How Education is Changing in the WorkplaceOct 26, 2021
Our current market has become a dynamic machine demanding fresh skills each day. Unfortunately, skills acquired throughout college will only get you so far today while leaving you in the dark on almost everything you need to know for success in your industry. As the job market becomes more cut-throat and competitive, we are seeing a massive shift in workflows, technology, and attention spans. As a result, employers are becoming more selective and requiring consistent training to keep their retained employees at the top of their game.
“The shift to lifelong learning is absolutely essential. As the pace of technological change quickens, we need to be sure that employees are keeping up with the right skills to survive in the fourth industrial revolution. That applies to both technical and soft skills. There will be changes in both.” - Zvika Krieger
The Reality of Today’s Workplace.
Recent studies show that the average millennial will have fifteen jobs throughout their career versus baby boomers who stayed much more loyal to their workplace. Considering the average cost to acquire and train a new employee is $1,900 (according to the training industry report last published in 2017), turnover and retention are one of the highest priorities for businesses these days - especially when hiring millennials.
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Logistical issues also take precedence over many other current market concerns. Resulting in substantial inflation, increasing wages, and an imbalance of government aid. Causing the mindset for working to shift gears as government assistance takes a stronghold on the market - ultimately putting business owners in a really uncomfortable spot after over a year of economic shutdowns.
In short, businesses are in a dire state of scarcity in generating revenue, acquiring qualified individuals (contingent upon industry), and continuing a steady inflow of supply. Companies are now looking to reduce costs, eliminate any ‘filler’ content and improve outcomes through interactive training. Therefore, the number one critical role of business development going forward needs to be skill-building.
As the evolution of technology escalates and charts unknown territories, the shelf life of skills dwindles - Resulting in an aggressive necessity for fast and frequent learning as entire industries are dying off.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention.
It often takes a crisis to accelerate an innovative change - and that is exactly what the whole world has experienced over the last two years. While being forced to work remotely posed many unique and challenging issues for business growth and development, it also opened a window of opportunity for new innovations worldwide.
Looking at it from a birds-eye view, take in the visual: Every brilliant entrepreneur on the face of the planet, 8 billion individuals all focused on one issue. How to continue business and not tank each of individual economies with a deadly virus and government regulation around that spiraling out of control?
This has never happened in history within modern-day societal living. The world’s most notable scholars, developers, engineers, scientists, and designers were given the same issue to solve - running a business as “usual” without the usual format. And, they did just that, leaving the little guys to catch up immediately or risk complete failure.
Rewriting the Process.
The time gave us an open doorway to completely rewrite the process, as many previous methods became unusable or obsolete. Global shifts to remote work, learning, shopping, communicating, logistics, etc., launched us into an entirely new technological age. We packed about a decade of development into a few short months, thanks to the manpower of all those technical positions.
With every new update, companies were forced to keep up or risk terminal failure. This challenge left many organizations valuing training and strengthening team development more than ever. Some stepped up to the plate while others took losses.
So, what has changed in the workplace?
- The Rise of The Millennial Learner
- Improved Technology
- Shift of Priorities
A new approach must be taken regarding workplace learning to gain access to the skills required to survive in today’s and thrive in tomorrow’s business world. To achieve great success in workplace education today, companies need to adopt a program that is:
Tailor to each employee’s style and learning needs. Conjure a sense of community within the workplace while still giving employees the freedom to learn through expression.
Allow learners to define their “pace & place” for training. Make sure the content is compatible with all or most screen sizes.
Contextual & Integrated:
Companies need to focus on directly tying employee learning paths to personal career progression. Individuals want to know they are working towards something more prominent than where they currently are.
Fuel a sense of connectivity within the workplace. Allow employees to feel like they are “part of the family,” so they will feel as if they are coming home every time they walk into your establishment.
Curate quick and confident content chunked into a few major sections, then elaborate under those points. Avoid throwing an enormous amount of information at them all at once.
Stay ahead of what is happening in your niche at all times.
Put a technological framework in place that lets learners lead their own educational journey. Millennials, in particular, are enticed by programs that allow them to configure their own ideas rather than forcing the information down their throats.
We are discovering more and more each year that setting out to be an “expert” in everything will only make you a master of nothing. Instead, allow your employees to soar with their strengths, zoning in heavily on one or two areas at a time - while simultaneously creating a “general overview” structure for the remaining critical pieces.
The modern-day learner thrives on being fed little bite-size bits of information easily pertaining to their daily work. Time is and will always be gold to businesses. You are probably feeling like you can never get it all done, that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. We pretty much all share that feeling. So, use it wisely and eliminate any unnecessary pieces.
Millennials are digital learners as they have grown up with the internet and a variety of choices for every consumable product needed throughout their lifetimes - some may argue this was the first generation to have it too easy.
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If your educational content is not attention-grabbing, attainable, actionable, and furthers the employee’s value in your company, your learners will seek instruction and employment elsewhere. This is not to say you need to go in the way of Google, creating an environment filled with snack bars, nap pods, and bowling alleys. Instead, simply grounding your roots in strong values, along with a high priority on employee satisfaction and career development, is all it takes.
Make it Possible for Flexible Learning.
Allow full creativity throughout the entire process. Give learners the opportunity to not only have the flexibility to do their work wherever and whenever they would like - even in pajamas on the couch. But also offer the freedom to choose the modules and content they wish to pursue.
This keeps their interests peaked and inspires creativity leading to higher conversion rates and customer loyalty. Create enjoyable, fluff-free content that is easily digestible.
eLearning eliminates several costs associated with traditional methods such as:
- On-Site Trainers
- Guest Speakers
- Food and Beverages Offered at Trainings
The Importance of Program Design.
Designing a program that is not confined to specific meetings times where employees are yanked from their desks in the middle of the day drastically increases productivity. It eliminates distracting the mind and breaking workflow. It takes the average person 16-23 minutes to refocus their brain back onto a task after being distracted.
Imagine how much money your company could save trying to get back into work after meetings each week? Offering paid training outside of company time in the workplace is a win/win scenario for all involved. Eliminating in-person training and guest speakers should leave enough budget for those allocated hours and maybe a few perks to incentivize.
A couple of challenges must be handled before shifting entirely to eLearning via video conferencing, modules, courses, app collaboration, etc. First, although the new age of learning is looking for freedom and flexibility in their schedules and workplace education, the need for guided structure to ensure optimum productivity is still very prevalent. Understand first that your employees already do so much throughout the workday and in their personal lives that trying to stuff any more information in needs to be a well-thought-out strategy.
We have more distractions around us than ever before which is why it is so important to keep your team on track progressing in their learning.
Procrastination is something many individuals struggle with. Help your employees achieve success by opening only a limited number of courses at once - or integrating module checkpoints to aid in learning progression without an overwhelmed mind.
Optimize the content for all screen sizes with the ability to search for content. Your audiences want instant information right at their fingertips. Guarantee this by simultaneously holding down [command + option + (i) or (j)] for Mac systems and [control + shift + (i)] for Windows systems. The developer panel will pop up and under “dimensions” on the far left-hand corner, click on the drop-down menu where you can select fourteen screen sizes for maximum compatibility.
Understand your Audience.
It is important to understand your team and individual learning styles. Employees learn differently. For instance, the sales team might retain information best by solo learning through lists with a single pie chart breaking down the data points. Machine operators may learn well from short, how-to videos. While HR and accounting may prefer a full white paper document with several charts and articles.
Additionally, some of us are visual learners (learn by seeing), while others are auditorial learners (learn by hearing). Finally, kinetic learners require to do something to learn. A combination of these different learning styles will help maximize learning. Therefore, it is important to understand your team and individual learning styles.
We are Humans, Not Machines.
The reality is that we are emotionally driven creatures here for one purpose: To love, procreate, and survive. Not to work ourselves mad, up until our final moments on Earth. We work to support ourselves and our loved ones. We work so we do not have to rely on the system to take care of us. All so we can continue the human race and experience.
So the days of dry, useless education written in the 1983 company handbook, thrust down the throats of employees - are over. Your company’s modern-day audience is looking for their learning products that are:
Every man, woman, and child is a consumer to a certain capacity, as is each one of your learners. Therefore, do your consumer trend research before designing any programs. Partner with companies that are creating training programs that entice and keep the audience’s attention. This means, just like website building - you cannot just throw a few videos up there, set it, forget it and expect your learners to retain everything.
Create a warm environment filled with expression and passion, striving to build the ultimate employee experience where everyone feels valued, cared for, needed, and honored. This will help you move where they are and provide what they are looking for while also supporting you in finding and retaining good, reliable talent for your workplace.
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