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Establishing Employee Development Programs in the “New Normal”

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Business people working in board room

Many employee development programs have been reduced, altered or sidelined since the pandemic. Overcoming business issues such as supply chain disturbances, cost increases, loss of sales and more meant training program budgets were slashed.

As we emerge from the pandemic fall-out and hit our stride in the “new normal,” training managers and human resources professionals are reimagining employee development programs. How can training be designed to meet workforce needs and organizational demands in an unsteady marketplace? What about in-person versus online learning?

The short answer is that training programs must be flexible and aligned with how people work. Think of smaller, bite-sized learning sessions that fit into an employee’s workflow, allowing them to easily digest information and minimize their time offline.

Maximize employee learning and meet your training ROI expectations by employing these three training tips for establishing employee development programs in this new era.

1. Personalized Training


It has long been understood that not everyone learns the same way. Historically, employee development programs took this into account to a degree. Learning tracks incorporated the three recognized learning styles - visual, auditory and kinesthetic - and instructed a group of people concurrently, with everyone following the program at the same time.

Today’s training programs infuse differences in learning into their design. Employees are not taught the same concepts in identical fashion and timing. Rather, training is personalized for each worker based on established learning goals.

In this model, employees collaborate with supervisors and mentors to establish training objectives that reflect their current roles and skills, as well as their aptitudes and envisioned career paths.

While this approach can be time intensive, it is offset with the time savings of employees not undergoing training on skills they already have or do not need for their jobs. Maintaining and nurturing talent through a personalized training program is another major compensation for the resource investment in such a program.

Pro Tip: Save time on personalized training programs by relying on technological automation wherever possible.

2. Anticipate and Close Skills Gaps


With technological innovations precipitating ongoing transformations to the labour force and skills requirements for specific positions, it is little wonder that half of all human resources professionals report a widening skills gap in their organizations. Business leaders are looking at their workforce with concern, wondering - do my workers have the skills required to execute our proposed business strategies?

The answer to these looming questions is upskilling and reskilling. Upskilling gives workers the tools to adapt to on-the-job changes, typically related to the adoption of new technologies, the automation of work, or shifts in organizational structure and direction. On the other hand, reskilling prepares employees for a lateral move or promotion, giving them the abilities to take on new challenges.

To stay competitive as an organization with a capable workforce, business leaders must anticipate the skills employees need for success. Stay ahead of skills gaps before they turn into major breaches by monitoring the intersection of business trends, emerging technologies and staffing needs. Keep an eye on all skill types, from industry-specific and safety-related, to generalized business aptitudes and soft skills.

3. Brief Learning Sessions Compatible with Workflows


Employees appreciate training that is targeted to them and gets to the point. Your workers are busily juggling competing deadlines and priorities with their training requirements. So make employee development programs fit into their tight schedules.

Microlearning is one such tool. This approach is defined by focused learning events that are broken down into sessions as short as a few minutes. The content is value-add and meaningful. It can also be accessed in the moment of need.

Images, videos and infographics are typically used in microlearning models. Because it is condensed, microlearning is best suited for less complex concepts and skills. Employee onboarding and compliance training work well in microlearning formats, for example.

For more comprehensive coursework, longer training formats are more appropriate than microlearning, which can become too fragmented in elongated tracks. That said, microlearning can supplement or reinforce concepts introduced in other employee development programs, such as online or hybrid training.


Creating a Winning Employee Development Program

Smart learning and development leaders are exploring ways to create adaptive training experiences that are responsive to organizational requirements and employees’ needs. Such employee development programs in the “new normal” promote superior information retention and productivity, while closing skills gaps.

You can develop a more successful training program today by assessing your workforce and incorporating these tips into your plans. With so many upheavals to training employee development programs in the last few years, many training managers will find they have a lot of work cut out for them. Priority Management is here to help.

Priority Management has four decades of experience in personalizing training programs for teams around the world in all matters of skills development. From optimizing your team’s use of Microsoft Suite to enhancing core business abilities - such as project management and communications, Priority Management is your turnkey training partner. Regardless of the topic or the audience we have one main focus: driving real-world benefits and measurable outcomes.

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