Workforce Training and Development: 3 Approaches to Current Events

Let’s be honest – the workforce is going through a lot. We live in a moment that has gone beyond the 24-hour news cycle and into the permanent “doom scroll,” “a phenomenon where you constantly scroll or surf through social media and other news sites in order to keep up with the latest news.” This is something that workforce training and development professionals can help with.

Particularly in more casual, workforce-driven arrangements like gig work, L&D programs are competing for attention with the latest swings in public opinion, news about war and – whether you think they are good or bad – potentially tremendous social changes. The question is how to drive attention toward training and keep folks productive despite the news cycle.

What Is Workforce Development?

Workforce development refers to the process of preparing and educating individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge to enter, maintain, or advance in the workforce. The primary goal of workforce development is to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the workforce, as well as the economic growth and prosperity of the community.

This process may involve providing education, training, and other services to help individuals acquire the skills and knowledge needed to perform specific jobs or advance in their careers. It may also involve providing support services such as job placement assistance, career counseling, and financial aid to help individuals overcome barriers to employment.

Workforce development initiatives can be carried out by a variety of organizations, including government agencies, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and private sector employers. The programs and services offered by these organizations may vary depending on the needs of the community and the individuals they serve.

Workforce development might involve the following steps:

  1. Assessing the Needs of Potential Workforce Members: Workforce development programs start by identifying the specific needs of the community, such as the demand for particular roles, the availability of qualified workforce members, and the challenges that job seekers face in business building or making money.
  2. Developing Training Programs: Based on the needs assessment, workforce development programs create training programs that provide individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the workforce. These programs may include onboarding, initial learning, and continuous upskilling.
  3. Monitoring and Evaluating Program Outcomes: Workforce development programs continually monitor and evaluate their outcomes to assess the effectiveness of their programs. This may include tracking the number of individuals who complete training, the number who remain affiliated with the company, and the average sales produced by those who finish the program.

Workforce Training: Keep Calm, Be Productive

While we have previously covered anxiety in the workforce, this topic is different. It is not so much anxiety we are dealing with here as the question of the “doom scroll” and the loss of work-life balance, caused by the loss of a feeling of control. This is the issue of how to keep people engaged at a time when many might ask, “What’s the point?” When used effectively, training programs can show folks that work can actually be a productive distraction from current events, over which individuals might feel themselves to have comparatively little control. 

Below, we lay out a few ideas for L&D professionals who want to implement workforce training that is truly responsive to new challenges in work-life balance, which has been called “a public health crisis.” 

1. Implement Smart Gamification

Here’s the thing – the doom scroll is not fun for the workforce. It is fundamentally not enjoyable for people, this sense of having lost control over events. No matter your perspective on the issues of the day, most of us have no doubt felt this. But training and e-learning can become fun.

One key way to make workforce training into a counterweight against current events is gamification. As eLearning Industry writes in an article from 2020, gamification refers to “using game elements in non-game settings,” like training, “to create learning experiences that motivate and engage.” Think of workforce training and development programs that make the learning experience feel like a personalized journey. 

The advances of the digital transformation – all-in-one platforms, automation, cloud computing – can make gamification fairly easy to implement. Smart gamification can use digital technology, like mobile apps, to show distributed workforce members the training activity they need to complete for their personalized progress at the moment it is most relevant.

L&D leaders can use such platforms to make training into a game-like experience of progressing toward a goal, not so different from winning at a video game. The added benefit, of course, is that gamification leads to productivity, experience, and income.    

2. Make Training Easy

Where many L&D professionals go wrong is in not making the Workforce Experience (WX) easy. We commonly hear complaints about folks in the distributed workforce who want to work but are overwhelmed by onboarding. Documents, trainings, and compliance materials are all located in different systems. Members of the workforce have to log in to multiple systems just to get onboarded and trained – YouTube, Gmail, Google Sheets, Facebook, etc.

We might call this a “leaky pipeline.” TechTarget defines a leaky pipeline as “a system designed to channel something from one place to another that is flawed in such a way that it loses some quantity of what it carries before it reaches the destination.” 

At Rallyware, we provide an all-in-one performance enablement platform (PEP), and we hear from many prospective customers that the leaky pipeline models one of their core problems. Before turning to an all-in-one platform, their workforce gets fatigued from having to use so many separate, siloed systems that they drop off. 

If you’re seeking to counterbalance the effects of the “doom scroll,” having a leaky pipeline won’t help and might even worsen the problem. Leaky pipelines, which make workforce training and development feel more complicated than it should be, only add to the feeling of fatigue that defines the loss of work-life balance. However, setting up easy workforce training, training that uses gamification to motivate and engage, counteracts this trend. We visualize it in the chart below:

As you can see, difficult workforce training and the “doom scroll” overlap in making the workforce feel tired and powerless. “What’s the point?” they wonder, especially if they’re involved in casual work arrangements like gig work, where they get out what they put in. “The training is so confusing that it makes this whole thing seem unprofitable!” But when training is set up to be easy and engaging, the opposite occurs. 

One insight of work psychology is that humans are not going to be productive when they feel like they’re wasting their time. It just doesn’t seem worth it – a basic calculation. 

On the other hand, entrepreneurial activities can help the workforce restore a sense of control over their lives. They might not be able to control the news, but they can control their performance and productivity. Delivering easy training, combined with smart gamification, makes the workforce want to put in hours. It counterbalances the “doom scroll” and the leaky pipeline, making folks say, “Hey, I can do this.” 

3. Find Tech That Optimizes Progress & Performance

Lastly, this is a time when folks feel a sense of powerlessness. It is a serious wellness issue, the Huffington Post writes. In this sense, it helps to feel a direct, measurable sense of growth. 

The digital transformation can help provide that sense of growth. As an L&D leader, you can find technology that visualizes goal-based progress and optimizes performance. The only thing is that it has to be strong technology. For example, Rallyware’s end-to-end platform shows users where they are in their growth journey, where they want to get to, and how to get there. It shows them the trainings to take, the moves to make, and the tasks to complete in order to achieve their goals. 

Plus, Rallyware does all of this with data-driven personalization and automation. Each user’s experience is particular to them. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, but one that adapts and evolves depending on the specific user. This helps them feel that they’re growing in a way that is specific to their personal goals

At a time when the “doom scroll” can make us feel like less of an individual, such technology can help us feel more real to ourselves – more unique. Rallyware shows folks how to take control over their own growth. It is an experience of re-empowerment. 

Rallyware’s end-to-end performance enablement platform makes workforce training easy and fun – from onboarding, to training automation, to ongoing learning. Click here to request your demonstration.