#ICYMI: 2016 is The Year of Enablement

In case you missed it, New York Fashion Week wrapped up this week. For all you non-fashionistas, NYFW is everything in the fashion world. The world’s leading fashion houses (and super models) take the stage, debuting their new line of clothes, accessories and styles. Everyone ohhs and ahhs. Trends are born. Art is inspired. Bloggers go nuts. Bank accounts are drained. You get the gist.

 

What on Earth does NYFW have to do with learning, technology or the workforce?

 

Everyone loves a hot, new trend. And the fashion industry, like technology, is constantly evolving and growing. Some trends are fleeting, while others are here to stay.

 

Each year researches and analysts gather information and data to predict the trends and technologies that will have a significant impact the workforce.

 

What are some of the hottest trends hitting the HR technology scene?

New Gallup research shows employee engagement rates haven’t really changed, remaining stagnant at 32% in 2015 (it was 31.5% in 2014), and organizations are still scrambling trying to figure out what to do to turn it around. Bersin sees a maturing market for well-being, wellness, and productivity systems and in the U.S. unemployment rate is at the lowest it’s been since 2008 (5%), but the average salary increase isn’t budging.

 

As productivity plateaus, leadership development, retention, and engagement all rank top concerns among HR and business leaders.

 

That’s why Christa Manning, Principal Analyst at Eudemonia, has dubbed 2016 The Year of Enablement. Learning and development (L&D) departments are directly impacted by these workforce trends, and are faced with the reality that it’s time to rethink their approach to career development and skills training.

 

This week, Manning presented a webinar featuring the top 5 trends that learning and development teams should get on board with to help enable and empower their teams. They are:

  1. Address the employee experience – Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all training programs. Learning leaders need to think about the holistic learning experience. In a world where users can virtually Google anything to gain skills an information, L&D departments need to step up their game and think about different, more engaging ways to enhance the user experience.
  2. Embrace the extended enterprise – Nearly one in three (31%) of the global working population today classify themselves as free agents. That means organizations need to reevaluate how they’re delivering training to their extended enterprise (partners, customers, resellers, franchises) who are representing their brand. Training and skills development shouldn’t be limited to internal folks. L&D departments should think about how and where they can extend their learning programs to their external audience.
  3. Facilitate the who, not just the what – Social learning communities are generating more engagement, adoption and knowledge absorption, which makes sense; people learn from each other. Organizations need to ensure their learning technology offers social features that allow users to contribute, collaborate and share knowledge.
  4. Curate the contributors – It’s no secret that there is an abundance of content out there for people to consume, but when it comes to learning, it’s quality over quantity. Filling a learning management system (LMS) with thousands of pieces of content isn’t the way to deliver learning. L&D departments need to identify what they need, curate content and partner specific content providers who can deliver that information. (Shameless plug: OpenSesame is a fantastic content provider if you’re in the market for one!)
  5. The comeback of customization – Learning departments need to think about how they brand their corporate training software. When the user logs in does it look and feel like the company’s brand? Or does it look totally disjointed? To get users active and engaged, the learning platform should represent the company’s values, strategy and goals.

 

Looking for more information on the top trends? Download Powering Productivity and Potential: Learning Trends 2016 for more research and case studies on how learning leaders are tackling major workforce challenges this year!

 

How to Become a Learning Leader in 2016

Resolutions for Your Learning and Development Function

In order to be successful and stay competitive, organizations need to re-invest in their learning strategies in 2016.

 

We sat down with Kris Dunn, CHRO at Kinetix and Founder of Fistful of Talent, to get his insight into the top 5 areas that Learning and Development organizations need to focus on this year.

 

Getting Organized and Understanding the Trends

Being organized is a no brainer, but what trends should you be focusing on for 2016?

  • Leadership development becoming a growing part of L&D and now claims on average 35% of training budgets
  • Increasing efforts to expand training offerings beyond onboarding and creating a culture of continuous learning
  • Just-in-time learning is a must, but most training and development activities aren’t small enough to be effective

 

Becoming a Better Marketer of Your L&D Offerings

Building engaging learning content that no one knows about will get you nowhere. A big part of marketing is making sure that you are sending the right message to the right audience. To the business unit, make sure you are describing how the training will solve their need for increased performance and engagement. To the individual employee, make sure you let them know how your training offerings can help them progress in their career.

 

Need more tips? Check out the “Why Learning and Marketing Should Be BFFs” whitepaper for additional insight.

 

Learning and Development with an Eye on Retaining Top Performers

Most good to great performers leave at the 1-3 year mark of tenure. For learning, this means it is time to stop investing in under-performers and make sure that the right learning and development opportunities are being offered to the at-risk, high performers. This can mean anything from a learning path of internal content to help them progress in their career, or opportunities for broader professional development with third parties.

 

Investing in Managers of People

There is no question that managers who are perceived by employees as overly “bad” or “good” can have a dramatic impact on performance, workplace stress and overall retention. But what should organizations be training managers on? Delivering feedback and coaching, goal setting and performance management are a good place start.

 

Reinforcing the Culture of Your Company with L&D

This resolution can be misleading – it is less about focusing on “culture” as a set of values and behaviors that you want to reinforce, and more about operationalizing learning to ensure alignment with the groups or areas that are of high importance and focus for the organization as a whole. A good place to start? Focus on the people and functional areas that deliver results and contribute directly to revenue.

 

View the webinar replay for all of Kris’ great advice on how your L&D department can be a leader in learning this year!