Ignite Crowdsourced Learning for These 3 Business Benefits

A crowd of brightly colored pencils.

Only half of employees say their company listens to their ideas for improving business outcomes, according to Mercer’s “2019 Global Talent Trends Report.” Crowdsourced learning ideas can help organizations improve workforce engagement with learning and development programs while simultaneously igniting an employee-led workplace transformation. The best time to start listening to your talent is now, before launching new L&D content and before changing industry dynamics create skill gaps at your organization.

3 business benefits of crowdsourced learning

1. Superior engagement

Half of employees reported “respect for my ideas” as an important contributor to job satisfaction, but just 40% are very satisfied with how well company leadership is listening, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). It’s time for L&D leaders to think beyond course satisfaction surveys. Crowdsourcing means involving employees throughout the L&D life cycle for stronger engagement and satisfaction.

A leading aerospace company surveyed its 141,322 employees on how to spend $100 million in funds for workforce development. A SHRM report revealed that they crowdsourced feedback by setting up iPads in common spaces. Employees voted on four areas of investment, including reskilling options to prepare for technology disruption and more “modern, accessible learning” content. The organization showed employees the strength of their collective voice by providing survey results in real time. Based on employee feedback, SHRM noted that the organization switched from instructor-led coursework to a self-serve L&D library.

2. Stronger talent pipelines

Mercer’s Global Talent Trends Report also found that 99% of organizations acknowledged the need to develop organizational agility by upskilling the workforce. However, a fractured talent strategy can get in the way of digital transformation. Crowdsourcing provides leadership with insight into how employees currently work, what skills they have already and a possible road map for future needs. Mature organizations use this information to empower strategic skills development at the organizational, team and individual levels.

Mercer found that 83% of employees believe it’s their responsibility to pursue skill refreshes when given the right tools. Insurance company Prudential used crowdsourced feedback, including employee surveys, to understand the workforce and future skills gaps, according to the report. Doing so allowed workers and leadership to future-proof the company together. By listening to your employees, you can create L&D resources to combat the global talent shortage.

3. Agile transformation

Crowdsourced learning can spark an employee-led transition to a more agile, digitally mature organization. Nine out of 10 employees said that they “want to use data analytics from their organization to help them improve their own performance,” according to research by Deloitte and MIT Sloan.

John Hancock Financial Services used a mobile platform to involve employees in learning and collaboration as they ramped up their digital transformation efforts, according to the Deloitte report. A learning management system that functions as a two-way platform for communication can empower employees to share feedback on risks and experiments to the benefit of global colleagues and other teams.

The employee voice matters

It’s time for leaders to seriously consider crowdsourced L&D practices as a lever for better employee engagement, insight and digital transformation. If you solely rely on course satisfaction surveys to understand the voice of the employee, you’re underutilizing your greatest ally in fueling better business outcomes—your people.