Here comes 2016, but for a moment, let’s take a look back at corporate training materials a decade ago. In 2006, smartphones as we know them didn’t exist. Tablets were still four years away as well. Some corporate training materials had gone paperless, but these were often restricted to desktop computers. Laptops were getting more powerful, but everywhere Wi-Fi was in its infancy—if an employee wanted to portably access corporate training materials, he or she likely needed to plug a computer into a phone line.
How things have changed in a decade. Most training professionals would agree that there’s no need to return to the “good old days”—training strategies and methods are currently so innovative that the past seems almost quaint. And the innovation won’t slow down just because the new year is upon us. Here are some ways corporate training will change and evolve in 2016:
Millennials Increase Their Majority
Millennials—generally considered anyone born between 1981 and 2000—surpassed Generation X as the biggest segment of the American workforce. With more millennials entering the employment ranks, along with more baby boomers retiring, Generation Y is poised to increase its majority—and its influence. Training strategies from a decade ago—or older, as some companies still prefer written corporate training materials—simply will not resonate with many of today’s workers. Counterbalancing this reality is another demographic shift: More millennials are in management positions and see the value of newer training approaches—strategies that ultimately increase engagement and productivity.
Here Comes Generation Z
Generation Z is defined as anyone born this century. The first wave of these kids is reaching age 16—old enough to start entering the workforce at fast and fast casual restaurants as well as retail stores. Generation Y may have embraced the technological advances of the past 15 years, but for Generation Z, that technology is all they know—for example, these kids don’t remember a time when their parents didn’t have cell phones. Traditional corporate training materials, such as a 3-inch binder of printed instructions, is foreign to Generation Z employees who may study their schoolwork from computers and tablets rather than textbooks. Mobile training technology isn’t something that will impress these teenagers—it’s something they will expect.
Tablets Will Be Everywhere
Truth be told, tablets already are everywhere. They are being used as cash registers at businesses. They are being used by companies for inventory, quality control, customer service, and, of course, corporate training materials. This trend will increase even more in 2016. Organizations that don’t modernize will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage—especially with their training initiatives.
The Economy Remains Strong
The current national unemployment rate is hanging around 5 percent, and the recession of the last decade is becoming more and more of a distant memory. When the economy is strong, not only are more jobs available, but workers also are more confident to switch jobs. Employees who do not receive quality training—learning that doesn’t bore them on their first hours on the job—will be less likely to engage and will be more likely to bolt if something better comes along. Dynamic corporate training materials can help reduce turnover while improving and inspiring the employees who do stay.
What direction do you see corporate training taking in 2016?