Learning and marketing should be one strategic social office

By now, we should know that old silo’s and organigrams don’t hold anymore.  Why do we still have departments such as marketing, communications and learning when they all have the same purpose, driving business results, based on data, with the best workforce possible. 

The 2020 Human Capital report by Deloitte pointed out that social organizations that can harness their people’s complementary strengths in the service of a common goal can benefit from diversity to drive higher performance. Also, in the survey prior to the report 75% of the respondents say the evolving role of HR is critical to succeed over the next 12 to 18 months. However, only 11 percent say they were very ready to address this trend. Why? Because many of us still see HR separate from the business and therefore at C-level this was not addressed as a priority.

And there is more. If we compare those organizations with organizations that do focus on integration between units we see that they have another factor in common. They have a clear strategy on digitalisation and use digital to bridge departments for measurable business results and to build the best workforce. 

Those organizations are great companies to work for because they understand some key principles for the social enterprise. 

  1. Provide employees with the knowledge they need to succeed in their job and boost business results. 

Employees are expected to learn more, and faster, than ever before to succeed in their job. The same study by Deloitte in 2019 revealed that 86% of the responding organisations should change the way people learn. Shifting from analog learning events to life-long learning models. Hybrid learning to engage employees to take ownership for their own learning and thereby directly impacting business results. 

Difficult to achieve and to measure? Not when you select the right tools that offer flexible learning pads and micro-learnings linked to your HR and LMS systems. By doing so, you do not only push knowledge to individuals you can also create tailored dashboards to locate the knowledge gaps in your organisation.  

Today’s learning apps like Mobietrain and Intuo, two platforms I selected recently based on specific requirement for some of my clients, are only two of Belgium’s great scale-ups in the field of LearnTech. Whether you need to enhance the social learning aspect, focus on coaching or you need to onboard new employees or gig-workers. The choice today in specific learning apps that integrate seamless in your digital workplace are endless. 

  • Agile information sharing with your ecosystem and employer branding 

There is more to learning than just sending content to target groups, it is sending up-to-date, useable information that benefit your employees and therefore your organization.  

To understand what is valuable information for your employee, you should understand your marketplace. What is your added value to the ecosystem. Do you want to be known as a thought leader in the field of engineering, or do you want to be known as a leader in customer experience in retail? In any sector it is important to understand your market, your partners and translate this in up to date information for your employees. And who owns this data, usually not the L&D department. The urge for agile information sharing becomes therefore crucial between departments.

Not only do we need to share valuable information and learnings with our employees, we also want to share success stories and cases with our ecosystem. Flexible and effective communication to demonstrate our way of work. Sharing and collaborating therefore is embedded in our values. 

Demonstrating best practices and the culture of your organization is not only beneficiary for your business results.  It attracts employees who want to be part of the success story you are building. And, by attracting those employees you add more knowledge to your organization and the ecosystem you are building. 

  • Boost employee engagement and corporate social responsibility 

To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workforce, is what Doug Conant correctly pointed out. How frustrating it would be when our efforts for employer branding by the marketing department would fail because we leave the backdoor from HR open? 

We want to boost employee engagement because engaged employees drive even more business than informed employees. But, we also want to boost engagement because it reduces our cost to recruit, and yes because we just want to work for an organisation that gives meaning to work, where we can contribute to things that matter for us.  

This is why employee engagement is a hot topic for business leaders. Seems easy you would think, but apparently many of us failed big on the test. Last time I checked, I found that in average 87% of employees are not engaged. Why? Because many leaders think in silo’s and don’t see the bigger picture. 

The Social Office should be located in the middle of your organization.  Give them tools to connect the dots.  Improve efforts in an agile way, measuring success and mistakes every step of the road. This will then become the habit for improvement.

A blueprint for the social office does not exist, although I already tried to draw this picture in 2014. I do believe that with all the technology we have, and as a result off the black swan called Covid-19, a sense of urgency has emerged

I’m more than happy to guide a workshop with your CDO, HR, Marketing and communication teams to see how we can streamline your (digital) efforts and become the best place to work … and win in the marketplace.

Published by Katja Habit Of Improvement

Lifelong learning and an unstoppable drive for innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Katja Schipperheijn is a digital learning strategist and internationally recognized consultant and keynote speaker on learning and engagement in the connected world. Her area of expertise focuses on the interaction of people and technology to achieve sustainable growth based on commitment and well-being. She has worked for more than 15 years with tech companies and learning organizations and holds a Master Degree in Economical Science, an Executive MBA from the Antwerp Management School and Digital Learning Strategy from MITSloan

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