<i>Dear Workforce</i> What HR Trends Have The Most Impact On Training

April 21, 2002

Dear Trust Ops:

One of the most significant trends is theapplication of electronic and information technology to HR systems. New, robustsoftware applications are available for nearly all HR systems (e.g.,recruitment, selection, compensation, training and development, etc.) that notonly increase speed and efficiency, but also allow system integration. Thistrend is rapidly transforming how employees will learn and develop new knowledgeand skills.

Perhaps the biggest change will be the shiftfrom organization-directed to self-directed learning and development. Employeeswill be given the responsibility and the means to diagnose their strengths andweaknesses, develop personal learning paths, and then complete learning anddevelopment activities on their own.

This is all made possible by e-learning systemsthat offer diagnostic tools like online multi-rater assessments, Web-basedtraining (and online registration for classroom training), electronicperformance support tools, and sophisticated tracking and administration tools.It will be challenging for employees to learn these new tools, but it might bemore challenging for employees to re-learn how to learn. Most of us, for most ofour lives, have had others direct us to the classroom (parents, guidancecounselors, supervisors) where we've been taught by teachers.

Although some of this direction and support willstill be available with e-learning, most employees will need to find themotivation, initiative, and direction to learn and develop from within. They'llalso need to become proficient at deciding what, how, and when to learn.

A related HR trend is the shift from traditionaljob descriptions and prescribed career paths to role definitions and adaptablelearning paths. In today's high-velocity business environment, jobs can quicklycome and go or morph into different functions or roles. Increasingly, breadth ofcapability (e.g., leading a team, managing a project, handling customers) issuperseding depth of knowledge as the currency of individual success. Again, theemployee is responsible for adapting to new roles and obtaining the knowledgeand skills to be successful in the role.

For employees who want to make a positive impactin their work, these trends are both energizing and challenging. A question manyHR professionals ask is: "are employees ready to take control of theirlearning and development?"

SOURCE: Jim Concelman,production manager, Development Dimensions International, Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania, Sept. 25, 2001.

LEARN MORE: See "What toConsider When Moving to Web-Based Training"

The information contained in thisarticle is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, butshould not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember thatstate laws may differ from the federal law.

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