How many of us knew what type of work we would end up doing when we were at school? How many of us have a career in the subject we studied at college or university? For some of us, the jobs we’re doing now didn’t even exist when we were young. For many members of the generation now starting to think about the skills they need for work — the people we’ll be hiring in 2025 — the jobs they’ll fill will be unrecognizable from the jobs of today.
It’s not just jobs that have changed. The entire way we work has changed. The gig economy, flexible working, our realization that diversity makes for a more successful business … all these trends have an impact on the way we structure effective learning and development (L&D).
Being Human While Working: It’s Complicated
Underpinning this new world of work is one constant: We are all human, and with our humanity comes complexity. Our skills, our paths through life, and our experiences at work and with each other are all uniquely personal. That uniqueness frames how we approach our working lives and what we want to achieve.
In this new world, new possibilities are open to us. We want more from work: full-time, part-time, job-sharing, “gig” working, flexible hours, portfolio careers, time off to volunteer or to care for a loved one, the ability to work from anywhere in the world. We look for purpose and identity through our jobs. It’s not surprising; after all, we’ll be working for a longer period of time than any generation before us.
Inclusive organizations embrace this difference. Research tells us that diverse businesses are more likely to be innovation leaders and outperform their competitors. The power of different minds solves complex problems.
How Learning Can Embrace Personalization
Our approach to learning and development must also adapt to this new world. Learning is changing, moving away from targeting the nonexistent “average” employee toward becoming relevant to individuals and equipping them for their personal journeys. Here, the needs of individuals and businesses are aligned: Both need the ability to develop skills that equip us to be able to adapt as our world of work changes.
Here is where the power of technology comes in. Intelligent systems can help organizations embrace this human individuality and organizational diversity — at scale. Think about the apps we all use in our personal lives: the Apple watch that tells us when to move, based on our height, weight and fitness goals; the Amazon app that knows when we’ve run out of shampoo, because it knows how often we wash our hair — and more.
Our learning programs should be as personalized as the apps we use at home, designed to reflect individual behavior, ability and goals while aligning them with the goals of the organization. This approach will give all employees a better and more fulfilling experience and help them to reach their potential at the pace and in the format that works most effectively for them.
Why Reskilling Can Take Employees to New Heights
Adaptive, personalized development programs deliver insight to businesses that are critical as they seek new skills to meet new challenges. Instead of replacing an existing team, organizations can reskill them to take on new roles, based on insight from learning technology that identifies the best people based on their profiles and development interests. They can tap into existing talent that they previously overlooked and accelerate innovation based on the knowledge of diverse thinking.
We may not be able to predict precisely how our working world will change. But we can design learning programs that equip our employees to adapt and change with it, creating more effective teams and more successful businesses.