There is always room to tackle new training challenges. This year, many of last year’s top training challenging continue (e.g., the need for ongoing compliance training), but new challenges have also arisen. This post explores how to focus your training on 2017’s top training issues.

Top Training Issues on 2017's

Training for the “Blended Workplace”

The blended workplace continues to expand. This means that more than ever before, organizations have full-time permanent employees working side-by-side with freelancers based around the globe. A recent survey found that 93% of companies already have freelancers working on teams with full-time employees. The blended workplace has many benefits but also requires new and expanded skills in many key areas:

  • Collaborating online:  The number one challenge is working online in a meaningful and fully accountable manner.
  • Cultural and linguistic difference: Remote workplaces are generally more diverse. Hiring is often done in a color-blind and even gender-blind manner, so the freelance workforce is often more rather than less diverse. In addition,the remote workforce brings together people from around the globe.
  • Different levels of investment: Full-time employees may be more invested that gig employees and with good reason. While many freelancers are invested, they are likely not committing to a company for the long run. They are working on a single project or series of projects but not giving 100% to the organization because they most likely have many other clients.

Moving forward, the challenge will be to provide training that can address the unique needs of full-time employees and freelancers, as well as their shared training needs (e.g., how to work effectively as members of a virtual team).  It goes without saying that offering online training is critical in the blended workplace, since it is the only way to effectively bring together one’s entire team.

Tapping Talent on a Global Scale Raises New Questions and Challenge

As predicted, 2017 has brought new challenges to businesses seeking to tap talent around the globe. While working with freelances (especially those tapped through online work platforms) remains viable largely because U.S. companies, such as Upwork, benefit financially regardless of whether or not the talent being hired is U.S. based or foreign, hiring permanent foreign workers has now become a perilous activity. While some foreign workers are now unable to gain visas for the United States, with a strong move to keep U.S. jobs in the United States and slow the stream of professionals arriving from abroad, human resources experts are faced with many questions. For example, should their recruitment efforts continue to look outside the United States at all?  What all this means is that moving forward, ongoing training for anyone involved in recruiting and screening applicants will be critical.

 Training for the Blended Workplace

Replacing Annual Performance Reviews with Continuous Feedback

The word is out: Everyone hates annual reviews. Employees find the feedback punitive and a majority of younger employees crave more feedback rather than less feedback but also more feedback provided in a timely manner. Human resources departments have now also concluded that annual reviews are often taxing but do not necessarily have a strong correlation to productivity or retention rates. For this reason, more organizations are scraping the annual review and focusing on meaningful feedback and training initiatives that can be rolled out throughout the year. Specifically, there is a move to ensure that as employees are given feedback, they are also given access to robust training to help troubleshoot weaknesses and more importantly, continue to grow over on a broader level (e.g., by acquiring new skills). Of course, not everyone is in the same place at the same time, so this means offering training in an increasingly geared-to-employee manner.

Using a learning management system is the most effective way to scale up niche training initiatives that move to respond to every employee where he or she is at in any given moment. Levering your learning management system’s tracking tools is one way to ensure that employees receive access to the training modules that are most relevant and to ensure that training is completed in a timely manner.