Today’s model for training, educating, and preparing our workforce is broken. The rapid acceleration of technology and changing workforce calls for something new. Workers today are disengaged and unprepared for work. But there are ways to fix that.
A New Generation of Workers
Gen Z currently makes up more than 40% of the working and consumer population. They are the first generation born into a post-internet world, which means they consume content in a different way from other generations including leveraging multi-screen solutions.
For companies looking to recruit and retain this talent, they need to be able to understand their wants and needs, namely flexibility, personal growth, and strong company culture.
Unfortunately, most companies have not adapted to suit the needs and skill sets of younger workers, so they have difficulty training, recruiting, and retaining top Gen Z talent.
It’s Just Too Easy
Today’s leadership has made learning, development, and training easy so they can meet their goals. But herein lies the problem: this approach makes training ineffective.
Leading cognitive science has proven that struggle is critical to memory. If we aren’t challenged when taking in new information, we don’t retain it.
Traditional training methods don’t challenge workers, which is why 70% of skills taught during live training are forgotten within three days and 87% of the skills are lost within 30 days.
Learning works when you struggle with something new, try it in different ways, connect it to what you already know, and finally get that “aha! moment.”
Building connections in the brain is a matter of practice at retrieving information and applying it over time. And there are difficulties that make learning stronger. The things that feel difficult.
Science proves that our brains can’t retain information and knowledge sufficiently by watching videos, reading manuals, or listening to hours of training sessions over teleconferencing.
Trial-and-error turns out to be highly effective for successful, long-term learning. But effective learning also requires frequent, low-stakes quizzing. Engaging in this activity after reading a text or listening to a lecture produces the best results for memory and retention, according to leading cognitive science.
It’s essential, though, for these quizzes to relate back to earlier material so that participants must pull older information back out and connect it to what they’ve learned more frequently.
Moreover, learning should be varied or randomized. When learning new things, scientists recommend mixing up the problem types. For example, if you’re trying to identify birds or paintings, the idea of seeing them in a random sequence might seem highly counterintuitive. Most people tend to assume they learn best when information is presented in a “block fashion,” but science has found the opposite to be true.
Digital Technology is Critical
With five generations of workers in today’s workforce, employers must find ways to better utilize technology. In fact, outdated tech makes job training not accessible to more than 80% of Americans.
Most Americans—96%—now own a cellphone of some kind. Yet less than 1% of corporate training is conducted on a mobile phone.
But by leveraging the latest technology, leaders can onboard new workers faster, upskill them better, and keep employees engaged and excited about work. Most Americans—96%—now own a cellphone of some kind. Yet less than 1% of corporate training is conducted on a mobile phone.
This is a major missed opportunity by employers, especially since research shows that “Americans today are increasingly connected to the world of digital information while “on the go” via smartphones and other mobile devices.” Contrastingly, only 74% of Americans own a desktop or laptop computer.
Aversion to mobile-first learning and development is a huge, missed opportunity for the 99% of employers who aren’t taking advantage of that one tool that employees today are able to utilize anytime, anywhere.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, companies around the world understood just how important it is to be digitally advanced in today’s workforce.
According to a recent study of more than 1,000 businesses from Deloitte the vast majority of companies that use digital tools have seen improved business performance and higher employment growth. In short, a correlation between performance and the level of digitalization.
Here are several other key takeaways from the Deloitte study:
- Organizations with an advanced use of digital tools are five times more likely to reach new international customers than their less digitally advanced counterparts.
- Digitally advanced businesses are three times more likely to create new products and services.
- Tech-savvy businesses are two times more likely to create jobs than those that don’t rely on technology as much.
If the pandemic offered one lesson for businesses across every sector, it’s that adapting to new and emerging tech is vital for staying competitive in today’s rapidly changing global economy.
Employers who want to tap into the full potential of their talent and their businesses need to lean into emerging tech to stay ahead of the curve, keep employees engaged, and to stay relevant in this business environment.
Employing Engaging Training Methods
Jobs and the workforce are rapidly changing, and companies are struggling to find workers who can keep up.
A major concern with training today is that most people don’t want to do it. Outdated learning management systems, which are forced onto people, not only produce low voluntary participation, but they also result in weak long-term retention.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall employee turnover rate as of 2021 is just over 57%. Employers should be worried about our nation’s increasingly high levels of employee turnover.
But the good news is that more than 77% of turnover is preventable by creating happy, connected, and engaged employees who want to stay in their jobs long-term.
So, what do workers want?
First, employers need to think about who their employees are, what the work environment is like, and what would help to motivate them the best.
One way we have seen employees engage with their employers is through games: because who doesn’t love games?
Gamification is the process of applying game elements into non-game contexts to engage and motivate users by making real-world tasks more fun. Gamification shares similar mechanics of games addressing specific real-world challenges with the things that we learn from games.
As with any other training strategy, gamification has seen its fair share of criticism, as well as misconception.
But if everyone could understand the true purpose of gamification it can be an exciting approach that enables users of all ages and backgrounds to become more engaged and excited in the workplace.
Gamification tactics need to correspond to the training program and business goals of your organization. Think about who your employees are, what your work environment is like, and what would help to motivate them the best. Then use specific gamification tactics that fit those standards: and use them regularly.
Second, employers need to support their staff and allow for the freedom to learn and upskill anytime, anywhere. Enhanced distance learning is essential for all employees, especially those that are time poor.
By providing workers the tools, ability, and freedom to continually upskill and engage with all types of content, employers can prepare every member of their team to level up for the workforce of today and the workforce of the future.