09 May 2019

Learning & Development Trends in 2019


Learning and Development (L&D) strategies evolve constantly, especially in today’s technology-driven learning environment, so it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse.

Keeping ahead of the curve while engaging new generations of employees (here’s looking at you, Generation Z) could be a HR nightmare if you are not up to speed with how to effectively support your team.

It also helps if you can keep a tight check on maximising your return on investment, particularly when the economic climate is so hard to predict.

However, sometimes peering into a crystal ball can help you to plan for the future. In this article, we look ahead to some trends that are going strong or picking up in the L&D space in 2019.

Communication: Bridging the Soft-Skills Gap

Professional development is about more than just providing the tools to deliver the job. Employees need to be equipped to tackle the challenges of working in increasingly collaborative work spaces, using both modern technology and their communication skills to tip the scales towards success.

Generation Z recruits – born between the mid-1990s until the early 2000s – in particular may benefit from a little extra support with their communication skills, while at the same time bring a wealth of technical expertise.

Deloitte’s 2018 human capital report noted that while communication technologies (such as Slack) may become all-important in the workplace, it will also be essential to ensure that the use of such new technologies fosters collaboration and leads to effective and productive ways of working.

With a little extra support developing their communication skills beyond technology-based communication, employees can look forward to delivering on organisational goals and making collaborative working a success!

AI: Rise of the Machines?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) brings with it a fear of robots taking over the world – and people’s jobs – but the reality may be far more nuanced than that. Deloitte’s 2018 human capital report identifies the rise of AI as a significant business trend for 2019, and we can expect AI to work in tandem with people, creating new opportunities for training and development.

AI applications are far more likely to enhance L&D experiences than drive them directly. For example, an application of AI in training solutions may recognise when valuable notes or past reviews may apply to the task at hand, or it might identify a chance to prompt an employee to return to an e-learning activity that relates to an upcoming challenge.

Some tasks, particularly physical ones, will inevitably become more automated across industries over time. Human beings, however, offer a wealth of creative and problem-solving potential that cannot be emulated by machines – at least not in a world where people have the last word.

The challenge will be to harness human and machine potential simultaneously, while keeping the workforce future-ready and keen to learn.

Gamification: More than Super Mario!

Gamification has been on the radar for a while, but now that it has taken popular culture by storm (anyone heard of Pokémon GO?) it is perhaps worth revisiting.

The concept of gamification can be off-putting to many business professionals. Admittedly, it does utilise the tools present in entertaining video games, but by doing so it is delivering one of the most engaging ways in which to learn – a distinction that is not always appreciated.

Investing in gamification enables your employees to learn alongside their colleagues as well as to set personal goals and targets. It might also help to boost your team’s productivity, enthusiasm and motivation. If the competitive enthusiasm of your colleagues can be roused by clocking steps on their pedometers or other smart step tracker at home, then why not utilise this motivation to engage your colleagues in a fun way?

Incentivising learning using points, leadership boards and cross-team collaboration might also benefit your colleagues indirectly as they communicate more effectively and become more comfortable with new technologies – both points that we have already shared above as important in 2019!

Mentorship: Win Loyalty and Retain Staff

Aligning L&D opportunities with mentorship support is a time-honoured approach that could help organisations to retain key employees. It might not be a new trend, but it is a consistently attractive one that is seeing a resurgence of interest from a generation looking to commit to an organisation that nurtures its talents.

According to a US survey of 5,000 young people from Generation Z, mentorship is the second most important benefit a company can offer (second only to health care). The survey also pointed to a 2016 study of Millennials (born in the 1980s and early 1990s), which found that twice as many Millennials who intended to stay with their company for more than five years also had a mentor.

Mentorship support may also help to ward off another issue that many companies experience: talent retention. If you can offer an inspiring environment in which to work and grow, employees may be willing to show loyalty rather than seek salary progression opportunities at less nurturing companies.

We may not know how Brexit will pan out or be able to predict the Lotto numbers, but we can confidently predict that communication skills, AI technologies, gamification and mentorship will feature strongly in training strategies over the coming year.

If you are looking for language training support, contact us today to find out how our cutting-edge L&D strategies can help you to get the best from your team.

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