Professional Development in 2020
In 2019, IBM discovered in a cross-national survey that more than 120 million workers in the world’s 12 largest economies may need to be retrained/re-skilled in the next 3 years as a result of intelligent/AI-enabled automation.
Looming Threats to Workplaces
While the number 120 million may seem fairly diluted when it comes to the potential impact it could have on the global economy, the reality is that 120 million people over the next 3 years is not the climax to some kind of a ‘blip in the radar for HR’, rather, it is the starting point for a much wider and far more disruptive paradigm shift.
As AI and intelligent technology grows more widespread over the course of the 2020’s, that 120 million will be nothing compared to the numbers that will follow as the trend intensifies.
The world is moving fast, and unless we provide more customized employee learning on a personal level and more targeted learning on an organizational scale, we all risk falling behind.
HOW CAN WORKPLACE LEARNING EVOLVE
To achieve greater business performance, professionals and companies must be prepared to answer several questions:
Are Learning Strategies Equipped to Meet the Demands of the Modern Business Landscape?
How can learning be activated to fill in the looming skills gap of professional development?
How can people’s employ-ability remain high amidst uncertain times?
How can we keep up with the rapid acceleration of our global pace when the impact of disruption can be so widely felt?
How can we perform learning at a pace and scale that is both impactful, adaptable and sustainable over time?
The Power of Modern Behavioral Learning in the Workplace
The ultimate goal of Behavioral Learning is to create and reinforce positive behaviors. Traditionally, this has been used to treat OCD, drug usage, anxiety, etc., but has recently become a growing use case as a valuable employee development and engagement tool. Instead of staying one step behind innovation, investing in an employee’s ability
to learn is the most impactful way to further their personal and professional development within an organization and community.
The Modern Workforce Needs ‘Soft Skills’
From the candidate stage to finishing the onboarding process, new employees want to know they will be equipped with resources that set them up for short and long-term success within their company, or beyond their time with an organization. Teaching these soft skills is not an accessory to business goals.
The ability to learn and do so quickly is a coveted trait that will become the premium currency of innovation
Hard Skills are soft (they change all the time, are constantly being obsoleted, and are relatively easy to learn), and Soft Skills are hard (they are difficult to build, critical, and take extreme effort to obtain. – Josh Bersin
Keys to a Successful Strategy
More than ever, viable behavioral learning solutions are accessible to people and organizations. This is in large part thanks to modern technology’s ability to meet the pre-requisites of a successful behavioral learning strategy, including:
Consistency & Sustainability
Like muscle memory for a world-class athlete, it is the cornerstone, the special ingredient, for behavioral learning.
Employees listed a lack of time as their number one reason for not engaging with their workplace’s learning resources.
having a structure in place to promote a ‘Culture of Learning’ is a must have for any behavioral learning program.
Ability to Scale
Unless a learning program has the ability to engage and develop a workforce at scale and meet the scope of your organizational community, it will flounder.
Consistency & Sustainability
Consistency and sustainability are perhaps the two most important aspects of behavioral learning, and are the areas where modern technology truly shines. The ability to get real-time nudges from a phone or computer, the smart use of AI, easily readable content meant to boost engagement, and the ability to deliver training in real-time, are all new avenues of learning that did not exist 20 years ago. Like muscle memory for a world-class athlete, it is the cornerstone, the special ingredient, for behavioral learning.
Microlearning is one of the most reliable methods of making learning engaging. Today’s employees don’t have chunks of time to devote to learning and development. According to a LinkedIn study, employees listed a lack of time as their number one reason for not engaging with their workplace’s learning resources. Bite-sized learning content that can be completed in three to five minutes, preferably in video or audio format, make larger training materials easy to digest without having to adjust their schedules.
Learning is best served when its impact on performance is clear and top of mind. If learning strategies add stress they will not be embraced and fail to achieve their intended purpose.
Peer-to-peer learning emphasizes mentoring and social learning, encouraging employees to learn from one another and share their accumulated knowledge. When building soft skills, it provides a human element that allows for employees to share their experiences, build working relationships, and facilitate knowledge transfer that can support an organization.
While this approach should be supplemented by more targeted development programs, having a structure in place to promote a ‘Culture of Learning’ is a must have for any behavioral learning program. Learning programs should be designed to empower the user/individual to meet learning goals even if they don’t always align with immediate financial returns.
Ability to Scale
Arguably the most important requirement to achieve organizational transformation. It takes more than sending through a cohort of program participants. The only way to truly foster a culture of continuous learning and positive performance change is to do so at every level of the workforce. It’s here that the impact of modern technology really is felt most.
The accessibility that tech provides allows employees as well as their employer, to track their personal and professional growth with the consistency required for positive behavioral change. Unless a learning program has the ability to engage and develop a workforce at scale and meet the scope of your organizational community, it will flounder and be a flash in the pan. If you can’t scale, why even try?
Positive Impacts of Behavioral Learning
The benefits of behavioral learning, beyond acquiring news skills and other positive changes that support business objectives, vary. Behaviors equip relationships, and organizational culture to create and execute innovative ideas with the pace and agility required by companies of the modern world. These benefits can be broadly witnessed and tracked in some of the following areas:
Engagement is a key benefit that stems from active Behavioral Learning programs. Employees who feel like they are actively engaging with their employer are more likely to stay with their organization, thus reducing turnover and the costs associated with it. Conversely, disengaged employees are less likely to contribute, negatively influence their coworkers, miss workdays, and even drive customers away.
When people are learning and growing, they always work harder and more effectively. They always strive to find better, more productive ways to work. In this kind of work environment, innovation emerges.
Personal and Professional Development
Behavioral learning satisfies a broad demand across the U.S. workforce for employers to invest more in the growth of its employees. This is particularly true for Millennials and its succeeding generations. Millennial and Generation Z are set to flood the workforce over the coming decade.
Increased ROI is an observable benefit from the engagement that comes with behavioral learning. Gallup notes the following stats as average numbers compared across multiple participating surveyed companies.
A Path Forward In 2020 And Beyond
In a world where uncertainty is the only certainty, preserving any sense of safety and trust is crucial to success. This is where connection between Compliance, Soft Skills, and Psychological Safety is a crucial and complex relationship that workplaces must master. A deeper investment in new learning strategies is vital to innovate through an uncertain business landscape in 2020 and beyond. Additionally, behavioral technology platforms can overcome issues of speed, agility and scale that has limited traditional solutions.
RevWork’s behavioral learning solutions have been built and evolved over decades of work and are fueled by an unwavering passion to make company culture better. Advances in science and AI are pioneering how we go about empowering companies and people to test new boundaries of innovation. Among the growing list of programs RevWork has rolled out to businesses worldwide include: Diversity and Inclusion, Remote Teams Engagement, Leadership Development, and Compliance.