Employee training and development trends are shaping business success. Here’s how you can leverage them now and for the future.
When it comes to ensuring your business succeeds and your best employees stay to help it happen, what’s your leverage?
For many organizations and their HR departments, a comprehensive employee training and development program is a key advantage. It’s about integrating continuous learning for businesses and individuals who are goal oriented, seeking to grow and advance, and value the learning experience. And it ranks high among today’s workforce development trends. Continuous learning programs can be used for employee, manager, and corporate training within any type of work environment.
Organizations find the practice essential to remaining competitive within their markets, developing leadership within, and retaining their top talent. Of course, workforce training is always evolving — to meet today’s business needs and tomorrow’s.
Here’s a look at a few employee training and development trends that are gaining traction in today’s hybrid working environments. Read on with an eye toward the future as well, as many are likely to stay awhile.
Continuous learning programs can be used for employee, manager, and corporate training within any type of work environment.
What’s new in employee training and development?
With so many jobs relocated from the workplace to the home office, employee training and development isn’t what it used to be. Remote employees can’t always take advantage of in-person mentoring and coaching and on-the-job training programs with coworkers and managers. Yet while this may sound dire, it’s not. As technology rapidly advances, solutions abound; employees can learn more than ever, no matter their schedules or physical location.
Let’s look at 8 emerging technologies and trends for employee learning and development and how you can implement them for your employee development strategy.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability of a program to learn, and it’s becoming more common. Consider the chat boxes on most websites: Often it’s a bot that’s greeting the customer and asking what they need. When organizations apply AI to employee learning and development, it adds a new level of personalization.
For example, an AI training bot could analyze each employee’s education, skills background, experience, performance reports, current technology use, and most likely promotion scenario. Then it can actually recommend personalized learning opportunities to help the employees fill skills gaps and prepare for their next most-likely promotion.
Gamification and virtual reality can add a new level of fun and “reward” to your employee training. When you gamify training, you break down skills and learning into levels. For each level passed, participants can earn tokens or virtual dollars or appear on a leaderboard that ranks the top employees according to training points.
Gamification can be used to onboard new employees, teach new skills, and make sure that staff is up to date on the latest safety and compliance procedures. Of course, in some cases, you’ll want to award real recognition or rewards to the learning leaders in the group.
Social media can provide employees with a range of adaptive learning opportunities. Let’s say an employee is having trouble creating a complex formula in a spreadsheet or finding the correct operand or function. This is a skills gap, and a quick YouTube search could provide the information the employee needs to finish the task.
Likewise, employees can utilize social media to find articles on new or emerging technologies and information on best practices for their jobs and industries. Organizations can also use social media messaging systems for collaboration and learning within teams or departments.
Microlearning is training and development material that is compressed into 2- to 5-minute segments. The learning content can be articles, presentations, videos, or even audio files perfect for consuming on the commute. This works well because many employees simply cannot carve out enough time in their day to sit through a full lecture or hours-long training program. By providing bite-sized learning pods, you are helping your employees learn new skills and upskill in their free time.
Content repurposing can help speed up your content development while providing your employees with ongoing training and development opportunities. For example, perhaps you have an old training program that covers appropriate and inappropriate behaviors. Most of the training content may still be relevant. However, new behaviors and methods of communication have changed. Such a program can be updated to teach the new behavioral skills without having to develop all new content from the beginning.
Personalized training, AI, and virtual reality learning all go hand-in-hand. This is because recent developments in adult learning honor the fact that not everyone learns the same way, and not everyone needs to learn the same skills. Personalized training programs allow employees to enhance their knowledge based on what they and their performance evaluations determine they need to learn.
Personalized training can also afford real-time feedback pertaining to real-world scenarios. Organizations can use it to keep employees up to date on software and procedure upgrades that may not apply to their coworkers.
Mobile learning is a rapidly evolving frontier for employee training and development. Just think about how much time you spend on your phone and inside various apps. By creating an app to deliver your continuous learning objectives, like teaching power skills, soft skills, and technical skills, you train employees on a device they already use throughout the day. Not to mention, this allows employees to learn and grow their skills while they’re standing in line at the store, waiting to pick up their kids, or even relaxing after hours.
The experiential learning model is popular for exposing employees to real-world situations and teaching specialized or nuanced on-the-job skills.
With experiential learning, people learn by doing. This can be accomplished in many forms, the most common being on-the-job training. Sometimes a virtual platform acts as a training assistant. For retail, this can mean learning the basics of cash register operation via an online module or simulator. Once that’s complete, the employee heads to the checkout lanes and practices ringing up orders with the help of a more experienced employee. For a machine operator, the training would be similar. They’d learn basic operation and safety procedures via an online module. Then, they’d watch a more experienced employee operate the machinery while explaining how it worked.
Once the new employee has grasped the concepts, he or she would begin operating the machinery under supervision. The experiential learning model is popular for exposing employees to real-world situations and teaching specialized or nuanced on-the-job skills.
Explore your options
The best developmental strategy for training programs is to determine what you need to teach and be adaptive in how you present it. Think both near- and long-term, and consider your organization’s and employees’ ultimate goals. When you offer multiple options for continuous learning and training, you help employees see growth as an exciting opportunity.
For more information on emerging trends in upskilling and more, check out “How Upskilling Can Impact Your Company and Employees During the Great Resignation.”