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Skills Development & Training News South Africa

5 trends in people development

Businesses have long struggled with how to train their employees effectively, while showing a solid return on investment (ROI).

The challenge that training and HR practitioners face is that the traditional approach to learning is dry, passive and disengaging. Today's workers need more than a 'talking head' and a projector to keep their attention and get them engaged. This generation, particularly Millenials, thrives in connected, interactive, and social settings; they excel in competitive, strategic situations.

There will be increased interest in employee development in 2015, according to analysts such as Deloitte and PWC. Lize Monametsi, Head of the Game-based Learning Division of Aim, said that this year will highlight the changes that organisations will have to make in their learning and development strategies in order to remain relevant to their workforces - and stay competitive as a result.

Monametsi has identified the following trends that will have a marked impact on people development in the year ahead:

  • The rise of game-based learning: Employers and HR practitioners are increasingly realising that those skills that players use when they are playing games like Angry Birds - on-the-spot problem solving, strategic decision making, critical thinking, and the complete concentration they have while playing their game of choice - can be harnessed to help them become more engaged at work, acquire new skills and even learn to lead their co-workers.

    Flexibility and accessibility, combined with an interactive experience for the learner, makes game-based learning the ideal solution for corporate training today. According to a 2008 e-learning Guild Immersive Learning Simulations survey, 93% of the organisations using game-based learning rated the approach as better than other forms of rich-skill practice and 76% reported a positive ROI;

  • Technology as an enabler: Technology is a part of life, but it's not replacing people. For all the technological tools now available to businesses, it's the people, making that human-to-human emotional connection, who, ultimately, will continue to solidify the organisation's competitive advantage.

    When it comes to on-the-job learning, technology changes the entry point, but, if anything, it intensifies the level of interpersonal skill required. Technological applications, such as game-based learning, provide the connection through technology to the human element, such as effective learning and business culture;

  • Values become core to leadership: According to research conducted by Deloitte in May last year, companies frequently say they want to strengthen their leadership pipeline, yet corporate leadership capabilities are dropping. The analysts say that: "Today's leaders should be globally aware, innovative, experienced in the business, and ready to make decisions quickly and with rigour."

    Monametsi added that this is leading to the rise of management policies that foster sustainability and a slow transition from the autocratic, control-and-command management style to its more democratic variety - both demonstrating how the human side of business has become a growing factor in the success of leadership;

  • Continuous learning on the rise: Monametsi believes that peer-to-peer and continuous learning will increase in importance in coming years. While a great deal of time has been spent on competency development, very little has been dedicated to allowing individuals to take ownership of their own ongoing development.

    There are no simple, existing models or programmes that will be sufficient to develop the levels of collective leadership required to meet an increasingly complex future. 2015 will therefore see much greater focus on innovation in leadership development methods; and

  • The ongoing skills shortage: Talent shortages have forced a quarter of financial services CEOs to shelve a strategic initiative or miss out on a market opportunity over the past 12 months, according to research by PWC. This trend applies equally to all other sectors, according to Monametsi.

    The ever-present skills gap, combined with need to retain and engage incumbent staff in the face of stiff competition, is leading to increasing investment and innovation in people development.

    "As the business environment continues to change and grow in complexity, the pressure is on for managers and executives to adapt quickly and rise to the challenge. Make sure your training plans for 2015 are aligned behind a strategy that reinforces the attitudes and beliefs that will deliver results for the long haul," Monametsi concluded.

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