6 Ways that Manufacturers Can Prioritize Employee Development in 2021

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2020 showed the world that the remote workforce could become the new reality with the right systems in place. Besides the rise of virtual collaboration, many businesses have been exploring the option to fully automate a number of business functions to avoid future disruptions. The question is – what do all of these changes mean for the workforce?

According to the PWC Workforce of the Future Report, 37% of respondents are worried about automation putting jobs at risk – up from 33% in 2014.The reality is that technology is moving at such a rapid pace, that employers and employees need to take a more proactive approach to upskilling and reskilling like never before.

Besides the need to keep up with the speed of technological development, skills development is also one of the most important aspects when ensuring user-uptake of technological investments. Without employee buy-in, businesses simply cannot progress. Upskilling is also a motivator. According to recent study, 66% of employees ranked the joy of learning new things and developing new skills as the top upskilling motivator.

With onsite training no longer an option in most instances, Learning and Development Managers have found themselves having to tackle the challenge of continuing to upskill their employees remotely, and doing so in a way that keeps them focused, and engaged — all while watching their training budgets. Here are 6 ways to prepare your employees as they become the workforce of the future:

  1. Motivate employees with rewards and recognition

There is no doubt that employees are an organization’s greatest asset. They should be enabled to grow in their newfound skills as well as recognized for their efforts.

Employers should also recognize employees for their efforts. A survey by Achievers involving 1,700 respondents found a clear link between rewards/recognition and retention. 55% of respondents were planning to switch jobs, and the lack of recognition was the No.1 reason. 69% even said that better rewards and recognition would encourage them to stay on at the company.

Recognition may take on the form of recognition badges and leadership boards. These social reward structures also offer an opportunity to track employee engagement and performance.

  1. Provide online training platforms

The pandemic saw a shift from an old paper-based system to a more digital environment. For some, it may have been the first time that they had used an ERP system. The need for accessible, online training platforms was therefore a necessity. And not only the basics of how to use the ERP software, but also how to gain the most from the individual modules that are relevant to their specific area of focus.

  1. Personalize the learning experience

Today, if you open any online shopping platform, AI provides recommendations around what to look at next. E-Learning could take a similar approach. Your ERP solution provider should run training on a platform that offers personalized learning experiences — across all devices — with modules that are less focused on heavy theory, and rather infused with useful practical applications, curated content, and microlearning assets. The platform should be able to identify each user’s particular area of interest and make recommendations of courses the user might be interested in enrolling in, in the future.

  1. Supply micro-learning options

A recent Linkedin Learning survey recently showed that 58% of employees prefer opportunities that allow learning at their own pace. In today’s fast-paced world, ‘learn as you go’ or microlearning makes sense.

Microlearning offers learners with limited free time the opportunity to upskill in manageable, shorter modules which help to increase knowledge transfer and engagement and increase development speed. Because the modules are smaller, they often cost less which helps to reduce L&D costs for an organization while still ensuring their employees are getting valuable learning transfer.

  1. Choose ‘Pay as You Go’ learning platforms

While subscription learning based-models lead to longer term and ongoing development, businesses should also consider the benefits of on demand learning or ‘Pay as You Go’ learning models (PAYG). For the L&D team, PAYG courses assist employees to upskill in immediate areas of interest and even further develop areas such as soft skills. A hybrid model consisting of subscription and PAYG learning is the best option to ensure innovative skill-building and ongoing talent management.

  1. Appoint an external training champion

Due to the pandemic and the changing way we work, most training is now online, which is why it is important for learners to have external motivation champions and mentors in the organization, who show them that they are invested in their growth, can assist when they need help, and who are genuinely happy when they succeed. It makes the learning process easier and more engaging and fun. If your business has a culture of learning, then your employees are more likely to actively seek out learning opportunities, which is good for them and for the business.

Evidence clearly shows that employees stay motivated through ongoing learning opportunities. Upskilling is as easy as a click of the mouse in today’s online world. The trick is to understand the needs of the workforce today to prepare them for the future.

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