Technology continues to change the way we work, shop, and live. Online consumerism has empowered customers to shop more intelligently, compare prices, and demand customization for their specific requirements. The “Internet of Things” is becoming such a part of our lives that it is becoming hard to comprehend how we lived without it. We are tethered to our electronic devices, and our every movement is being collected and analyzed in the cloud by sophisticated Big Data algorithms. Predictive analytics are generating more and more accurate data on our next moves and most likely purchases.
Their values are an important consideration in planning for a company’s training needs. More than 60% of Millennials say that opportunities for personal development and training are the primary factor in selecting their current employers. They have grown up with the Internet, so the mobile and social aspects of training appeal to their desire for flexibility, visible progress, and a feeling of community.
Clearly, technology has fundamentally changed the way businesses operate. What does this mean in terms of training for executives and managers? For any company that wants to continue to win the battle for the customer’s mind and to maintain and build brand equity in the technologydriven marketplaces of today and the future, it is extremely critical to train executives and managers in the use of this technology.
Unfortunately, research indicates that only about 10% of all companies surveyed are heavy users of mobile learning functionality. In 2015 alone, almost 2 billion mobile phones were sold globally, compared with only about 270 million PCs. This data obviously indicates the trend toward mobile.
Additionally, CEOs need to build lasting relationships with employees and adapt to their obvious need for better recognition and training that helps them to be more effective in their jobs. Unfortunately, research has revealed that the majority of employees in U.S. companies are “disengaged” and unhappy with their employers and their jobs. For example, as a professor in the graduate business program at Saint Peter’s University, I have seen that many of my MBA students do not receive any recognition from their employers upon graduation, even though the company paid for most of the MBA through a tuition reimbursement program. Why pay for an employee’s master of business administration degree and not even acknowledge it when the employee graduates? This lack of recognition causes many of the graduates to seek a job with greater compensation at another company. So from a business point of view, what is the return on that investment? Zero.
Given Millennials’ desire for a more results-oriented culture and flexibility, more employers will have to transition from one-size-fits-all recorded training presentations and videos to individualized e-learning course content. Companies that fail to adjust their learning management practices and solutions are facing major issues with organizational growth and productivity. Because mobile has transformed the way we work, collaborate, and interact, web-based learning solutions will better engage users, expand global reach, and improve adoption. Companies need to embrace these social media tools and invest in social collaboration tools to engage employees in a learning culture.
ADAPTIVE LEARNING AND ED TECH More organizations need to understand “adaptive learning” methodologies that allow employees to learn at their own pace. The learning processes of the past have to change. In many cases, these processes have operated in the silos of corporations where learning professionals had little or no input from or interaction with other areas of the business.
Management also needs to keep up with advances in technology because they have become a natural part of lifelong learning for employees. Adding to the changing complexity of training requirements is the influx of Millennials who are starting to move up in the management ranks.
Companies must adapt their learning strategies to meet the demands of today’s virtual marketplaces and the workforce. Learning professionals have to become partners with business leaders to redesign the entire learning process for their employees to be more effective in their jobs. Companies have to change the way they view employees and focus on the unique learning needs of individuals.
Millennials, born between 1982 and 2002, are predicted to make up 75% of the workforce in 2025. They already comprise about one-third of all employees in the U.S.
One way to meet these unique learning needs is with “ed tech,” which is the new description for e-learning technologies, job-related training software, targeted to
THE IMPACT OF MILLENNIALS
30 I AMA QUARTERLY I SPRING 2016
Journal of The American Management Association