Businesses around the U.S. are facing a tight employee labor market. It’s challenging to find qualified candidates, retain high-performing talent and fill positions, whether entry-level or in the C-suite.

Despite the tight job market, employers should know that the need to upskill and reskill existing employees through comprehensive training is critical. Jobs are changing — and companies continue to adopt digital technologies to stay competitive.

How can employees manage these changes without receiving adequate training from their company leaders? To attract and retain top talent, organizations must invest in learning and development (L&D).

The Importance of Employee Training and Upskilling

Employee training and ongoing learning are critical aspects of today’s corporate world. As automation becomes ubiquitous across industries, employee responsibilities will continue changing. To keep up with these massive changes, employers must teach employees new skills to help them accomplish their tasks.

Take a report from McKinsey, for example — research shows that nine out of 10 executives and managers face employee skills gaps or expect new gaps to emerge in the next five years. This is not to say training must be standardized from company to company. Training employees will look different for every employee and company, as no two organizations are exactly alike.

Staying abreast of the latest trends in the training industry is crucial for employers of all types and sizes, as it can help human resources (HR) departments address training needs and get their employees on the path to success.

Top Training Industry Trends Entering the New Year

As skills gaps emerge, employers must stay ahead of the curve to train their employees on what to expect. Over time and as more companies take on training initiatives, trends in the training industry begin to shift.

Here are some of the top training industry trends to be aware of in 2023.

1. AI-Based Learning Experiences

Many companies and their leaders believe that artificial intelligence (AI) is and will continue to change how we live and work. Today’s training solutions are equipped with the latest AI models to help customize ongoing learning opportunities for employees.

No two employees have the same learning style, but AI helps provide personalized experiences for employees. When employees can undergo training in a personalized approach, it’s often more effective and can even help them retain information better.

2. Virtual Reality Solutions

Virtual reality (VR) is also becoming more widely used in the training industry. Training with VR is much safer in certain sectors — specifically those involving hands-on work or labor intensive — than traditional training methods. Take the construction industry, for example.

Offering employees VR-based training on safety operations is a much lower risk practice. Rather than train an employee on actual machinery, they can wear a VR headset and engage in the same exercises to learn how to use the equipment. This also eliminates the need to take the machinery out of service for the sake of training.

3. Microlearning

Microlearning — sometimes called microtraining — is a teaching strategy where complex topics are broken down into more manageable bits of information. Most training modules take around five to 10 minutes to complete.

One benefit of the microtraining trend is that the brief modules allow for focus on specific skills. The employee has an opportunity to master one skill at a time before moving on to the next module.

4. Online Assessments

Many companies are choosing to partner with a third party to offer online training assessments for employees.

Assessments are an effective way to both identify skills gaps and measure training effectiveness. Since most companies are digital first, it makes sense to provide digital training assessments combined with digital training materials, like videos, online articles and more.

5. Blockchain

Blockchain technology is often associated with cryptocurrency, not employee training or learning. However, blockchain is also becoming more popular in the education sector.

Employers benefit from blockchain technology in two ways: timestamped, verified information and immutability. Information on the blockchain cannot be changed and is verified using timestamps. Suppose an employer reviews an employee’s past experiences to learn about potential skills gaps they might have. In that case, using a blockchain-powered platform will ensure the employer that the employee’s past jobs are legitimate.

6. The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) has become somewhat of a business buzzword, and for good reason. IoT-enabled devices can assist with different training programs, depending on your company and industry.

Several industries, like manufacturing and fleet management, use IoT for important training opportunities. For example, fleets leverage IoT devices to monitor driver performance. Imagine a truck driver needs training on how to operate an 18-wheeler. With IoT-enabled systems, managers can review a driver’s skills on the road and determine which driving skills could be improved.

7. Upskilling and Reskilling

Upskilling involves training employees to learn new skills they’ll need for their future roles. For example, upskilling an entry-level employee would include teaching them about leadership, interview and client relationship management skills.

Reskilling is a similar concept, except this type of training focuses on building different skills for employees. This might include teaching employees how to use a new content management system (CMS) or integrating new processes into their responsibilities.

8. Soft Skills Training

Finally, one type of training growing more popular is soft skills training. Both hard and soft skills are valuable tools employees use in their day-to-day life.

There are a few types of soft skills employers should train their employees on, including:

  • Interpersonal skills.
  • Persuasive skills.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Motivation.
  • Time management.
  • Self-management skills.
  • Critical thinking.

Unlike hard skills, soft skills do not demonstrate the level of an employee’s knowledge but rather their innate ability to think, listen and communicate, amongst other things.

Employers: Monitor Training Industry Trends in 2023

The training industry is ever-evolving. As new technologies become more widely used, it’s expected that more companies will leverage them for various training purposes. Corporate training helps keep the global workforce on its toes, which is especially important as the business world presents new challenges to employers and employees. Stay on top of corporate training practices to lead your employees down the right path.