Flexibility is an expected facet of the modern workplace. With many companies now having to manage an “elastic workforce,” training content that keeps the workforce focused and engaged can be challenging. Let’s take a closer look at how to keep a distributed workforce engaged and growing, while improving productivity and improving employee satisfaction. That’s a tall order!
Learning Realities in the Elastic Workforce
Before we begin, here’s a broad overview of the realities of training an elastic workforce.
- Workplace Flexibility
In today’s workforce, flexibility is no longer a perk and working from home is often no longer a benefit – it’s become a requirement when managing an elastic workforce.
When communicating and collaborating with people from different time zones, setting up the simplest training event while keeping the workforce focused can be challenging.
- Learning On the Go
Workforces are on mobile. They want to learn on the move and on demand. To truly engage with today’s elastic workforce, companies need to offer a learning system that adapts to the modern learner. Employees expect to be able to do their work, learn on the go, and have access from anywhere they want to be. Your content must be mobile, mobile friendly, and accessible at any time.
The workforce between the ages of 20-60 prefers self-paced learning. They tend to expect, and anticipate, self-direction. It’s less of a curriculum approach and more of a learn-on-demand approach.
- Career Fluidity
Millennials typically change jobs every 24 months and a majority of them will have 10 jobs in their lifetime. In addition, many of today’s employees remember a time when compensation was a top consideration for joining that workforce. That is no longer the case. Instead, it’s knowledge, improving skill sets, and being equipped for the next thing.
Training an Elastic Workforce – Where to Start
Considering the above realities of learning, it’s no surprise that learning content strategy has had to evolve as well. In order to effectively train people who are never present at the same time, you must first go back to the beginning. Start by finding out what problems you are trying to solve. Then you need to develop your learning personas; the different types of people that you’re creating content for.
The next thing you need to do is examine the state of your content and your timeline. Your content needs to be accessible, flexible, portable, and shareable. It needs to be easily distributed and speedily upgraded. Then you also need to look at your delivery strategy. Are you using traditional elements or are you using an LMP or an LXP, and how are you meeting your learners at their point of need? You want to make your content available and convenient.
Before you get to the problem-solving you need to think about solutions that you can put into action. You will need to think about the problem from the bottom up instead of the top down when you’re coming up with your solutions. That doesn’t mean you throw out everything you’ve ever learned, but it also means that you can’t be stuck to it either. Change is so fast across all fronts and you need to evolve with it. You can’t just stick to what worked before or you’ll get left behind and your workforce will leave you behind.
Knowing Your Audience:
Once you’ve defined your problem, you need to define who your audience is, and this becomes critical when you have an elastic workforce. You must divide your learners up and learn a lot more about them and their different personas. As you’re designing your learner, you’re thinking about how effective your training is going to be for them. You’re going to reiterate, repeat, and fine-tune until you find the perfect training for every persona of your elastic workforce.
Developing and Sharing Interactive Content
In order to effectively train, it’s crucial to have content that speaks to the learners’ personas. What is the source of your content? Are you going to democratize the process; are you going to have one person designing all the training, or are you going to take input from a lot of different areas and let other employees and coworkers help train each other?
It’s also beneficial for the content to be interactive. Study after study shows that learning sticks more when you must engage with it. Another important factor for your content is making it shareable, and ultimately reusable.
There’s no pausing to catch up when your workforce is elastic. Speed and keeping up with their needs are what keeps your employees around because they have a lot of other options out there. You need to keep your content relevant for your learner. Always check your links and check the data that’s in your training, make sure your content is fresh and up-to-date.
Finally, it is important to choose a technology that’s going to adapt and change with you in the future. Adapting training methods to meet the needs of your flexible and elastic workforce will help increase engagement, knowledge, and productivity. It is crucial that companies remain relevant and credible in today’s ever-changing workforce. This requires staying up-to-date on the latest software and tools available for learning and instructional design – like knowbly™. To learn more about the newest cloud-based authoring application for interactive design – request a demo or sign up for a free trial.