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The training and development (T&D) sector will be shaped in the year ahead by some current trends, according to AMA Enterprise, a division of American Management Association that provides assessment, measurement and tailored learning solutions.
“Employees today know more about T&D’s role in their careers and are savvier about tapping into opportunities from their companies and also external sources,” said Sandi Edwards, senior vice president for AMA Enterprise, in a prepared statement about the trends. “Add to that growing scrutiny from senior management, tighter budgets and the relentless impact of globalization, and we have a set of trends that every training professional must anticipate and adapt to.”
AMA Enterprise identifies the following trends that will have an impact on the industry in 2013:
Training executives are being pressed for transparency. Organizations need to become more open about their policies and practices, and the T&D function is no exception. This means employees will expect greater openness from executives about performance review criteria, changes in corporate strategy, career advancement opportunities, high potential program selection and even management succession.
Coaching programs will draw greater scrutiny. Coaching will continue to be a key tool in executive and leadership development, but there will be fewer blank checks as organizations expect to see clear success criteria as part of any engagement to get real return on this type of development investment.
Demand for basic skills training is expected to re-emerge. Because of the recession and budget constraints, programs devoted to developing basic skills often took a back seat to highly focused training modules designed to meet specific short-term needs or pressing business challenges. Expect to see a renewed demand for training programs designed to build communications skills, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity, all of which are needed to improve employee productivity.
Globalization will shape more leadership programs. While some organizations have long had a global dimension in their leadership development initiatives, most companies find they must play catch-up or lose ground in an increasingly integrated, competitive global marketplace.
Companies will turn to training to build employee loyalty. With organizations facing more employee restlessness and turnover, senior management will turn to HR and T&D to build closer relationships with high-performing workers and to use development as a means to improve retention and engagement.
Workers will be more assertive about high-potential programs. The process of selecting candidates for high-potential programs up to now has typically been discreet and low key. The process is becoming more open, however, and ambitious individuals volunteer enthusiastically for any kind of leadership development offering.
Learning will continue to go mobile. Blended learning approaches that integrate the best of Web 2.0 learning programs and social media—accessible via both web and mobile devices—will make development opportunities highly flexible options for end users.
Change is nothing new to training and development, observed Edwards. “But some change is evident, and other change [is] less obvious. Development professionals must stay prepared and be able to respond to change in all its forms.”
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