Modern technology and cultural shifts are changing the way people work. These shifts put significant strain on those responsible for developing corporate training strategies, who must come up with new approaches in order to engage today’s workforce. Recognizing the need for change and adapting quickly will keep your organization competitive, especially as you work to attract and maintain top talent.
Here are a few of today’s top trends and the ways in which they are challenging corporate training strategies to evolve to accommodate them.
1. Remote workers
Modern technology enables remote working in ways that weren’t previously possible. More organizations are offering remote working options than ever before. This requires organizations to train their employees to use foundational skills, such as time management, stress management, conflict resolution, and collaboration, differently than if they were in an office.
For example, in a situation where a conflict needs to be resolved, employees who work remotely might not have the ability to speak with their colleague face-to-face. In this case, corporate training must evolve to meet the changing ways employees will use skills that are imperative to their success, whether they work at home, in the office, or a combination.
2. Competing opportunities
The days of working for a single employer throughout one's career are over. In today's workforce, it is much more common for employees to change jobs periodically and for a variety of reasons—and there are new opportunities arising every day.
This trend puts employees—especially high-potential individuals—in the driver’s seat and means that organizations need to give their employees reasons to stay now more than ever. Creating a retention strategy is critical; you can’t assume that employees will stay in a job just to get a paycheck. According to Mercer’s annual Global Talent Trends report, today’s workforce prioritizes continual learning, diverse rewards, and work/life balance.
Organizations must offer more to attract and retain talented individuals. In addition to competitive pay and benefits, companies must offer learning and development opportunities, create an environment in which people feel valued and recognized for their contribution, and provide a level of flexibility that allows employees to successfully manage their priorities outside of work.
3. Prioritization of employee engagement
Employee engagement is a top priority or strategic initiative for many organizations. In many cases, they are aware of the benefits and therefore will do anything to make them a reality. However, actually engaging employees is not a one-size-fits-all solution. What works to engage employees at one organization may not work at another, or in a different industry.
As such, those in charge of determining corporate training strategies must pay close attention to the specific needs of their learners and the unique challenges faced by employees every day. Building a personalized strategy and is far more likely to lead to more relevant and practical training. This ultimately results in employees who apply their training on the job and are therefore more empowered, better at teamwork, and more likely to deliver close to their potential.
4. The rise of millennials
The millennial generation is now the largest in the workforce. Organizations should tailor their strategies to members of this generation as they rise into leadership positions. This includes providing leadership training, working with individuals to create clear paths forward, and focusing on the priorities that are most important to millennials. According to Forbes, this includes “purpose, passion, meaningful wealth, creativity, community, and, ultimately, positive, world-changing impact.”
5. Team collaboration
Advancing technology, new innovations, and greater competition—both for customers and for talent—are disrupting the business world like never before. The organizations that thrive despite the rapid rate of change are the ones that are able to break down silos, improve communication, and reinforce accountability. Therefore, training and development efforts must focus on building more collaborative teams in order to maximize their potential, capitalize on new opportunities, and provide a cohesive and exceptional customer experience.
Learning and development programs must evolve
Given the rapidly changing work landscape, organizations can only be successful when their learning and development programs continually adjust to reflect emerging workplace trends and employee values. Organizations can no longer stick to a set program, but must instead provide training based on actual business needs and skills gaps. One approach is to provide hands-on, experiential training that appeals to a diverse range of learning styles, ages, and roles. Another strategy is to engage in a two-way conversation with employees about what they need from training and what you need from them. This puts them in the driver’s seat and provides valuable information about how to best attract and retain the talent in your company. Establishing a plan in this way enables each individual to receive the training they need to succeed.