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Six key ingredients for modern workforce learning and development

Tony Glass, VP and GM EMEA at Skillsoft, discusses the rapid evolution of the modern workforce and how this should be reflected in new approaches to learning and development.
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The modern workforce is more culturally and generationally diverse than ever before. It’s not uncommon to find as many as five different generations of employees present in larger organisations, ranging from baby boomers all the way through to millennials.

However, judging by most of the new learning and development (L&D) content being created today, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the millennial generation has taken over.

With millennials predicted to make up half the global modern workforce by 2020, increasingly millennial-focussed L&D programmes perhaps aren’t surprising, but they are misguided.

Mythbusting millennial stereotypes

There are many common myths surrounding millennials and their learning preferences. However, recent research suggests that many of them are simply untrue. For example, one of the most prevalent myths is that they don’t like reading books.

However, research found that millennials actually view digital books as a vitally important learning mode. They also have a preference for handouts and other written material, something typically associated with older generations.

Millennials may be the first true digital natives, but this doesn’t mean they are the primary drivers for new modern workforce practices and expectations. The truth is that technology, an accelerated pace of work and the changing nature of customer experience are the real drivers behind many of the new workplace practices seen today.

Effective training focusses on “modern learners”

One of the biggest issues with creating L&D programmes specifically targeting millennials is that they exclude many other members of the modern workforce. Instead, organisations should focus on meeting the training needs of a much broader, more diverse group, known as the modern learner.

Modern learners are ready and willing to take charge of their own development goals, but still have an expectation that their organisation will help to facilitate them. Herein lies one of the key challenges facing L&D professionals today.

Whereas in the past many L&D programmes were built around day-long training sessions and classroom learning experiences, modern workforce environments often do not allow for this.

The “always on” lifestyle, combined with the fast pace of business is driving a major trend towards bitesize digital learning that individuals can fit around other commitments.

Progressive L&D teams are already embracing this more informal learning culture by creating an ecosystem that provides diverse, yet personalised, learning.

Continue on the next page, where the six ingredients for teaching the modern workforce are revealed.

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