Rapid changes in technology have affected businesses in more ways than we can count, from globalization and organizational adjustments to a workforce insisting on remote and mobile job opportunities — and human resources had to adapt swiftly.
Technology has seeped-in even through industries such as retail, real estate etc. which were least likely to be impacted with the technological revolution as they were experiential in nature (required tangible experience before people could zero down on a purchase). These are the big signs of what we can expect in future and it is imperative that both the organization and HR is ready to manage and lead this change in the landscape. With Millennials occupying more than half of the workforce currently, (predicted to rise up to 75 percent by 2020) HR will have to embrace and build on technological advancements to meet both employee expectations and business requirements. There is no denying the fact that Technology has completely redefined the role of HR all over the world. Recent advances in technology have transformed nearly every aspect of HR, right from talent acquisition to talent management.
One of the biggest impacts that Technology has had is on the Learning & Development. A lot of organizations are moving to AI, similar interactive platforms that promote collaboration and learning on the go. Here are some of the quick wins that organizations can leverage for a high learning culture for meaningful engagement.
Everyone enjoys playing games, hence introducing gaming technology to training is an excellent way to engage employees during training, as well as boosting their knowledge retention after training. Interactive games played on a variety of devices (including laptops or television consoles, and intermingling more advanced technologies, such as augmented reality eyewear or true-to-life simulators), can leave an ever-lasting impression on people. Training games have been found to provide faster and easier instruction delivery, higher test scores and lasting retention, and overall consistent instructional quality. As an added bonus, interactive games offer a significantly lower cost for materials and curriculum.
Mobile has transformed the way companies work, interact, and collaborate. With global penetration rates skyrocketing, organizations that are not considering mobile in all areas of talent management will have a difficult time competing for talent. Despite this reality, companies are still slow to embrace mobile learning solutions. Most companies recognize that mobile learning solutions can improve adoption, expand global reach, and engage users better, but do not understand how to execute a mobile strategy. Additionally, some organizations find it challenging to determine what options are available and which providers to consider. Regardless of the barriers they are facing, few industries have been pioneering in areas of mobile learning technology like NBFCs, aerospace, and manufacturing, where one not only need knowledge but also experience in translating the knowledge into practice. Such industries which rely on accuracy, get their on-job-training OJT simulated on mobile platforms so that everyone is abreast of the new information.
Video conferencing systems allow instructors to reach a vast, often distant, audience. The popular video conferencing platform, Skype, has more than 300 million active users per month, and instructors both in the education and corporate world have found it to be a wonderful alternative to traditional face-to-face meetings. Many companies took video conferencing to another level with the introduction of ‘GoToMeeting’ that makes the philosophy “Work with anyone, anywhere,” possible seamlessly. Owing to the success of this platform, many new platforms have been introduced ever since. Video conferencing allows for one-on-one meetings as easily as group meetings, and corporate training has found new reach with this type of technology.
Companies are quickly embracing social media tools, as well as investing in social collaboration tools to better engage employees and foster a learning culture. Although social has become mainstream, companies still lack the knowledge and insight around how to use these tools for learning and development. One reason is that companies are limited in the social tools they are using. Companies are using document sharing, discussion forums, and blogs, but they aren’t generally using video or micro-blogs—which is more effective—to improve their learning functions. Companies must educate themselves on the value of social learning and invest in providers that offer solutions that drive business outcomes.
Considering adaptive learning
Adaptive learning is a methodology that breaks traditional models and allows employees to learn at their own pace. Employees can be monitored individually and in real time to determine what learning approach will best suit their needs. It has advantages for younger generations entering the workforce that have expectations around flexibility and interaction. Technology based learning solutions provide information in hand round the clock where participants can learn at their own pace. The modules that participants go through are at their will and learning capability which ranges from learner to professional. Not just that, but the assortment of questions also changes dynamically as per candidate’s ability to answer correctly. Adaptive learning can be effective at improving efficiency, as well as employee engagement and retention since it allows employees to build confidence and overall expertise. Companies may want to consider breaking traditional learning methods by introducing aspects of adaptive learning.
To determine if the learning strategy in place is driving business outcomes, companies must find a way to consistently measure its effectiveness. Companies should determine metrics in advance and include both business metrics and learning/HR metrics. Currently, most companies are considering team encouragement, employee engagement, and employee satisfaction over more concrete business metrics such as retention, turnover, and revenue per full-time employee. Ancient methods of providing print-outs and receiving feedback have replaced immediate response systems such as Clickers, allow immediate feedback to the instructor. Handheld devices permit the instructor to test the class and also provide instant answers to proposed questions. Opinions can be gathered on the fly, and results can later be analyzed to improve future training. Todays’ B-Schools rest the decision of the module and content on the student who not only decides which training programs to be floated but also what the content should be, by providing active feedback to course instructor via course and content polls. The learning environment itself becomes interactive, and employee progress can be monitored. Handheld devices can also provide anonymity for students who want to ask questions without recognition.
Technology is the core of all business and it’s only fair that HR embraces the change and leverages it to the maximum. Conventional HR tools for 360-degree feedback, engagement surveys have always existed in the HR ecosystem. However, technology as the core and key catalyst is the new normal. Decoding the people code is a mix of art and science where technology adds the necessary flair and science that is required for the organizations to thrive. Those who will able to adapt to the new normal will have a significant advantage over those who don’t.