The skills gap is a major concern in the business world. Seventy-nine percent of CEOs worry about employees’ lack of skills and say this is a threat to company growth. And 60% of employees worry their current skills will be obsolete in three to five years.

Hiring alone won’t solve the problem. Many business leaders are aware that it costs six times more to hire people with the skills their organizations need than it does to upskill their existing workforce.

Consider these facts and it’s clear — upskilling employees is key to closing the skills gap. Yet the problem remains. The key to solving it is an agile approach to workplace learning.

Here are three reasons that cultivating an agile learning culture should be a business imperative for every organization — including yours.

Reason #1: An agile learning culture solves L&D’s greatest challenge 

Time isn’t on the side of workplace learning and development (L&D) teams. “Lack of time” was a top obstacle for 61% of respondents to our 2021 Workplace Learning Trends Report.

A traditional approach to learning and development is too slow to keep up. Thankfully, learning technologies — like on-demand learning platforms and learning management systems (or LMSs) — have made agile learning a reality in the last few years. 

Employees no longer need to spend weeks in classroom training sessions and away from their other priorities. Online learning lets them consume bite-sized learning taught by industry leaders on the go. This type of learning isn’t tied to a schedule. There’s no need to wait for a scheduled class session — learning can start the moment employees need it.

Reason #2: An agile learning culture supports business continuity 

The speed at which your workforce acquires new skills directly relates to your company’s ability to respond to changes in the world. But business leaders rightfully worry about the balance between employee development and productivity.

Fortunately, speed and flexibility are central to agile learning. This approach breaks learning into small and easily digestible chunks. Employees can apply their knowledge faster and see results sooner.

Imagine a professional services organization that specializes in digital transformation. When taking on an important new client, they want to assign their best teams to the account. But before they can do so, the team needs to become acquainted with the client’s codebase. New hires have to be onboarded before they can take on projects for existing clients.

A traditional approach to onboarding and training would deplete the organization’s resources for weeks or months. But with agile learning, the organization can put learning into the flow of work and accelerate the transition.

This isn’t just a hypothetical example. Discover how leading consulting firm Indra relies on agile learning to train 49,000 employees across 46 countries and keep up with the pace of change in the world at large.

Reason #3: An agile learning culture improves learning retention and increases employee engagement 

“Lack of time” may be L&D’s greatest challenge. But even when employees make the time for learning, there’s a bigger obstacle. The “forgetting curve” prevents them from reaping the benefits of their newfound knowledge. 

The “forgetting curve” was first researched and demonstrated by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus in the 19th Century. When learning something, people tend to forget most new information right away. Ebbinghaus discovered that people could retain more if they repeated the new information at regular intervals. This is known as “spaced repetition.”

Agile learning allows employees to learn in intervals and immediately apply their new skills. This approach increases the likelihood they’ll retain and build upon their skills.

Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve
The forgetting curve, Hermann Ebbinghaus

Bonus: An agile learning culture fuels innovation and stymies disruption

If you’re not convinced your organization needs an agile learning culture, consider these facts from Korn Ferry’s research

Want to know if these benefits are within reach of your organization? Download the Workplace Learning Culture Evaluation and take a short quiz to find out.