The future is uncharted territory, but there are some trends that shine a light on where the industry is heading. If we take a look at the past, we’ve accomplished things previously thought unattainable – working remotely, managing meetings and engagement online – all trends we adapted to.
But let’s look at where we’re going rather than where we’ve been!
Upskilling and Reskilling Employees
Upskilling and reskilling are important as the world rapidly changes.
Upskilling is a trend that facilitates continuous learning for employees by providing training and development opportunities designed to grow their abilities and minimize skill gaps. It tends to focus on improving current employees’ skill sets for the purpose of advancing in their current roles.
For example, when a company adopts new software, employees would need to learn how to use the software – that’s part of upskilling.
Current employees want their leaders to be authentic, trustworthy, and even inspirational, so leaders learning about emotional intelligence (EQ) – that’s upskilling.
Other types of upskilling methods could include the use of online courses, mentoring, lunch-and-learn sessions, job shadowing, and microlearning.
By cross training an assembly line worker on a paint machine or learning how to drive a forklift – that’s upskilling.
So why is upskilling still a trend to watch?
The Great Resignation has been on the minds of HR workers everywhere and left them asking, “How can our organization retain employees?” According to SHRM, 52% of workers said they need to learn new skills within the next year to continue their careers. Skills are what employees want and here’s how it helps:
- Enables organizations to be more competitive by closing skill gaps
- Decreases the need to recruit outside the company thus boosting promotions and retention
- Increases employee satisfaction, boosting motivation, performance, and morale
Unlike upskilling, reskilling refers to employees learning new skills to do an entirely different job within their organization. This is an essential strategy needed by businesses to meet staffing needs and further success in a rapidly changing landscape. For the actual employees, it provides opportunities to change trajectory in their organization or even at a new company – which is a must have for employee satisfaction and retention. Lorman found that 70% of workers would be somewhat likely to leave their current workplace for one that invests in employee development.
It’s important to keep in mind that The University of Phoenix’s Annual Career Optimism Index 2022 found that 40%of employees “worry their job skills will become outdated because of advancements in technology such as automation, artificial intelligence and robots.” That leads us to a real-life example of manufacturing businesses retraining employees as robot technicians as automation grows in that field.
What are the implications of reskilling?
- Cost-saving as it helps to avoid layoffs and termination and rehiring for the role
- Reduces employee turnover as it presents new career opportunities and job security
- Aids in recruitment of new employees as a competitive advantage
But within both of these, there is one commonality.
As younger generations continue to enter the workforce, personalized training is here to stay. They’ve grown up with curated content at their fingertips via YouTube, Netflix, and TikTok, so it only makes sense to have this option for them in the workplace.
Look at it like personal training but for skills. Everyone gets more from any activity if it’s molded to their tastes, preferences, needs, and demands. Personalization is superior for training because it addresses each employee’s needs and helps them get what they need, when they need it for their role and skillset.
When training is personalized and allows for an even balance of prescriptive learning along with elective learning, employees feel more engaged, retain information more consistently, and produce better results.
While microlearning is the current way to ingest online training content, the attention span of future generations is shrinking thanks to content platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok (where videos are often no longer than 3 minutes. The average for microlearning – 10 minutes.)
While some might think social media platforms are what’s wrong with society today and a detriment to mental health, there is a flip side. That content sticks. How many people know all the words to a song about corn or money that folds because of TikTok?
Nanolearning takes complex topics and breaks them down much like microlearning does. This, however, is a much more targeted learning focusing on topics through smaller inputs in short and fixed time frames.
Training Industry said it well: “Fewer barriers for the learner will mean fewer barriers for the trainer.” With content being easier to read and more accessible, it makes it easier to produce and deliver to learners and turn around on hot topics and trends will be fast, keeping training relevant.
Consider a new manager. They may feel overwhelmed and fatigued with everything they’ve had to review thus far at work, but they still want to make sure they have the right skills to be a successful manager. Providing them with these small doses can help them digest content in more manageable sizes and apply what they’ve learned.
Taking on Employee Disengagement
Employee disengagement is just another term for the hot topic of quiet quitting (coined by a content creator on TikTok) and often spoken about as an emerging trend as early as 2020. Essentially, quiet quitting refers to those employees who stop putting more effort into their jobs than absolutely necessary. They are no longer going above and beyond for the company line. But there is more than meets the eye here. Dr. Brene Brown, Dare to Lead podcast host and researcher at The University of Houston, has an insightful podcast on the subject and brings in an organizational psychologist and an ethnographer to really get to the bottom of quiet quitting.
What’s important to remember here is that there are going to be different viewpoints from the eyes of leadership and from the eyes of employees, and this is something that isn’t going to go away.
It’ll be important to train both sides on emotional intelligence, finding a healthy balance, and seeking meaning in work.
One way to combat this is with a focus on DEI and wellness training.
DEI and Employee Wellness at Work
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives are one of the most important topics to consider in the coming years. Training on DEI aims to eliminate discrimination and many other inequalities that employees face in the workplace.
For a business, DEI helps promote an inclusive culture, thus giving an organization a competitive edge. A McKinsey report found that organizations in the top quarter for racial and ethnic diversity were 33% more likely to outperform their peers.
Culturally, DEI provides a place where employees can feel safe being their authentic selves. By being able to be authentic, all employees are free to share creative ideas and solutions and move innovation forward.
DEI can tie into employee wellness as well. The importance of mental wellness has become increasingly prevalent as employee well-being and satisfaction jump to the forefront of training initiatives.
There are many factors that go into employee well-being: stress, work-life balance, anxiety, workload, change and uncertainty, etc. Gallup found that $322 billion of turnover and lost productivity cost globally due to employee burnout
Wellbeing affects employee engagement. Engaged employees produce more work more efficiently, but if they are struggling outside of work, they are at risk for falling behind on tasks.
To address these trends, it’s going to be more important than ever to have strong leaders.
Focusing on Leadership Skills Development
According to a recent report by Deloitte, developing the next generation of leaders is the top challenge for 55% of CEOs.
That’s why this key training area is vital in any organization. You’ve got to focus on leadership development – and that includes everyone from your high-potentials to your new managers to c-suite leaders.
Having competent leaders is essential for increased productivity since they are better at motivating, coaching, and training employees.
Keep in mind the adage that employees quit bosses not jobs. Competent leadership reduces staff turnover because trained leaders can develop mutual respect and trust in their employee relationships.
So how do you train leaders in an effective way?
A new trend in online learning is cohort-based learning, or a way to train any learners by moving them through a course or sequence of courses together.
The benefits of this type of learning include better accountability as you’re working with peers, developing a strong support network, and getting solid feedback from those with different perspectives.
BizLibrary has just this solution. BizAcademy brings industry leader expertise directly to learners in the Virtual Classroom and will give learners the expertise they need to inspire their teams, excel as a leader, and drive a culture of growth and development in their organizations.
While there is inherent value in ILT, learners and leaders want to hear from content experts in their field about the topics important to them.
These subject matter experts have been working in their fields for years and can share real-life anecdotes (likely of things experienced by participants) and give applicable strategies on how to handle situations in the future.
Expert-led content benefits both the learner and administrator. Not only does the learner get expert knowledge, but the administrator also doesn’t have to spend time creating or vetting content.