By Christian Foerg, General Manager, Access Learning
Only two thirds of organisations currently feel that they have the capacity to effectively address skills gaps in their workforce. Whilst the recent rapid implementation of technology in people development has certainly improved the workplace learning offer in many organisations, this trend shows that leaders are still not hitting the nail on the head when it comes to supporting their employees with building core skills.
Amid revolutionary changes to the nature of our workplaces, expectations for the support that workers should receive from their employers have evolved. Organisations should be offering a fresh strategy for learning that meets the variety of demands on their workforce’s time, ensuring effective knowledge building in the least amount of time possible, and most importantly, engages them.
Making learning a part of everyday work
The modern learner has just 1% of a typical workweek to focus on training and development. It would be extremely difficult for managers to extend that time, as for every extra minute spent on learning, a minute must be lost in other areas of an employee’s work. The most effective path to walk is making those precious seconds count, by ensuring that learning is effective and efficient.
This begins with promoting a culture of learning within your organisation. When learning is valued by leaders as much as any other part of the day-to-day activities, employees are increasingly likely to use the time they dedicate to self-development productively. For today’s digital-forward workforce, promoting a culture of learning begins with a learning management system that is easy to use and offers relevant training for each individual member of staff. Such platforms must allow learners to see at-a-glance the courses they needed to complete, due dates and current progress. A streamlined approach incentivises employees to use their short career development time effectively, as it reduces the barriers to learning by ensuring that it fits around their other responsibilities.
Guaranteeing that learning sticks by gamifying the process
A recent Access People poll highlighted that three quarters of workers last learned from Google, TikTok or YouTube. Not long-term e-learning programmes, nor full-day training sessions: short, bite-size content that gets from source to end-user in a matter of seconds. Leaders cannot miss the boat on this one; how we learn has fundamentally changed.
To attract the short attention span of the modern learner, people development leaders should consider ‘gamifying’ existing learning strategies. Gamification can be defined as a process of adding game mechanics into nongame environments, which in this case could include adding gameshow-style quizzes to workplace learning courses, and, crucially, allowing learners to access programmes from their smartphones. Much like implementing a digital learning management platform, gamification reduces the barriers to learning by meeting the modern learner where they are and offering a training programme that meets their needs, therefore increasing engagement and improving information retention.
Making learning fun, accessible and relevant is crucial to motivating employees to reach their full potential. This is essential in today’s workplace environment, in which the Great Resignation has made offering a comprehensive learning and development programme a key aspect of employee retention, with companies increasingly differentiating themselves from each other on this aspect of the employee experience. Organisations who update their people development strategy to suit the modern learner can be sure to become more competitive and retain strong talent for the long run.
About the Author
Christian Foreg joined Access Learning as General Manager in 2021, with over two decades of experience as an HR and IT professional/executive across high-tech, chemical & retail industries. Most recently, he was responsible for the EMEA region at Saba, with an additional role as ‘Integration Executive’ – managing through the Cornerstone acquisition of Saba.