The Long-Term Value of Tech-Empowered Learning for Future Organizational Growth

By Elizabeth A. Thurman, Manager, Product Development, DeVryWORKS

A mere ten to fifteen years ago, it wouldn’t be completely shocking to hear a business “just doesn’t have a website,” or that daily operations did not somehow hinge on social media, internet commerce, or web-based communication.

If you were to say the same thing today, you may elicit a chuckle or a look of disbelief, as no one can argue the all-encompassing role technology now plays in every business function, across every industry. Today’s forward-thinking organizations leverage the power of technology to increase workforce productivity, efficiency and effectiveness of their business operations and communications.1 Working in the talent development industry, I see clearly that the rate of business progress cannot hide from the effects of a tech-driven society, and neither can the workforce. At this point, I believe employers should not be questioning whether their talent should be technically fluent, they need to question when and how they will reskill and upskill to meet market demand and live to see another fiscal year.

Most organizations are in some stage of digital transformation and are recognizing the importance of digital fluency in their long-term talent strategy. However, recruiters often share with me the seemingly constant battle to hire good people, much less find the elusive “unicorn candidate.” We use phrases like “the war for talent” and “global talent shortage” to describe the current land- scape of talent acquisition and retention because the market need for technological growth has begun to surpass the available pipeline of candidates.2 At DeVryWORKS we’re finding organizations are realizing investing in the talent they already possess may be the most logical step toward progression as they cannot rely on new talent alone. Upskilling and reskilling the workforce to meet the demands of tomorrow’s market can be a very effective competitive strategy for growth and innovation.3 Investment in the workforce through tech-empowered learning can lead to organizational growth by increasing productivity, boosting engagement, retention, and loyalty, preserving the company brand, and assisting with recruitment of future talent.4 & 5
In my opinion, the pivotal factor of success here is rethinking the way employees learn and why investing in upskilling and reskilling is preferable to the time and cost associated with talent acquisition. To achieve this, DeVryWORKS encourages organizations to leverage their internal strengths and engage cost efficient and tech-empowered learning methods to activate workforce talent. As a learning and development professional partnering with corporations in a myriad of industries, I see a common thread: effective, talent activating learning begins with understanding the organization’s strengths, areas of opportunity, and how both effect the strategic growth on a macro and micro level. This is no small feat and is, in part, why many learning and development programs are restricted to individual departments or do not have much longevity. However, incorporating learning programs into daily work through flexible, blended solutions is the first step in solidifying a commitment to growth empowered by upskilling and reskilling and achieving a more digitally fluent workforce. Learning programs with persisting effect strike a balance among career-specific hard skills, professional skills, and personal skills.2

We have found that successful learning and change can occur at any point in the employee’s day, from a micro-learning online module, to a mentoring conversation with a leader or peer, to a team-based social learning approach flattening the organization and empowering everyone with content. Just as organizations must look at their global strategic plan, they must also look at employee learning from eclectic sources.

DeVryWORKS draws upon its heritage in higher education to understand the adult learner at various stages and how this affects the success of corporate training. It is through blended and flexible learning options and customized learning pathways to target specific and relevant skills that we create tailored tech-empowered solutions. DeVryWORKS leverages technology and personal guidance to help our corporate partners activate, reskill, and upskill their talent.

Elizabeth Thurman believes in the transformative power of education and has a passion for strategically implementing programs that drive results and improve the reality of both the learner and the organization. With over ten years of experience in corporate training, continuing education, and professional coaching across the private and public sectors, she specializes in developing programs and services for employers and organizations that seek to truly elevate their workforce. Elizabeth holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, with an emphasis in International Affairs, and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Dominican University of California. Additionally, she is obtaining her Master of Business Administration from Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. She is also a Certified University Career Coach and  Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW). Calling the Pacific Northwest home, she lives near Seattle, Washington.

1.    Adobe 2017.
2.    Manpower Group 2018 Shortage Survey, United States Data Edition. Solving the Talent Shortage: Build, Buy, Borrow and Bridge.
3. Econmic Forum: The Future of Jobs http://reports.
5.    IBM Training Building Skills for a Smarter Planet: “The Value of Training,” IBM Corporation, 2014. (