What Netflix and Employee Development Have in Common

What Netflix and Employee Development Have in Common
From Recruiter - February 18, 2018

Disruptive technologies regularly shake up our workplaces, changing everything from the way we perform simple tasks to how we communicate with one another. To keep pace, companies need workforces who pursue continual education in order to meet new demands as they arise. However, its up to employers to provide the resources workers need to develop those skills. That old training VHS training from 1997? Not going to cut it.

Todays workers are also todays consumers, and theyprefer to absorb information in new ways. Employees need their training like they need their Netflixon demand.

Weve seen a lot of consumer habits invade the business world, and binge-watching is one example, says Shelley Osborne, head of learning and development (L&D) for online learning platform Udemy. Netflix and Amazon have given customers the power to program their own TV schedules, and employees now want the same freedom to decide for themselves what, when, where, and how theyre going to learn.

These employee preferences mean employers need to move beyond one-size-fits-all training sessions at designated times and places.

Any L&D program must be flexible and responsive enough to meet individual needs and changing workplace conditions, Osborne says. Learning needs to be woven into the way people perform their jobs, so its not a scheduled event but an ongoing engagement.

The Workplace Isnt a GameOr Is It?

More and more L&D professionals areusing gamification as a means to encourage voluntary employee participation inprofessional development initiatives. Gamification has been shown to improve employee focus, but it can alsocreate undue anxiety if it isnt implemented correctly.

The important thing is to understand what gamification is, what it isnt, and how it works, Osborne says. In a work context, gamification is when we use game elements to motivate employees and influence their behavior. Game-based learning is when we use a game as part of the learning process. Problems arise when people think they can boost engagement and outcomes just by turning a boring exercise into a game or by setting up a leaderboard to drive competition.

Beforegamifying anything and everything, L&D professionals need to take a step back and ask if gamification is the right way to connect with employees in a given context.

For example, some teams could find leaderboards off-putting or stressful, Osborne says. If they havent taken the time to define the behaviors theyre trying to shape, L&D people wont get the results they want from their fun gamification tools, nor will they see lasting improvements in employee performance.

Speaking of games, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies have come to prominence recently in the consumer gaming world. Its likely these technologies will have an impact on workplace L&D as well in the very near future.

These technologies hold tremendous promise for delivering knowledge and understanding to workers precisely when and where they need it most,says Osborne.


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