Over the past year, leaders learned (if they didn't know it already) that companies that can reinvent themselves are better positioned to weather crises and thrive. Even when the pandemic ends, though, organizations must continue to give their teams the tools they need to be resilient and able to cope with uncertainty and adapt, so that the efforts made throughout the past year can be sustained and amplified.
When it comes to professional development and leadership courses, it's often the case that the most memorable learning experiences come not from the curriculum but from the interactions among the participants. That's why the most successful learning programs usually have a strong, in-person component. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has limited that option and forced companies to rethink how to do their training.
Long before the pandemic forced everyone into working from their kitchens, home offices, or bedrooms, the world was very much on its way to eliminating the need for conventional workspaces. Today's younger generations have grown up in digital environments and already feel pretty comfortable doing much of their work online. But even though those digital natives probably find the prospect of working from home less intimidating than many members of older generations, in 2020 people of all ages are facing the same challenge: familiarizing themselves with the digital workplace.
Professional development and training can yield huge benefits, which is one reason why 94 percent of employees want to work at companies that offer such opportunities.1 However, a heavy workload may discourage the development of new skills: when employees feel they have to complete projects first, training can take a back seat. Microlearning is one option that can help workers (and organizations) strike a balance between learning and work obligations. Because it helps employers offer more training in less time, microlearning can provide the kind of development employees want without cutting into their work time and without requiring companies to invest in pricy corporate training sessions.
Amid rapid advancements in technology, employee expectations of consumer-like experience and engagement, and a quickly shifting economy, companies are looking for ways to gain a competitive advantage with their people. This puts the spotlight directly on HR. Professional development is important for everyone but is especially critical for businesses to think about when creating learning and growth opportunities for an existing workforce.
Executives increasingly see investments in “upgrading workforce skills, especially retraining midcareer workers” as an urgent business priority in the near future, thanks to increasing growth in automation and digitization.1 This challenge lies at the heart of training and development for the existing workforce: companies will need employees prepared to move up within the organization.