Workforce Management

Delivering Training to an Evolving Workforce

It’s often said that Human Resources wears many hats – when you look at the challenges behind building a strong staff, keeping them happy, and creating a great workplace, that certainly requires a good amount of creativity and strict time management.

Complicating these difficult tasks is the fact that employment is changing – the gig economy is taking talent away from companies, and in response, there’s been an increase in co-employment and other solutions to outsource work.

It’s impossible to deny that in many major industries, the employment relationship is significantly different than it has been in the past. One of the many challenges that HR and L&D professionals are facing in light of the changing workplace is delivering training – do we still need to deliver training to temporary employees, and if so, what’s a cost effective way to do so?

Here are a few important things to consider as we watch the evolution of employment.

Evolution Starts With Environmental Pressure

It’s hard to talk about employee training without running into some variation of this quote, often attributed to Henry Ford:

“Two managers are talking about training their employees. The first asks, ‘Yeah, but what if we train them, and they just leave?’ The second responds, ‘What if we don’t train them, and they stay?'”

It’s a little clich√©, but it’s a basic justification for training, and yes, it also applies to temporary employees.

As we talk about the evolution of the employee/employer relationship, it’s important to also acknowledge the generation driving a significant portion of this change: millennials, who are now the largest generation in the workforce.

According to Gallup research, 87% of millennials say that training and development is important in a job.

Not only does this segment of the workforce place a high value on personal development, they are also the primary drivers behind the gig economy: one study reports that by 2020, there will be 42 million self-employed Americans, and 42% of them are predicted to be millennials.

That means that in order to keep your talented millennials out of the gig economy, learning needs to be an important part of your company culture.

There’s an Impact on Your Bottom Line

It’s easy to see how co-employment impacts your bottom line; payroll is often the biggest expense for businesses, and complicating that with shared contracts and staffing companies only increases that business expense.

Hiring temporary employees offers the same challenges as having high turnover. Apart from the high costs of constant turnover, there will be extended periods of time where your company is missing productivity, and studies show that it takes up to two years for an employee to reach full productivity. That means that most likely, you’ll never be getting full productivity from temporary employees.

While training can help overcome some of these productivity issues, it’s important to be strategic when deciding how you’ll train these employees.

Evaluate Your Goals

In today’s talent economy, with unemployment at an all time low, it can be difficult to gain and retain talented employees. That means leveraging your culture and development opportunities is a great way to show contracted employees what your organization is all about.

You’ll have to evaluate your goals to determine if it makes sense to hire someone full time instead of a contracting, and it very well may!

We still don’t fully understand how the gig economy and co-employment is going to affect the workplace in the near future, but it’s important for the training industry, and for L&D and HR professionals to be adaptable and look at how these trends impact the workplace.

Learn concrete steps to align employee training with business goals in this episode of The BizLibrary Podcast!

Training & Development Industry Researcher | Derek researches, discusses, and writes about the impacts of employee learning on organizations and individuals. He regularly interviews L&D and HR professionals, sharing their insight on trends and best practices that help organizations create stronger training programs, and help to grow their employees and their business.