The Future of Learning, Leadership, and Development Programs

The Future of Learning, Leadership, and Development Programs

When I tell my friends and family I am working for a company that aims to help professional training academies, they are bit confused by what ‘professional training academies’ means. I am met with questions like, “What do you mean professional training? Colleges and universities provide that” or “Why do businesses need that? If they were hired, so they obviously know how to do their job”. While their questions are logical, it seems most employers think differently. My group messages are flooded with texts from my friends saying “can’t text, in training” or “today at training we had to [insert strange icebreaker here].” With a collection of qualitative data at my fingertips, I wanted to see why it seems professional and leadership training is increasing, especially since college enrollment rates have increased 195% since 1970.

Millennials Aren’t Prepared

Many believe there is no correlation between attending university and being prepared for the so-called ‘professional world’. As a former state-university instructor, I know universities prepare their students with critical thinking and time management skills, but not necessarily with experience that is applicable to their future careers. In fact, only 36% of American University students believe they will graduate with skills to be successful in the workplace. Employers agree, as 42.5% of employers believe that their recent graduate new hires, specifically millennials, will have the skills to successfully and independently succeed at their job.

With millennial and gen-z professionals at the forefront of this study, it’s important to add that the millennial generation is the largest generation in the US labor force. With millennials being the largest demographic and the least prepared, training is becoming essential for firms who want to stay relevant in the market. But it is not just the lack of skills this generation is bringing to employers, they are bringing a new philosophy that is shifting workplace culture. 

Workplace Culture is Becoming People-Centered

Younger generations are shifting the workplace from productivity-centered to people-centered. That is not to say the workplace is no longer a place to be productive; rather, the new way to increase productivity and retention is through people-centered initiatives that cultivate a sense of purpose within the workplace. Companies are now following the leaders of this new work-force by implementing employee-centered programs that make team members feel valued, ultimately increasing retention rate. Some employers are implementing strategies that aim to boost office morale, but most employers are turning toward the mutually beneficial option: training programs and workshops that help team members build their soft-skills.

This is the smartest move for employers as 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if the company is invested in their careers. Workshops, group-training, micro-learning initiatives, and other employee development programs show employees that team leaders care about their team’s professional growth, while cultivating skills that will help them succeed in their current positions. It seems that employee development is the best option for increasing employee retention, boosting morale, and ultimately cultivating a healthy workplace.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is Increasing in Popularity

Training can also bring value to the workplace, as they signal a shift in work culture. Not only do development programs show employees they care about professional growth, but I can also show they are trying to make the workplace more inclusive. Workshops on topics like Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) can show employees that their team wants to make a difference both inside and outside the workplace. While lessons from these trainings and workshops need to be implemented to make a real impact, the initiative can make employees feel valued, respected, and heard.

This promotes a safer, and as a result more productive, work environment. As employers begin to make training and development a staple in the work-place, how will training and development coaches and teams be effected? 

Institutions are Budgeting for Training

The future of professional training programs looks overwhelmingly positive for those looking to make an impact in the industry. Most industries, at least 86% in the financial industry, will be expanding DEI training programs within their institutions, creating a need for DEI workshops, trainers, and facilitators. The training transformation doesn’t stop at DEI workshops. Last year, Pricewaterhouse Coopers invested $3 Billion in training programs to up-skill and retrain their employees over the next 3 – 4 years, while Amazon pledged $700 million to up-skill and train their employees over several departments.

This growth is not just internal to various corporations, as the US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects an 11% increase in training jobs in the United States by 2030, creating opportunity for those interested in the training and development field. It is safe to assume the millennial-dominated workforce, need to increase retention, and cultural shift are all reasons for the allotted budgets and demand. 

Conclusion

After reviewing training-trends in the workplace, it is obvious the increased demand for professional training will stay consistent over the next few years. This provides businesses many options to choose from when deciding which professional training and development providers are best for their team and needs. It is now up to those providers to show why organizations should choose them in a newly saturated market.

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