As 2017 draws to a close and workplace training continues to evolve, Samantha Caine, Head of Client Services at Business Linked Teams, shares her predictions for 2018
Workplace training has always had a strong influence on the success of a business since the early days of classroom training. Things have certainly come a long way since then, but with accelerated technological change disrupting businesses to the very core in recent years, training methods have had to catch up quickly.
If 2017 has taught us anything, it’s that organisations are playing close attention to developments in workplace training, with many questioning whether e-learning will fully replace face-to-face training. As an advocate of blended training solutions that combine elements of both e-learning and face-to-face training, it’s not a difficult question to answer, and no matter how many times the question is asked, it’s always satisfying to see that so many organisations are committed to finding the right solutions for their workforces.
So, as 2017 draws to a close, what’s in store for workplace training in 2018? The following predictions should help organisations prepare for the next steps in the ongoing evolution of workplace training.
1. There will be a greater focus on technical skills
There’s no denying it – technology hasn’t just changed the game, it’s changed every game. Every industry, every organisation and every job function will have been impacted by technology in one way or another and as the fourth industrial revolution continues to disrupt, organisations must ensure that their workforces are tech-literate if they to remain competitive and agile in their respective industries.
As new workplace technologies continue to emerge, it is vital that organisations roll out regular training programmes as each new technology is implemented. This will avoid time lost by employees struggling to master new technologies and processes and will also provide individuals with cross-functional capabilities, enabling them to undertake other responsibilities within the organisation as and when is necessary.
In order to leverage new technologies and lead in their industries, organisations must take the relevant measures to ensure that employees are comfortable, confident and capable with any new technology that is implemented. Fortunately, technology has also improved the way in which training programmes can rolled out and digested by individuals and there are plenty of blended solutions available that can be tailored to each individual organisation to help it achieve the best possible results.
2. Remote working will lead to remote training requirements
With studies suggesting that it increases efficiency and reduces employee turnover, it seems that remote working is on the rise. According to World Economic Forum forecast of employment trends, flexible working is quickly becoming one of the biggest drivers of transformation in the workplace.
Virtual working from remote locations is becoming increasingly feasible thanks to increased connectivity and online working platforms, but working from home could require organisations to provide remote employees with new or improved skillsets that ensure they’re still able to perform their roles in their chosen working locations. There will always be a requirement for improved skillsets as organisations and job functions develop and while these have traditionally been rolled out in the workplace, continuing development of skillsets and behaviours will require training solutions that can be rolled out remotely.
Organisations rolling out remote training solutions must ensure that online training platforms cater for those working in areas with poorer connectivity and lower bandwidths. Selecting a solution that ensures those in areas with poorer internet coverage can still access online learning content with ease will help to develop a lean workforce, no matter how dispersed it is.
3. A hard push on soft skills
While organisations are embracing technology, the headlines have been awash with outcries over certain technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation depleting job opportunities for humans, and even taking over existing functions. However, a recent survey by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) asked 10,000 people about their views on the workforce of the future and revealed that 73 percent of the respondents don’t believe that technology can really replace the human mind.
For now, we know that there is truth in this argument because machines simply cannot replicate the soft skills that make individuals model employees, such as sales, communication and leadership skills. As technology makes the daily operations and functionalities easier for organisations and employees, there is an opportunity to place greater focus on soft skills, meaning that organisations can bolster their positions with stronger technical capabilities layered with the exemplary soft skills required to excel in their industries.
As the dust of settles and organisations take stock of everything that they achieved in 2017, they must also consider the challenges that the new year will bring, including how to deploy the most effective training programmes possible in order to thrive in a rapidly changing business environment. By keeping on top of workplace trends and engaging with training providers that can provide tailored solutions with a forward-facing blended approach, they can leave 2018 looking back at a year in which the workforce found a steady footing in an ever-changing world.