Employee development and training trends you need to know in 2020

Employee development and training

As we’ve looked at previously, over 120 million workers in the world’s 12 largest economies may need to be retrained or reskilled in the next three years, according to a study presented by IBM. There are no two ways about it – today’s employees (and organizations) need to be adaptable.

To assist employees in maintaining and developing the skills that they need for the future – both for the purpose of retention and for the growth and development of the organization – employers who haven’t already should consider making provision for employee training as they plan for the year ahead, and beyond.

In this article, we’ll look at the employee development and training trends that will take focus in 2020.

Employee development and training trends leading the way

According to an article by SHRM and experts in the learning and development domain, there are five key trends in development and training that employers and employees should take note of. We share our thoughts on each:

1. An increase in personalized learning

It’s the age of personalization – big data and analytics have made this possible for brands wanting to reach specific audiences, and employees expect no less from the organizations they work for. We’ve previously seen that even when it comes to rewards, employees want them to be personalized and appropriate to their lifestyles. So, it’s hardly any surprise that the emphasis on personalization is taking center stage in the field of training and development too.

With technology on trainers’ side, they’re able to assess a learner’s requirements and customize the content that will best suit that individual. This means that employers will be better equipped to identify where gaps exist, and employees will be able to most efficiently work towards their career goals and growth ambitions.

2. Tech companies will lead the way in on-the-job training

Getting a foot in the door in the professional world, or when changing career paths, can be a daunting (and sometimes seemingly impossible) task. It’s something of a catch-22 situation – individuals might be qualified to work in a certain role, but don’t have sufficient experience to be recognized or considered by organizations for a particular post. To close this gap, some companies do a great job of offering college graduates professional roles and coaching them into proficient employees.

As we mentioned in our blog on setting interns up for success, we all started somewhere, and you might be surprised at how much fresh perspective, skill, and valuable input interns can put forward, and how willing they are to learn and contribute. Give them (or other employees who are still building up their experience) tasks that will help them grow, learn, and showcase their potential.

The tech industry appears to be leading the way in this regard, and experts say we’ll see this becoming a trend in 2020.

3. Tech upskilling will keep ‘automation replacement’ at bay

There has been a lot of talk (and concern) over the past couple of years about how technology and automation might displace employees and leave many without jobs. While there will no doubt continue to be shifts in the way we do work, impacting which employee skills are most required on the job and which will no longer be high in demand, experts feel that it’s not quite as drastic as technology totally taking over from humans.

As seen in the SHRM article, Kara Hamilton, chief people and culture officer at Smartsheet, shares: “There is a sense that employees will get displaced [by technology], which we don’t believe to be true. Humans create technology, and we can all benefit from that, and it adds to the sense of meaningful work.”

What the rise of technological solutions does mean is that organizations need to ensure that their workforce is upskilled, particularly where gaps exist, in order to make the most out of using these platforms, adding value to their jobs and career growth.

Ultimately, when used with the right strategy and knowledge of how best to utilize the tool(s), technology has the power to positively transform the way business is done, increase efficiency, and save valuable time – which frees up employees to focus on important tasks.

In our recent blog on getting your employees to engage with your HR tech, we discussed the fact that the best way to leverage new technology is by first understanding the employee experience; ensuring that your strategy supports the technology you use (and vice versa); and selecting the tools that are the right fit for your organization – and then, of course, training your employees on maximizing its functionalities for the greatest efficiency.

4. A stronger focus on continuous learning, rather than once-off training

Considering the need for adaptability in our fast-paced world, it comes as no surprise that continuous learning is a trend that is taking off. Rather than getting employees involved in a once-off training event or course, organizations are seeing the need to offer ongoing training as a way of reinforcing knowledge, keeping information fresh, and offering employees a way to grow, learn, and enhance their skills on an ongoing basis. Since today’s employee wants the opportunity to advance in their career, this style of training acts as a great retention tool too.

This can easily be achieved through microlearning, which is increasingly being used by organizations to upskill their people. As we looked at in our ‘how-to’ blog on developing a culture of continuous learning, microlearning breaks course material up into smaller chunks and uses technology to present it to learners in a more engaging and interactive manner. This type of learning supports multi-device use, giving employees control over when and how they learn – an ideal solution for the modern professional.

5. Soft skills (otherwise known as power skills) will take top place

As referred to in our blog on facing the employee training challenges ahead, soft skills, which are strongly linked to behavior and emotional intelligence (EQ), are becoming all the more important in the workplace, especially considering the strong presence of technology. With demand shifting from technical skills (like analytics and computer and software skills) to behavioral skills (like flexibility, adaptability, time management and prioritizing skills), companies will need to adapt their training to take this into consideration and to best equip their employees to thrive in today’s professional environment.

We also know that it takes time to close a skills gap, so organizations can’t delay in getting themselves and their employees equipped for the appropriate skills for the future. This can be achieved through continuous learning, career mapping, developing an internal gig economy, and fostering connections through networking and mentorship. Read more here.

Helping you develop a culture of continuous learning in 2020 and beyond

Staying abreast of the latest trends and ahead of your competitors might seem like a challenge in our rapidly evolving professional world. But, with advanced technology like ours on your side, meeting modern employee development and training needs can easily be achieved. Talk to us about equipping your employees and your organization with the necessary skills and software for the future.

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