimate goal.

Engagement is a Prerequisite, Not the End Goal

For many in corporate learning that are utilizing legacy Learning Management Systems, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that the end-goal of all learning is engagement, measured by time, activity and satisfaction. If your company is like most, voluntary usage of learning systems might average 4-6% in a given month — anemic by almost any standard. Increasing it to 20% per week (as we’ve done with Visa), or having 25% of users spend 3-4 hours weekly (HP) or getting a 72 Net Promoter Score (T-Mobile) would seem to be goals worth striving for. And they are. Without engagement, nothing else is possible.

Eyes on the Ball: Deliver Valuable Talent Outcomes

For us at Pathgather, engagement is not enough. It doesn’t mean that outcomes are being created, or that value is being generated for the business. It’s a bit like how a lot of startups try to grow revenues without any appreciation for the value of profits. They get caught up in vanity metrics because it makes them feel like they are making progress, but they are not building a sustainable business. In the same way, engagement indicates that you are doing something right, but it’s not nearly the whole story.

It’s what you do with that engagement that matters. Engagement can create the best results and is the most sustainable when it aligns to greater performance and achievement for all parties. That is — when the company is filling hard-to-fill roles and retaining employees longer and when employees are gaining skills that are valuable to their careers and the competitiveness of their companies.

To do this, we made a major investment in technology and data. Partnering with Burning Glass Technologies, we spent more than six months harnessing hundreds of millions of labor market data points in a way that nobody else is doing today. We are confident that this investment will yield substantial value for our clients.

Elevating Learning

We’re making a series of other exciting updates to our platform as well. These updates are intended to build upon what we’ve already achieved and continue to elevate learning — to make it more strategic to business units and to turn it into a competitive advantage. Our goal is to leave behind metrics like satisfaction and activity and put a new focus on internal mobility, retention, and performance — measures that hit the top and bottom lines and deliver impact to the business.

We are not a patient group of people. The future can’t get here soon enough for us. We see learning as among the most valuable areas that any company can invest, with the most attractive opportunity for ROI. It frustrates us to see learning treated in too many organizations as a cost center instead of what it is: the engine of a company’s long-term competitive advantage.

And that is why we built the Pathgather Talent Development Platform.

Categories: L&D Talent Management
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