As a CLO, I spend a lot of time talking to learning leaders from a variety of industries, going to conferences and trade shows, reading industry research and blogs. Phrases like “content explosion,” “fragmented learning” get used a a lot, supporting the common sub-text that L&D is experiencing a massive shift in how their employees learn at and for work. It’s important to consider and embrace what’s happening in the marketplace, and organizations that do will see there is a big opportunity to elevate both their talent and L&D’s reputation to one that drives key business performance.

Last week, I wrote part 1 of the 2-part series on the top four trends disrupting the workforce in 2017. The first two trends identified are different generations in the workforce and the rise in digital technology.

Here are the remaining two:

3. Rate of change is moving faster than ever before

Since things are changing faster than ever before, businesses must stay agile. Dutton talked about eBay’s evaluation of current programs since splitting from PayPal, and their decision to start over with their learning strategy. They stopped doing a lot of the traditional learning that they had done in the past including multi-day programs geared just for leaders or top talent. Now, they strive to serve all employees, and  have launched a few new tools including Degreed and Career Navigator. They are choosing to engage with employees and teams using Slack because that’s where a lot of the engineers already spend their time.  eBay is also focusing more on coaching for leaders, having employees and leaders engage in more impactful career and performance conversations.  Learning is being recognized as a journey through talent communities, and the learning organization is adjusting to meet people where they are rather than taking them out of their natural work flow.

4. A new relationship between employees and employers

Gone are the days where people spent their whole careers at one company.  According to Gallup, 60% of millennials say they are open to a new job opportunity, and according to the recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person works for 4.4 years in one job. This is a major shift in work expectations – a shift we as learning professionals have to be thinking about.

During the discussion with the CLO community, we discussed the gig economy, (think freelance workers or Uber drivers) the contingent workforce, (contractors) and how those new models affect the employee/employer relationship.

A recent Forbes article states that by 2020, about 40% of Americans will be part of the gig economy. According to Dan Schawbel, “The trends that have created the gig economy include: the rise of freelancing, the access of technology (especially on the mobile phone), the impact of the recession and the desire to have “side-gigs” and flexibility. For employers, the gig economy allows them to hire on-demand, lower costs and have more competition for talent.”

So when we think about the skills gap and how we are going to help people build their skills for now and the future, we need to think about how employees actually work. Learning can be a big competitive advantage if you are a company that will invest in your employee’s skills regardless of whether they stay one year or ten years.  Career paths and helping all employees develop their skills, even if they don’t stay at your company long term, is a growing and beneficial trend.

These four workforce trends are changing role of learning leaders and it’s important to keep them in mind when thinking about your future learning strategy. eBay, like a lot of other companies, has realized that to keep talent and to help all employees develop skills quickly, they needed to think about learning differently, move more quickly and iterate, and be more agile overall with learning.

At it’s core, being successful in learning today means embracing your workforce – meeting people where they are and giving them learning when they need it. Want to know what your workforce was interested in in 2016? Check out What the World Learned in 2016.

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