Corporate Training Trends 2020 – What’s Really Worth Your Investment?

As the end of 2019 approaches, budgets are being finalized and sales quotas are being established for the new year. Have you accounted for the cost of employee training in your 2020 budget? Some employers may be tempted to push employee training to the side of their business-centric priorities, but you may want to think again…

At Unboxed Training & Technology, our goal is to provide you with any recent corporate training trends with actionable ways to apply these new industry insights to your company or team. A diverse client base gives us a well-rounded view of the L&D space to share what we expect to see as corporate training trends in 2020.

Based on what we’re seeing with our clients, and in the L&D industry overall, we have compiled the top four future trends in training and development that you need to know for the upcoming year. But before we jump into the trends, let’s take a look at the corporate training landscape as a whole.

The Future of Corporate Learning

According to SHRM’s Skills Gap 2019 research, 75% of HR professionals say there is a shortage of skills in candidates for job openings. One of the “most effective remedies” mentioned in the report for this growing skills gap is to improve employee retention rates

Research has shown that employee training and development actually reduces employee turnover. The question is, do you believe it?

Take notes from Amazon. Earlier this year, Amazon announced a $700 million investment in employee training programsWe think it’s important to invest in our employees, and to help them gain new skills and create more professional options for themselves,” said Beth Galetti, senior vice president of HR.

Every year, corporate training trends evolve–but the value of employee training never changes. Use these corporate training trends to guide your training process whether you are onboarding new hires or upskilling current employees. The future of L&D starts inside your organization, today.

 

Top 4 Learning and Development Trends in 2020

Companies like Amazon understand the necessity of employee training and development–not only for new employees–but as an ongoing investment in current employees. Whether you invest $7,000 or $700 million, effective training is always advantageous to the business. A recent study, noted by Spotio, concluded that “every dollar invested in sales training returned $29 in incremental revenues.

Now it’s time to talk about what you don’t know (but should) about workplace learning and employee development.

 

Trend #1: Actionable Coaching

Research has shown that coaching is the number one competency that distinguishes average managers from highly effective managers. Actionable coaching is more than giving advice; it provides employees with constructive feedback, sets actionable goals, and develops a more efficient workforce.

As a manager, it’s not enough to say, “You didn’t do that right. Try again.” Managers must actively engage with employees to identify strong competencies and development gaps. For example, actionable coaching can turn a sales pitch tragedy into a training opportunity by creating a plan of action:

  1. Identify what part of the sales pitch or goal an employee missed.
  2. Explain the correct behavior or action expected and resource them with specific training material.
  3. Form a plan of action moving forward to train in weak areas and fill in knowledge gaps:
    • Brush up on product or service knowledge.
    • Review the messaging strategy.
    • Practice the pitch by role-playing with a colleague or mentor.
    • Set a completion date.

Coaches, how do you currently track your coaching engagements and employee observations?

In response to the need for better coaching tools to make actionable coaching more intuitive and effective, we’ve developed an easy-to-use mobile app that walks coaches through an observation flow and captures key data points. Here’s how it works:

  • Observe behaviors by taking coaches through a guided observation flow.
  • Capture information in the moment to keep coaches focused on the person in front of them.
  • Easily track and record detailed notes.
  • Provide feedback on strengths and opportunities.
  • Assist in creating SMART goals for tangible results.
  • Save documentation time.

If you aren’t observing, you can’t coach. Start tracking performance, skill progression, and providing constructive feedback to empower employees to make actionable changes.

 

Trend #2: 360 Certification

How do you know when your new hires are ready to be customer-facing?

At what point does your onboarding process transition new employees to executing responsibilities on their own?

How do you certify that your sales reps are ready to pitch prospects?

What guardrails can you put in place to ensure the best results?

We’re long past the point of a certification exam or a series of inconsistent classes being enough to guarantee readiness, let alone success. The future of corporate learning lends itself toward a 360 degree view of certification.

360 degree certification is holistic in nature. Begin by identifying a threshold that learners must meet before they are considered “certified.” Be sure to choose inputs that train and test on knowledge, skills, and behavior.

Then, use your Learning Management System (LMS) to create a unique formula of weighted inputs to automate the employee certification process. Inputs might include some or all of the following activities:

  • In-person training event
  • Video roleplay
  • Coaching session or observation
  • Mini knowledge checks
  • Action learning projects

The list could go on, but each input is used in combination with the others to collectively “certify” your rep.

Don’t stop at a one-time certification. Employee training is an ongoing process that continues well after onboarding has completed. Track employee training and recertify reps with refresher courses at various checkpoints in their careers to ensure knowledge retention over time. Reimagine how this will transform what “customer readiness” means for new hires and veteran employees.

The goal is to have employees cross-trained in everything from hard skills to soft skills throughout their career. This full-circle method of certification gives managers and employees a 360 degree view of what they are proficient in and where they need to improve.

2020 training trends webinar

The start of every new year is a chance to revisit training goals and aspirations for the coming 12 months. How do you know what’s worth your investment?

Trend #3: More Innovative Event Management

Are you using your LMS to its full potential by engaging, training, and assessing learners? Stop using your LMS as a repository for training and resources that aren’t being used anymore. An LMS that is being used effectively is an integral part of an employee’s work day.

Leverage your learning platform to pulse engaging pre-work, drive community traffic, and gamify training events with ongoing opportunities to earn points and rewards. Integrate your LMS across the organization to support business objectives and scale up your workforce.

 

Engage with Pre-Work

Pre-work should make a meeting, virtual instructor-led employee training (VILT), or webinar more valuable for both the attendees and the presenter. Take advantage of an LMS, like Spoke® LMS, to manage and engage attendees at your event. Reimagine pre-work as fun, engaging, and effective rather than just busywork:

  • Send out learning expectations and resource guides early to prepare learners.
  • Build assessments for learners to take beforehand to help gauge the audience.
  • Make pre-work visually stimulating with images, graphs, and multimedia.
  • Have some fun by using games to award points or prizes to those who complete pre-work.
  • Schedule email reminders to send out right before the session for optimal attendance.

Encourage learners to come with answers, questions, and comments so they participate in the conversation. Use engaging content that builds interest and promotes interaction among attendees.

Gamify Training Events

Games in training is one of those learning trends that will only get more influential every year. Use games and gamification at events to educate, improve the experience, fight disengagement, as well as create an environment of collaboration and healthy competition.

For example, a pharmaceutical national sales meeting is a great opportunity to implement games and gamification into an event. Use an LMS to award points or badges for various activities in order for participants to win a grand prize:

  • Attending different sessions.
  • Tweeting what they learned using an event branded hashtag.
  • Sharing photos on social media and tagging the company.
  • Networking with other attendees by exchanging business cards.
  • Collecting items from various booths.

Have games and gamification made it into your 2020 event plans?

Disengaged attendees are the bane of any event’s existence, in-person or virtual. Craft a learning culture that motivates and engages employees with the help of an LMS. Think Outside™ the box for your next corporate event!

 

Trend #4: Personalized Learning through AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no stranger to L&D or the world at this point. We talked about AI last year in our 2019 training trends blog, and it’s not going anywhere.

We interact with AI every day to make our lives easier. Google, Facebook, and Instagram all use AI-based algorithms to provide us with relevant information and ads to deliver a better user experience. Yet, in the workplace, AI is still severely underutilized.

AI At Work, a study conducted by Oracle and Future Workplace, discovered only 6% of HR professionals are currently using AI at work. Although, HR leaders believe AI will positively impact both L&D (27%) and performance management (26%) over the next two years. Both HR leaders and employees agree that the biggest impact AI will have on organizations is increased productivity.

AI caters to the individual who is handling it, fitting exclusively to the needs of each user. When AI is implemented into an LMS, it creates a personalized learning environment that becomes more intelligent over time. AI can improve employees’ learning experiences in many ways, but here are a few to consider:

  • Identify knowledge gaps in training then recommend the program(s) needed to strengthen that particular area.
  • Create a personalized course path using a blended learning approach and selecting the right modality for training content.
  • Measure training effectiveness through facial recognition to track what is being practically applied on the field as mentioned in our #4 trend for 2019.

The future of AI in the L&D space is limitless. If you don’t start adopting AI technology into your corporate training now, you’ll be limiting the potential of your business and employees later. Don’t get left behind.

 

2020 Training Trends Recap

L&D is constantly evolving with new technology and research used to improve the modern learner’s experience. Let’s recap our 2020 training trends:

  • Actionable coaching for actionable results. Don’t just manage employees. Use tech tools to coach employees with a plan of action that assesses their progress and improves performance.
  • 360 degree certification. Give your sales reps a full-circle onboarding experience using multiple methods of input so they are truly customer ready.
  • Use LMS for more innovative events. Engage employees at events with value-added pre-work and use both games and gamification to encourage participation, as well as collaboration.
  • Adopt AI for personalized learning. Use smart technology to support your training efforts. Start embracing AI in 2020; 93% of employees already say they would trust orders from a robot.

Need help implementing these new corporate training trends? Let our L&D professionals help you prepare for the future of work. Schedule your free training consultation today!

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The start of every new year is a chance to revisit training goals and aspirations for the coming 12 months. How do you know what’s worth your investment?

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Difference Between Employee Training and Management Development

Companies are very aware of the return on their investments—and for good reason. Tracking ROI helps determine what initiatives are moving the needle and creating a profit. But before receiving a positive return on employee training and development, companies must first invest.

Employers are generally hesitant to invest in employees because they are afraid of turnover. As a result, companies tend to simply train for the job and avoid the additional cost of development.

But what if employees stayed?

 

What if investing in your employees’ potential resulted in overall company growth?

 

What if you started developing employees to become impactful leaders who will manage the company’s future?

The companies of tomorrow are taking action by embracing a culture of learning and prioritize employee development to prevent turnover. “When employees are consistently learning, they are happy,” says David Clark, senior vice president and chief learning officer at American Express.

 

Employee Training vs. Management Development

Employee training and development go hand in hand. The terms are usually tied together in corporate conversation, but they have very separate definitions. Both training and development are completely necessary to invest in, but knowing their differences is important.

Training
Development
Short term (business benefit) Long term (mutual benefit)
Job-related tasks Open-ended goals
Fulfills present needs Future-focused
Company growth Personal growth
Enhances hard skills (job-specific) Enhances soft skills

The difference between training and development has to do with the purpose and end-goal of each:

Employee training impacts a company’s immediate needs by teaching new hires how to do job-related tasks. The more technical work that can be carried out, the more bandwidth a company has to sell their services.

Employee development serves as a long term growth tool to enhance employees’ skillset, thereby creating a more valuable workforce. Well developed employees who are trained to lead will support the company culture and impact future goals.

 

Employee Training

Employee training is the process of educating and equipping new employees with technical knowledge and skills to perform job duties. Job training is a necessary component of successful onboarding to produce a high-performing workforce. But before employees can do their jobs well, they need to be empowered with the right tools of the trade.

Training is content-centric: company policies, procedures, product or service knowledge, unique value proposition, CRM software, etc. The content learned in training supports employees as they figure out the rhythm of their new jobs and workplace norms.

The modalities for training have drastically evolved with the ever-changing digital workplace. Today, eLearning is a popular and increasingly effective way to train. Modern learners are on hyperdrive and prefer to learn on-the-go, which provides them with more mobility. Companies are shifting from physical to virtual classrooms for employee training, but that’s a conversation we’ve already had…

So if employee training related to the technical aspects of a job, what is employee development?

 

Employee Development

Employee development is a deciding factor for prospective hires. A comprehensive new employee onboarding process includes career development and goal-setting because new employees expect it. 87% of millennialsreported they value and care about receiving professional development and career growth from employers.

Once a new employee joins the team, keeping them engaged (and retained) requires a whole new strategy. A healthy employee development program promotes employee retention and job satisfaction. Harvard Business Review explains that losing top talent is more costly than investing in employee development in the long run:

Dissatisfaction with some employee development efforts appears to fuel many early exits…Workers reported that companies generally satisfy their needs for on-the-job development and that they value these opportunities, which include high-visibility positions and significant increases in responsibility. But they’re not getting much in the way of formal development, such as training, mentoring, and coaching—things they also value highly.

In comparison to training, development is people-centric, focusing more on the learner than the content being learned. Development refines employees’ soft skills, encourages personal growth, plans out career goals, and more. Ongoing employee development supports company goals because it enhances team member performance.

 

Benefits of Employee Training and Development Programs

Everyone has heard of “mobile-first” at this point, but now it’s time to think “people-first.” Companies are profitable because of the people behind the screens. If employee training and development are not priorities, don’t expect the workforce to improve.

Investing in employees, professionally and personally, will ultimately benefit the bottom line. In the same way software requires updates, employees need—and want—to advance in their careers. Employers need to start thinking about the ROI of both training and management development (starting Day 1).

Remember, the leaders of tomorrow are developed today.

 

Employee Retention

Companies need to focus on programs that will retain employees and make them assets instead of liabilities. If employees are unhappy, it’s probably safe to assume customer satisfaction is not at an all-time high. 94% of employees say they would stay with a company longer if it invested in their career development.

Employee learning and development in the workplace keeps employees active and committed to their jobs. Technical skills give employees confidence in their work, while personal development serves as a catalyst for growth.

 

Higher Employee Engagement

Highly engaged employees find value in their jobs and feel valued themselves, resulting in a mutual benefit. According to Gallup, employee engagement drives company growth. Employees who are more engaged at work double their odds of success compared to those who are disengaged.

When employees succeed, the business succeeds. Different methods of training can be used to increase employee engagement. Learn more about how a learning management system like Spoke® LMS can fast-track employee engagement.

 

Well Developed Leaders

With the increase of tech-savvy hires, the soft-skills gap is becoming more noticeable:

Soft skills—which are needed to effectively communicate, problem solve, collaborate and organize—are becoming more important for success as the workplace evolves socially and technologically.SHRM

Employee development is a way to refine high-demand soft-skills to form influential leaders. Internal employee development also helps foster a consistent company culture. A healthy company culture provides motivation and camaraderie for employees.

Develop managers and leaders who will inspire, support the company culture, drive growth, and engage others in the process.

 

Employee Training, Management, and Leadership Programs

Are you ready to invest in the future of your company? The potential of your employees is waiting to be developed. At Unboxed Training & Technology, we provide award-winning industry expertise to help you train, develop, sell, and succeed. Contact us today to learn more about employee training or custom management and leadership training programs.

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Why Your Best Individual Contributor Isn’t Ready to be a People Manager

If you’re a leader in your organization, chances are you’re able to pinpoint your top performer. It’s only natural to want to reward that team member with a promotion and give them a platform to make more waves within your organization. But have you stopped to consider that, according to ATD, 60% of people managers underperform or fail within their first two years?

Where does this 60% rate come from? By promoting your best individual contributor, you’re asking them to work with a new set of skills. They’re filling a role they may not be prepared for and your remaining team is scrambling to fill the gap.

So,  before you jump to handing out that promotion, take a moment to ask yourself the following questions.

 

Are They Prepared to be a People Manager?

 

People Manager Leadership 1

Much like Liam Neeson in Taken, your top contributor has “a very particular set of skills.” But how many of these skills transfer to the role of a people manager?

It goes back to the concept of Maker versus Manager. Your best individual contributor is a Maker—they focus on creating a specific product or owning a specific service. Managers on the other hand focus on the organization as a whole, company and team goals, and the professional development of their direct reports.

That means your team member will go from day-to-day tasks that focus on creating or making, to a role that’s focused on owning the professional development and performance of other employees — and with that comes a complete shift in their schedules, too. They’ll go from large blocks of brainstorming and heads down time to a calendar full of performance reviews, 1:1s with their direct reports, and ongoing strategy meetings.

This change can be jarring. The stress that comes with being promoted outside of their skill set could mean they begin to feel (for the first time) they aren’t excelling in their role. That sense of personal disappointment leads to a lack of fulfillment and, ultimately, the end of that top performer’s journey with your organization.

A Grovo survey of 500 managers found that 87 percent of managers wish they’d had more training before their promotion.

To help set the employee up for success, offer them a leadership training program to build key people management skills. The training should be multi-faceted and should include self-paced courses, coaching via 1:1 meetings, videos or simulations. Across these modalities, you’ll want to teach your team member the best ways to give feedback, build up their coaching skills, and remind them the importance of verbal and non-verbal communication styles and emotional intelligence.

Are You Prepared to Fill the Void?

Pulling your best individual contributor away from the day-to-day tasks they’ve come to be so good at means you should have a plan in place for how you’ll fill that gap. If you don’t, you may see an impact on your business in terms of quality and service speed, and your customers may even take notice.

You also don’t want your other team members to feel overburdened once you’ve promoted your top performer. If they do, there’s a trickle-down effect that could mean an increase in stress level and decrease in morale.

In order to get ahead of those concerns, make sure you have training in place to help the other team members level up to match the top performer’s current skills.

Their training should be targeted to the specific role and level you’re trying to fill. To kick off the training, use a Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale (or BARS Chart) to define what not acceptable, good, and great looks like in that vacant role. Then, use it to gauge where your current team members fall and create targeted improvement plans based on their areas of opportunity.

For added sustainment, use a 30, 60, 90-day action plan to help set milestones and measure achievements as they work to improve their skills according to that BARS Chart. Then, meet with these employees at the 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day benchmarks to see if they’re tracking on their current goals.

To be sure you’re ready to make that staffing change, you have to do everything you can to prepare and get ahead of that 60% statistic. This means investing in developing your top performer’s leadership skills and training their replacement. This two-pronged training approach is essential to making sure the transition for your best individual contributor and your team as a whole is as smooth as possible.

Need a hand? We have over a decade of training experience and can help find the perfect blend of training for your unique situation. Want to hear more about self-paced course options, videos or simulations, BARS Charts, or 30, 60, 90-day action plans?  Give us a call.

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