As the workforce becomes more competitive, it can be beneficial and challenging for both candidates and businesses. Rising technology complexity, increasing consumer demands, non-traditional work models, and remote work are creating multigenerational and diverse workforces that require a new type of virtual leadership training.
For businesses, the increasing resignations and labor shortages can create talent gaps in necessary roles. It’s a critical time for employers to focus on teaching current employees more skills, in addition to searching for outside hires. Skills can become outdated quickly with emerging technology, so investing in a workforce that’s willing to learn and grow is worth its weight in gold.
But devoting time to training is increasingly challenging. It’s difficult to fit time for training into busy employee schedules, especially as teams take on the work of vacant job roles. Employees can’t be neglected or ignored in light of business challenges, however.
Challenges with Manager Development
Businesses are struggling with a reduced workforce from mass resignations, increased consumer demands, skills gaps, and labor shortages. All of this means employees are forced to wear many hats, take on new roles and tasks, and struggle to get all their work done in a day. If workloads and time are already constrained, there’s little left over to spend on learning and development efforts for employees.
Another challenge is remote and hybrid workforces. Though virtual training opportunities exist, it’s more difficult to keep employees engaged and on the same page with training. Remote teams usually can’t attend in-person workshops, and may even be on a flexible schedule that makes asynchronous learning more challenging.
There will always be challenges, so how can we strike a balance between day-to-day demands and employee growth and development.
Ensure that Content is Timely and Relevant
Training and development are excellent for employee satisfaction, but only if the topics are something they want. If your training program is poorly suited or outdated, your manager may be thinking it’s not worth the time they’ll devote to it. Employees are also more likely to become disengaged with boring training programs if they feel that they’re not going to get anything out of it.
Make sure the training content is timely and relevant. It needs to provide value to the manager to get them on board. If it seems arbitrary or like something handed down as a box to check, they may not fully engage with it.
Consider asking your team for feedback and recommendations. What do they think they need to work on? What topics and programs would they like to see offered?
Consider breaking up the training by levels to ensure that it’s not over- or under-whelming for your employees. In all likelihood, a manager has a wider skill set than a junior employee, so tailor the training to those skills. Consider the fundamental skills you could develop in your junior employees, new manager training, and your rising leaders, then develop programs that cater to each of them.
Clarify the Career Connection
With employee training and development, make sure your employees know what’s in it for them. Discuss the training in the context of larger skill development and long-term growth. ensure that your employees know that it’s not a one-off effort, but an investment in ongoing training and development.
You should have a strategy in place to discuss with them and include them in the conversation. Plan mandated, manager-led career conversations at least twice a year, if not more. Think through the whole year and include topics that align with your employees’ needs, your development resources, and your current budget for training.
Prolonged in-person training that combines live interactions with hands-on practice can do wonders for employee engagement. But take that and turn it into a video conference or an extended training series, and you may have a lot of employees falling asleep.
We’re just not designed to learn that way. Microlearning addresses the engagement problem and the scheduling concerns to deliver better training in bite-sized chunks.
The idea behind microlearning is that it’s broken into small portions and delivered via digital learning platforms. Unlike other online learning programs, which usually include long videos and activities designed to be completed in one session, microlearning uses brief, frequent interactions via modules to improve learning, retention, and engagement.
With microlearning, employees can learn a new skill within hours – or even minutes. Microlearning also offers options for different learning styles and presents the material in a way that’s suited to the subject. For example, some programs may have a combination of video and reading, while another may have an interactive model.
If you’re considering including microlearning into your employee training and development, search for management training programs whose formats are flexible and succinct to fit in with busy manager schedules. Remember, time constraints are tight and attention spans may be short, so your managers are likely even less tolerant of outdated or boring content.
When you’re considering your options, ask for referrals and suggestions from your network. You’re not alone in your struggles to fit employee training and development into increasingly strained schedules, and you could save time and money by asking others about the microlearning options they’ve used.
Microlearning isn’t a be-all, end-all for your training, however. You should include microlearning into a larger training initiative that seeks to develop goals over a longer period, such as a year. Asking employees to engage with two or three smaller learning experiences over the course of a year is manageable and shows that you’re committed to their growth in the long term, not just right now.
Build Your Dream Team
If the goal is to develop stronger managers, the key is striking a balance between their immediate deliverables and the business’s long-term goals and objectives. Finding time for training and development is always challenging, and there will always be obstacles, but the solution may lie in shorter, flexible, and relevant content that’s designed to accommodate busy and strained schedules. There’s no question that investing in your team can pay off, but it’s up to you to find a way to make it work for everyone.