Employee Training and Development – The Ultimate Guide for IT Sector
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Learning and development never stop, especially in the IT sector. Methods, tools, practices, and programming concepts that were popular in 2021 are out of date in 2022. And what’s the norm today, might be thrown out of the window in the next few years.
The rapid evolution of tech
Technologies such as Kubernetes and Docker, platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, smartphones that nobody would have imagined, and millions of apps that are making our lives easier, never existed ten years ago. Coding and programming languages are upgrading every now and then. And with the booming AI industry, the future of technology looks exciting.
The change in the IT sector and its success is also reflected in other industries such as healthcare, banking, finance, oil and gas, petroleum, entertainment, and education. Many of these non-IT companies rely on social networking tools to communicate with their team. Every industry has upgraded itself using modern technologies to create the best experience for its users.
This constant change looks positive for the tech world. But for the techies, it creates a continuous skill gap that seems like a challenge. To fill this gap and prepare themselves for the present and future, techies constantly need to upskill and reskill.
But keeping pace with the recent changes is a huge challenge.
Here are a few hurdles that most learning and development professionals encounter while adapting to the new reality.
Challenges that L&D managers face
With almost everyone working from home, training has also become remote. Employees find it tough to manage self-paced training programs along with their work responsibilities. L&D professionals face several challenges while keeping the learners motivated and interested and ensuring that they understand the content and finishing the training on time. Having smooth communication and giving relevant feedback is also challenging in remote training.
Keeping learners engaged
The biggest challenge in providing training through virtual training sessions is to keep learners engaged. Studies show that 3 out of 4 learners get bored in virtual training sessions and often drop out. The traditional method of using ppts crammed with information and data is no longer working to keep learners engaged.
Before the pandemic, organizations used to show fresh hires around the campus and give them formal training onsite before they start working on real projects. The fresh hires were also introduced to the work culture, colleagues, and their day-to-day tasks. But after the pandemic, the hiring is done virtually. The fresh hires who have just graduated and have no experience are finding it difficult to adjust to their new roles. If the virtual onboarding programs aren’t engaging and don’t cover the foundation training, it’ll create a lot of serious issues for the new joiners and for the organizations.
Consistency in training
As discussed above, the rapid changes in technology have given rise to continuous training. The primitive method of training once is no longer fruitful. And after the pandemic employees have scattered around the globe. So, creating training programs frequently and delivering them in multiple locations and at different time zones has become one of the biggest hurdles for organizations and learning and development professionals.
One-size fits all training is no longer working. Many distinct roles such as data scientist, AI specialist, AR & VR simulator, and cybersecurity engineer, that weren’t even heard of a few years ago, have become important roles in the IT industry. So, training programs now need to be customized as per the roles and responsibilities and to cover relevant tech stacks.
Tracking the performance
How are the training and development programs impacting the employees? How to track it wisely? Since the pandemic, employees have dispersed to different geographical locations, it has become a challenge to find out how they are reacting to the training and whether the training programs are having any positive effect on their performance.
Evaluating the overall training and development strategy
A report by Skilling today says that 77% of Indian companies are investing heavily in learning and development programs. But how much is the return on investment of these programs? Many l &d professionals still find it tough to measure the ROI of learning programs. McKinsey once reported that only 8 percent of companies are into evaluating the value of L&D programs. The learning budget is cut off or sometimes the learning strategy is entirely dissolved when L&D professionals fail to prove to upper management that their programs are really impacting the business goals.
1. Learning Experience Platform
For many years, organizations have been relying on learning management systems (LMS) to manage their employees’ training and development needs. But these systems have been slow to adapt and integrate with other applications and systems. LMS is a standalone solution, and the need of the hour is a flexible and robust cloud-based Learning Experience Platform (LXP).
Using a cloud based LXP will enable you to provide a hands-on training environment to your learners. Instead of learning, waiting, and then doing, your learners can learn and apply the newly gained skills and knowledge to real-world projects simultaneously. It’ll help them retain the information for a longer period. And labs give you the freedom to structure your learning content into small, easy-to-digest modules, that can be consumed by your learners at flexible time. And unlike LXP, LMS can be easily integrated into existing browsers or systems in just a few clicks.
LXP also supports learning at your own pace. Your employees can log into LXP at their flexible time and can learn in their own time, without having to leave the comfort of their homes.
2. Engage your learners with gamification, peer & social learning
A good LXP will also allow you to add interesting games, quizzes, assessments, and real-world projects to your training programs. Having all of these will help you to make your virtual training sessions more engaging.
You can also use collaborative and social learning to hook your learners. Here are a few advantages of peer and social learning.
- Team Communication: When a group of learners works on a project or a problem, it’ll strengthen the team bonding and communication and decrease the fatigue of online learning.
- Feedback: Your learners don’t have to wait for feedback from the mentors. They can give feedback to each other.
- Knowledge sharing: Sharing of knowledge leads to an increase in knowledge. They can help each other by solving their doubts and sharing the essential knowledge between them.
3. Training as per the needs
For many years, organizations have been using a one-size-fits-all training method. This is no longer producing the desired results. L&D professionals should use assessments to find out what skills are the employees lacking and based on the results training programs should be customized.
For example, the requirements of a Java developer and a web developer will be different. The requirements for a cloud engineer and a cybersecurity engineer would be different. There may be an intersection of skills in their roles, but to accomplish the major responsibilities, specific role-based training is needed.
The requirement also differs for a fresher tech skilling and an experienced tech skilling.
Experienced employees would’ve got a grip on the technology, but they still need to get upskill to match the requirements of the new projects and organization. They need more hands-on labs, self-paced time with mentors on-demand when needed, and in-depth advanced assignments.
Whereas freshers need more concentration on technical skills. The technologies they had learned in their colleges might not be useful to the jobs they’ve been selected for.
While for lateral employees, it is important that their L&D plan is hyper-personalised based on their skill gaps and aligned to their career progression and aspirations/
Here are a few key differences between fresher tech skilling and lateral tech skilling.
Training and development programs should also be customized as per the learning paths.
Here are a few learning paths for the most-in demands role of 2022.
From the above tables, it can be observed that a few skills are overlapping, but many technologies and skills are different for each role.
How to evaluate the performance of your learning and development programs?
LXP and assessments again play a key role here. Using the reports and dashboards, you can measure the tangible training KPIs such as attendance rate, average training completion, and test scores. You can track how well your learners are responding to the training programs. And by observing their performance on the floor, you can gauge whether the knowledge transfer has occurred or not.
But LXP or assessment aren’t fully responsible to give you a clear picture of your training program’s success. You need to step beyond the usual performance tracking system to find out whether the learning programs are meeting your organization’s goals.
The most common method to evaluate the success of a training program is Kirkpatrick & Phillips model. You can also use the 80/20 rule.
You can also identify the intangible benefits of your training program. Here’s how you can evaluate:
How the training programs changed the perspective of learners? Are they happy in their jobs?
Has the employee turnover been reduced? Are they getting promoted? Have the complaints been reduced? Are they more committed to their company? Has their stress reduced?
How do learners are making decisions? Have they become more responsible? How is communication between the employees?
What’ll be the future of learning and development programs in the IT sector?
Innovative technologies will keep disrupting traditional learning methods. Learning and development departments should keep evolving to keep up with the pace.
Agility and resilience would be given priority. Instead of building training around predictable situations, L&D will focus on unpredictable solutions. Learn by doing will become a norm. Training will be vertically available. It’ll not only focus on leadership positions, but also on entry-level skills. Customized training programs will be preferred over one-size-fits-all. Training programs will become more engaging with the help of AI and AR&VR technology. Regular content will be replaced with games and engaging real-world projects.