As we can see from the word cloud above, a modern workforce for one team might be significantly different for another team, and what they need in order to meet their talent needs as well as their business goals may be a little bit different too.
Trend 1: Enable the Modern Workforce
The first trend is also an umbrella of all the trends that follow. How do we enable the Modern Workforce? We are seeing learning and development teams moving away from being order takers to business partners. We can take a more consultative approach to understand the business and how to help employees in the flow of work in every work environment.
And what if we don’t adapt to this demand? Our biggest risk is that we’ll lose out on amazing talent and the ability to grow our business. We are in an employee’s market right now. Maybe that gives us the license and opportunity to catch up with technology investments that slowed down over the past few years so that we can be more learner-centered, offering higher quality choices, focused on skill-building while being aligned to career goals.
To get on top of what this trend means for your business, here’s what you can do today:
- Interview 5 employees from various teams/generations and ask them (1) what learning and growth means to them and (2) what they want from their employers
- Audit one of your learning programs and try to identify one way in which you can upgrade the experience to support Modern Learning
- Ask discipline leads how they are staying up-to-date with trends and skills outside of formal learning to leverage some of the tactics they are already using
Trend 2: Inclusive & Accessible
Historically, learning and development and DE&I efforts have been somewhat separate and siloed, but there’s a trend emerging to have every touchpoint in all of our learning programs more inclusive and then by consequence, it’s also then more accessible. For example, we can make sure that there are resources for our employees when they need them the most. So, if they’re going through and they’re getting ready to have a performance discussion, how do you make sure that the resources that they may need are easily at their fingertips, maybe in a central location where all of your materials and resources and assets can be saved.
Here’s what you can do today in both these areas:
- Inclusive: Hold yourself accountable through data. Who in the company is actually learning? Can you see the total spend by each employee? By demographic or department? Who is getting the most or least?
- Accessible: Make your learning resources more accessible and top of mind through performance discussions, providing a landing page will all of the resources available and schedule of live events, having SMEs serve as a sounding board for tough conversations, and providing job aides to increase awareness of biases
Trend 3: Beyond the One-and-Done
Historically we have been focused on creating a single course or a single program but what we know through the research is that learners are finding ways to learn daily, weekly and oftentimes on their own. Just think about the last time you learned something outside of work and what that experience was like, maybe you started with a YouTube video, then read an article or consulted with a neighbor or a friend or you went to Google and looked up FAQs, whatever method and mode, all of those tactics in one way shape or form over time shaped your learning.
When we use multiple ways to learn, you’re no longer just going to a training, you’re using what we call a Learning Cluster. We believe Learning Clusters are the new goal for learning designers. Our model, Learning Cluster Design, shows learning creators how to surround your learners with meaningful assets both in and out of the flow of work. So, as we think about moving beyond one single touchpoint or one single tactic course or program that we’re going to execute, we need to think about how we are giving them multiple assets in order to support their development and to drive lasting impact. It’s not an event, but a journey.
In every employee’s journey there are key moments of learning (see image below). It might start with onboarding, then you get a new project assigned, then you have a key initiative and you know how to prepare for that next role and then a promotion. Performance reviews also play an important role in defining the key learning moment.