You’ve drafted the email and you’ve structured the content; it reads positively. You’ve decided on the subject line “Professional Development – training company wide, all locations”.
You hit send, wait for the groans across your office and get ready to pre-empt the negative water-cooler conversations.
Why such a reaction? Your people should be pleased their organisation is taking their development seriously, right?
Well, it’s probably because the training involved isn’t in-line with expectations.
Earlier last year, LinkedIn Learning published the Workplace Learning Report, where over 500 learning executives were surveyed to better understand the state of L&D.
Among the findings, 78% said the most commonly used method for training is still the traditional in-person, classroom model – even though 52% of employees prefer to be able to access learning they need whenever they need it.
Coordinating face-to-face training isn’t easy especially if you are working company-wide and across physical locations. Nailing dates and booking meeting rooms for the masses as well as equipment and catering is not a walk in the park. Hiring trainers, printing collateral and emailing attendees cries out for a project plan. This resource-hungry approach to workplace learning needs justification.
Employees reluctantly attend pre-scheduled training, not at the point of need, and are expected to learn from ppt slides and handouts. Don’t get us wrong, face-to-face can have benefits in the right scenario but we should not use what Daniel Kahneman identified as ‘System 1’ thinking to default to this approach over other options such as virtual classrooms.
But still, why such a reaction?
A recent infographic from ZEQR confirms 90% of students think online learning is the same or better than the traditional classroom experience – this is in advance of them entering the working world.
67% of people now use mobile devices to access learning, and 87% of millennials say their smartphone never leaves their side. Mobile devices provide online access to personal networks, the Internet and any resource Googleable. Answers to questions, undiscovered facts and learnings are available at point of need, whenever that may be.
We don’t take a day off to Google everything unknown to us that we’ve mentally noted over the last six months. We utilise our devices and learn at that point in time – and we remember such information because it is a short, sharp burst of knowledge to retain.
The digital shift that has taken place – and that millennials (those entering the workplace) have been born into – means the ‘face-to-face-only’ L&D department is a thing of the past. The daily digital interaction we all adopt means our attention span has reduced and we want access to everything – now, not at a pre-scheduled point in time.
A risk to businesses is that if this consumer approach to life isn’t reflected within the workplace, employees will find an employer that can provide it. Long gone are the days of brand commitment and dedication to one company for fifteen years…
The digital shift
As consumers we are fully absorbed by the digital shift that has taken place and yet some organisations lack the understanding that such a shift has created a behavioural change. As consumers we lead the retail market and as employees we self-direct our learning.
A day’s training when we don’t need it isn’t going to drive positivity, whereas an online half-hour training session accessible via a mobile, at the point of need, is going to inspire, fulfil and motivate. There is real need for all organisations to transform their training now to ensure staff develop in line with their expectations.
Transforming workplace training
Seeing a subject line “Professional Development – training company wide, all locations” should engage every employee throughout their employment. They should receive an initial email during their induction period as part of the onboarding process – that their new employer takes their professional development seriously and understands the value of online learning, via a virtual classroom for example.
You hit send and wait for the reply that THANKS YOU for the online link, username and password to a repository of training sessions, accessible at any time via any device.
Why such a reaction? Your time-poor colleagues are pleased their organisation is taking their development seriously.