By Rob Wells, Managing Director, Workday Australia and New Zealand.
Millennials continue to dominate the media agenda, particularly when it comes to conversations around the future of the workforce. This new generation of digital natives arrive into the world of work with a fundamentally different outlook and set of expectations. They grew up hard-wired to digital, with instant, intuitive tools which shaped their perception of the world. Which begs the question, how do the baby boomer and Gen X employees fit into this new world as it begins to transform to cater for the new generation?
HR leaders have their work cut out for them, trying to engage no fewer than five workforce generations. This is about more than just ticking off learning compliance programs. HR must get to grips with employee development, and organisations must find the right technology to appropriately reskill and right-skill workers.
Technology innovation, particularly within the fields of automation and machine learning, is changing how we work and employees are now seeking more diverse work experiences. HR leaders will need to create a sustainable and collaborative culture of learning in order to meet both employee and organisational needs.
Reskilling the workforce requires a shift in mindset and an understanding that HR leaders will need to embrace the curation of content and move away from being conduits for organisational learning. The following strategies can serve as a guideline for those looking to reimagine their learning programs.
Create personalised employee experiences
If we think about how employees view content on their own personal devices, such as Netflix or Facebook
, it’s increasingly important than ever to deliver content in a way that’s personalised. For example, offering recommendations on content based on interests or new job roles makes sure that content is relevant—which has long been the missing piece in workplace learning.
HR systems will need to be smarter, more intuitive, and more connected in order to filter, target, and deliver content that reflects each individual employee’s specific needs and interests, and enables them to receive training and educational content that will help them grow.
Navigate the (L)Earning Curve
Just as earning power is intrinsically linked to the level of academic study completed, the same can be said about attitudes to work. What we call “chameleon employees” who are always ready to learn and open to meeting new challenges head on are going to see their stock rise in a world that is increasingly dynamic.
Organisations will need to harness the power of innovative systems that offer a variety of learning experiences to engage and retain employees.
Make learning personal and shareable
Learning should flow freely throughout the enterprise, and employees should to be able to create and share their own knowledge. Above all, learning should be personal and intrinsically tied to each individual person’s unique goals, aspirations, and career path.
Here’s an example of how a modern learning experience can make a difference: There might be an everyday procedure that’s unique to your company and critical to your business. While writing a quick-help guide could take someone a few hours, it may only take a few minutes for a knowledgeable employee to record a “how-to” on her or his smartphone and create a walk-through video for a colleague. Or, an executive could do the walk-through video and securely share this knowledge with employees across the company.
Crowdsource your organisation’s knowledge
As companies face the skills shortage, the importance of capturing and storing knowledge from employees within the organisation and delivering that back to the rest of the business via learning technology becomes increasingly important. This is most easily achieved via user-generated content, such as the employee-generated video mentioned earlier; On the flip side, people want to be recognised for sharing their knowledge to colleagues as way to build reputational capital.
Much like social media sites or YouTube, users themselves—whether they create content or not—become an integral a part of the curation process. Highly rated learning content can move to the top of people’s recommended watch list, and HR leaders can examine trends from across departments and geographies to better understand what’s resonating and can glean best practices in content creation.
As technology continues to evolve, organisational imperatives change and workforce needs fluctuate, so Learning and Development must also innovate. Finding and retaining talent is about meeting the needs of different generations, and understanding that learning is a two-way street. It is about engaging the workforce to invest, not only in their own development, but in the learning and development
of employees across the company. Gone is the one-way ‘push’ approach to learning where HR leaders were conduits, driving content to passive employees in a box-ticking approach. Instead HR becomes the conductor of the orchestra, inspiring every learner in a curation process which inspires and engages employees through fantastic content.