Top Three Workforce Training Trends
By Tracy Cox, Director of Performance Consulting for Raytheon Professional Services, LLC
A Time of Unprecedented Change
Isaac Asimov once said, “The only constant is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.” And regardless of the region, country, market or job, this past year has been a time of unprecedented change.
As I reflect on the past several months and look to the future, I wonder what will be the impact of this unparalleled change on the global workforce and more specifically, on the training trends of this global workforce? There are several trends that are clear to me.
The first trend I’ve noticed is the average age of the workforce will NOT get younger, but will remain about the same because the recent global recession has postponed millions of retirements. Rather than facing a Baby Boomer mass exodus, companies will now face something just as daunting: a more “bipolar” workforce. As markets recover, many companies will begin hiring again and there will be an in-flux of “Millennials” entering the workforce. This will create even more of a bi-modal workforce with one “pole” being the twenty-somethings and the other being the sixty-somethings in the workforce.
The challenge will be creating an environment conducive to the rapid transfer of knowledge seamlessly and in context between these generations. There will be pressure on the learning architecture to develop and deliver training that will appeal to both of these generations with very different learning styles and we need to be cognizant of this.
Emerging from the Global Recession
A second trend I believe will impact learning is the changing landscape of markets and companies emerging from the global recession. As I see almost daily in newspapers’ business sections, the number of mergers and acquisitions is accelerating. The training challenge in this environment will be how to evaluate multiple learning portfolios and systematically leverage and maximize what is there, remove waste and redundancy and emerge with an optimized learning portfolio.
The portfolio must maximize the efficiency, productivity and growth of this new workforce, yet navigate the political pressures from various stakeholders with self-interests and “legacy” motivations — Yet another trend to keep in mind.
Moving Toward a Blended Learning Approach
In the quote I referenced a few entries back, Isaac Asimov had it right. He said, “The only constant is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is, the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.” I think it is essential to move toward a blended learning approach in the workforce.
This is the third trend I believe supports Asimov’s theory. Moving to more blended learning approaches will optimize the learning experience for a more distributed, fragmented workforce. Telecommuting, home and satellite officing, and global organizations to server global markets will continue to accelerate. Traditional instructor-led training or PowerPoint “page turners” will not suffice in meeting the cost constraints and learning objectives of global companies.
The only option will be to continue transforming the learning design, development and delivery architectures to increase the use of virtual training, managed mLearning, simulations and serious gaming. This will maximize the learning experience and convenience, while controlling costs and contributing more to the top and bottom lines of our businesses. We need to adapt to the rapid rate at which technology and the way people receive their news and information is evolving.
Tracy Cox is the Director of Performance Consulting for Raytheon Professional Services, LLC.