It’s 2020, and we’ve been experiencing the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) for quite a while. According to Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, this era “is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.”

Technology made huge leaps in the last decade. In the field of corporate training, we already use e-learning and other blended learning tools, but in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, how can corporate training maintain its relevance? How can organizations adapt to the ever-changing learning and development (L&D) landscape? Here are five things to keep in mind.

1. Fill the (Still) Widening Skills Gaps

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is all about empowering people. With advanced technology to aid corporate training and ensure a return on investment (ROI), allocating resources for workplace learning is the minimum requirement. Global organizations must also address the skills gaps in their industries.

Some of the most in-demand skills in 2020 are workforce readiness, soft skills, technical skills and entrepreneurship. Organizations should also encourage their employees to have an intrapreneurial mindset: Rather than simply working for executives, modern-day employees should also have ownership of what they do.

Organizations also have a responsibility to provide their employees — full-time, remote, deskless and “gig” workers — with training that supports their career progression. The Fourth Industrial Revolution calls for a stronger talent pool, which organizations can use as a competitive advantage.

2. Address the Multigenerational Workforce

In 2020, more members of Generation Z will enter the global workforce, and more millennials will enter challenging high-level roles in their organizations. Meanwhile, baby boomers are starting to retire in greater numbers.

A wide range of individual differences — work preferences, motivations, ethics and leadership styles — comes with a multigenerational workplace. To succeed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it’s important to take these differences into account and move toward more personalization and customization in corporate training.

3. Maximize Youth Talent

According to the United Nations, the global youth unemployment rate is approximately 11.8%. In addition, young people are nearly three times more likely to be unemployed than adults. With the fresh perspectives that younger generations can offer, your organization should start investing in this talent. Here are some strategies to consider:

Partner with solutions providers: Work with training providers to deploy skills training to a multigenerational workforce.

Collaborate with educational institutions: Work with colleges and universities to identify and address skills gaps. These partnerships will also help educational institutions adapt their curricula to the needs of businesses and industries.

Participate in advocacy: Actively participate in the creation of policies that address youth unemployment. The reinforcement of labor market policies and job creation are methods that address youth unemployment through policy development.

4. Foster a Corporate Learning Culture

Learning should never stop. In a 2018 Korn Ferry survey, 33% of employees planning to quit their jobs that year said it was because they were bored and needed a new challenge. Organizations can address this problem by fostering a learning culture where employees are constantly challenged.

In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, there’s an increasing demand for organizations to improve their internal talent pools. By creating a healthy corporate learning culture, you demonstrate that the organization values education and support the continuous development of your workforce.

To create this type of culture, it’s important to understand employees’ desired career paths and align them with your organization’s goals, needs and values. Remember to request feedback from your stakeholders so you can address their needs and concerns.

5. Prioritize Soft Skills as Much as Technical Skills

Holistic corporate training is more important in the Fourth Industrial Revolution than ever before. To meet the demand for soft skills in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, develop training programs that focus on emotional intelligence, communication or other soft skills, depending on your organizational objectives.

While you’re at it, remember that soft skills aren’t learned in a single class. Employees should have the opportunity to participate in multiple training experiences over a period of time so they can truly learn and practice these skills.

In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, employees across organizations are looking to learn in the flow of their work. This learning isn’t possible without the investment in new learning initiatives and the support of executives. With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in corporate training, it’s crucial for organizations to invest in human intelligence by training employees in skills such as communication, language and creativity to harness their full potential.

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