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FT as a learning solution: accessible global insight at the heart of your L&D strategy

Addressing the skills gap in the digital age

In a rapidly changing business environment, organisations are increasingly having to embrace new practices in order to stay fresh and relevant.

With evolving technology, as well as growing client demands, firms need employees who are entrepreneurial, innovative and have the commercial awareness to demonstrate that they speak their client’s language and understand their needs. Although commercial awareness is a vital factor in the success of companies, it’s often the competency most in need of development.

Clients are asking advisers to deliver a more commercial assessment of risk and they want a view on future risks. You can’t achieve this without a good level of commercial awareness.

Rachel ManserGlobal Head of Knowledge & Information, Linklaters

Managers who only pay lip service to the cause of learning are unlikely to get the same results.

Richard WatersFT West Coast Editor

Executive education and approaches to corporate learning have been experiencing a similarly tech-driven shift. Organisations are looking for cutting-edge solutions to best equip their people with the skills they need to be successful in today’s workplace. 

Despite the rise of massive open online courses (Moocs) the FT points to a recent study by academics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology showing that most people who sign up to an online course never actually complete it. One explanation is the time commitment involved in taking an online course and many global firms now report a preference for “bite-sized training to employees on their smartphones and tablets.

However, as FT's West Coast Editor Richard Waters comments, “The right kind of support from an employer is equally important.” The question therefore remains: how can managers develop their teams in a world that demands constant upskilling, whilst also ensuring employees stay engaged and don’t feel overburdened?

Putting real-life learning in your employee’s pockets

We know that organisations today are already thinking about their leaders of tomorrow and executive learning is now a core part of most corporate strategies (see the FT’s report on the ‘vital’ role of L&D in Standard Chartered’s turnaround plan).

The FT has been proven to be a valuable learning resource at all levels of business, from graduate induction programmes to future leader schemes. By offering an unmatched perspective on global business 24 hours a day, the FT brings learning to life through its analysis of current events. 

Grounding executive education in the real world leads to better outcomes, as observed at Spain’s IE Business School, where they reported much higher course completion rates when classroom theory was connected with simulated real-life context.

Learning is improved when students apply the theoretical concepts to practical scenarios.

Martin Rodríguez JugoDirector, IE Publishing

As learning has become more informal and digital in nature, having the right information isn't necessarily enough. Time-poor employees want the convenience of access to L&D material while at home or on the move.

Through the FT’s digital offering, employees can read relevant content anywhere and at any time via and mobile apps. Increasingly, organisations are integrating FT content with their own learning portals to help boost engagement with these platforms, and weave curated FT articles into the current workflow of their staff.

By integrating content from the Financial Times through an Application Programming Interface (API), tailored real time news is now delivered directly to our intranet. A reliable and well respected resource, FT content can now be promoted outside of the traditional delivery methods, so we can distribute content that is most relevant to our internal sector teams.

Sian MayInformation Officer, DWF LLP

How customers are using the FT to help professional development

Over 4000 organisations globally are using the FT to help achieve their business goals. For professional services firms in the legal and accountancy sectors, the FT provides a practical step to help both trainees and fee earners develop a more commercial skill set in addition to technical competencies.

On a professional development level, keeping up with industry news can be tricky as most media outlets are heavily politicised whereas the FT isn’t. I want to know what’s going on, yet be able to come to form my own opinion. I would say as an L&D resource, it is second-to-none and I would advocate all trainees to use it as part of their professional development endeavours.

Camarley McIntoshTrainee Solicitor, DWF LLP

The FT also works with banking clients to integrate content with their graduate induction schemes, thereby helping associates to better understand the global financial markets and client businesses.

“The FT Big Read is the best introductory book,” says General Manager at the Development Bank of Japan, Takeshi Kiriyama. “It tells us not only what is the most important story in today’s world, but also why and what will happen next. I always recommend my team and especially junior members read through them.”

Although widely used for specific programmes, the FT is viewed by many customers as a professional development resource that all staff should be able to benefit from. The video below featuring David Morley, Chairman of the Allen & Overy Leadership Centre refers to the firm’s FT Group Subscription as “a statement as to what you expect your people to be reading.”

In an environment where traditional models of corporate hierarchy are being challenged, our flexible approach to licensing means FT material can be made available across entire organisations and on multiple platforms in a cost-effective way. Company-wide learning can therefore be underpinned by an award-winning global authority on business, politics and finance.

An FT Group Subscription extracts the intelligence that’s relevant to your business and delivers it via the media and technologies that suit you best, saving you time and keeping you informed on what matters.

For more information about how the Financial Times can help your organisation or to request a free trial, please get in touch.

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