2011 Training Top 125 winners reveal their predictions for what training will look like in five to 10 years.
With the theme of this year’s Training Top 125 Gala being “The Crystal Ball,” we thought it would be fun to ask the 2011 winners to give us their predictions for what training—either in general or specifically at their companies—will look like in the next five to 10 years. Perhaps their “training visions” will spark some ideas in your organization—or at least help you prepare for what might be coming in the next decade or so. (Plus, two industry veterans offer their take at the end of this article.)
Growing information overload and pressure for workplace efficiency will drive smaller learning nuggets—some learner driven —that are captured and channeled at the moment of need. Similar expected learning and development efficiencies will expand learner self-paced programs, outsourcing, and technologies.
Health/wellness curricula will emerge, as organizations come under pressure to improve because of regulatory financial implications, and also to compete as an employer of choice. This war for talent also will create more accelerated learning, more coaching, strong career pathing options, and in-the-moment technologies so as to recruit/retain tomorrow’s talent in a competitive environment. —Annette Thompson, SVP and CLO, Farmers Insurance Group
Leaders will be called upon to create an environment that fosters passion, engagement, excitement, and motivation to continually develop to the stage for the next generation of leaders to assume key management roles. The talent crisis that exists today will exist in the foreseeable future.
Social and collaborative learning will have an immense impact on enterprise learning as we respond to the rapid pace of technological change. Social learning and knowledge-sharing communities will be necessary to retain the specialized knowledge, skill, and expertise of many Baby Boomers who will be retiring from the workforce in the next five to 10 years. We need to design and create solutions that allow for ease in collaboration and sharing of knowledge organization-wide. —Mary Beth Alexander, Director, Learning and Organizational Development, Human Resources, The Economical Insurance Group
Over the next five to 10 years, the adage, “learn anywhere, anytime,” will take on new meaning as learners continue to leverage social media, technology, and real-life experiences to drive and enhance their learning. The new virtual boundary-free classroom experience will involve leveraging digital readers, holograms, and avatars. Learners will take an increasingly active role in contributing and leading the learning experience. The role of the trainer/facilitator will emerge as one that facilitates the collaborative thought and learning experience of the participant. —Judy Whitcomb, SPHR, AVP, Learning and Organizational Development, Vi
Sanofi-aventis will continue to establish new paths for growth and revenue,
relying more than ever on the intangible assets of our employees’ contributions. Sanofi-aventis employees will manifest their contribution of these assets through exceptional personal and professional performance, significantly higher levels of engagement and commitment to excellence and have a strong integration of social and support systems aligned to the business direction. Training and Development will be an integrated solution to deliver against these demands because it will be fully integrated into the overall strategic planning process to maximize organizational success and deliver breakthrough performance results. —Tracie Hill, VP, Talent Management, sanofi-aventis
Embedded support, business performance, measurement: the right
focus for top learning organizations. Traditional coursework is yielding to learning that is fully embedding in our professionals’ processes, tools, and mind-set. Separate learning portals are going away. Planning will focus nearly exclusively on desired business results, with business leaders expecting more concrete measures of performance impact. Traditional metrics, such as instructor scores, will be secondary to the resulting business value. Without closer business alignment, learning functions are at risk of obsolescence. Yet there has never been greater opportunity for delivering impact: As we up our game, we prove our worth. —Jim Maurer, National Managing Partner, Strategic Learning, Grant Thornton LLP
We will develop the workforce through education and training that builds personal, professional, and leadership skills by tailoring knowledge to the individual and providing access when and where needed through optimal use of technology. There will be seamless continuity between individual skills training and performance on the job by periodic delivery of modular, scalable, and tailored curriculum. We will prepare the maritime force with the broad portfolio of core capabilities required to support the nation’s interest. —Rear Admiral Joseph Kilkenny, USN, Commander, Naval Education and Training Command, U.S. Navy
The Field Training and Development vision is to be a value-add business partner in the development and execution of Western & Southern Life strategies. We will support our internal customers with high-quality training programs that are data driven and responsive to the changing financial needs of our current and future customers. We will forge a connection between employee development and employee and organizational performance. Through quality innovation and continuous process improvement in our training programs, Western & Southern Life will be known as the industry leader in employee development. —Jennifer Evans, Director, Field Training and Development, Field Human Resources, Western & Southern Life
Learning and Development will continue to support the top strategic initiatives of global enterprises by aligning learning platforms that enhance performance across all levels of an organization, allowing for maximum return on investment. The technologies of the future will deliver world-class knowledge, engaging participants in unique learning ventures that will address the challenges of a dynamic business world. —Jennifer Lolli, Manager, Enterprise Training and Development, Sierra Nevada Corporation
Little things make big things happen. ISP’s goal is to create a legacy company and, in doing so, we believe you manage things and you lead people. In the next five to 10 years, we will remain mindful of our relationship-based culture and incorporate such in all training and customer service initiatives. Our goal is to be proactive and cutting-edge as it relates to the ever-evolving digital and social media world that drives our business, as well as future training programs. We will maintain our unwavering commitment to providing progressive resources and systems to our valuable team members and their professional and personal endeavors. —Anna Barton, Manager, Academy Programming, ISP, America’s Home for College Sports
The key to our success lies within the heart of each one of our dedicated and passionate trainers and coaches. We view advancements in technology as tools to enhance our skills and bring us closer to our learners across the country, but they will never fully replace the value of a talented team member’s unique skill set. Over the next five to 10 years, we will use the progress in technology to increase the skills of our team members and to find new ways to connect with our clients with increased ease and efficiency. —Jennifer Butkiewicz, Executive Training Consultant, Quicken Loans
In the future, training will continue to focus on using technologies to do more with less. But to stay viable in poor economic conditions, training also will focus on creating advocates within an organization. To do this, training will utilize the relationship management techniques used in sales. Through strong relationships, training can measure and show its impact on business while at the same time become a client’s strategic partner. Becoming a client’s strategic partner will solidify the importance and need for training in the organization and result in clients fighting for and justifying training’s existence. —Douglas M. Stover, Manager CareSource University, CareSource
In the next decade, training will function as a firm’s trusted search engine. Any employee will be able to access content 24/7 through social media and mobile learning technology. However, training will not eliminate its traditional mode of knowledge transfer through instructor-led classes. In fact, firms will hold tight to the time-tested, decades-old belief that communication and interpersonal skills always will form the foundation for commercial success. —David First, VP, Learning & Development, Suffolk Construction Company, Inc.
BCBSM is flipping the switch—transitioning from delivering traditional training via workshops to providing active and engaging learning experiences embedded throughout our culture. These new learning experiences will include skill-building through innovative learning methods such as virtual coaching; collaborative forums to solve business problems; and video clips that provide customized, just-in-time training. Employees then will apply the new skills and knowledge acquired in planned and supported experienced-based environments. —Valerie Keesee, Director, Human Performance, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Looking at the dynamics of the generation entering the workforce, this group is tied together through technology, which, in turn, has expanded the scope of who they are influenced by. They share ideas and seek feedback on almost everything from a wide range of people. Leveraging peer-level influence as a training strategy while combining it with virtual learning communities should become a common form of informal training. This will put more responsibility in the hands of the learners to transfer knowledge, which is a catalyst for ownership and reinforced learning. —Susan Mitnick, Senior Director, Training, Cbeyond University, Cbeyond
In the next five to 10 years, learning will be adaptable to meet the needs of a more global, mobile workforce. Learning will be delivered at the point of need leveraging a variety of platforms, such as mobile devices, and will embrace more social and informal learning. HR processes will be more streamlined and integrated to enable better feedback loops for learning throughout the employee lifecycle. Professional development also will be more incorporated into overall business processes that will require a heightened focus on quantifying the business impact of learning. —MetLife Global Talent & Organization Development Team
Over the next decade, the field of developmental disabilities faces a severe leadership vacuum. Many of the pioneers who have worked tirelessly over the years to raise up the needs of the disabled to a national and international level now are reaching retirement age. We see our field and our agency addressing this vacuum with increased emphasis on succession planning, performance management, and goal alignment to develop future talent to step into these key positions, as well as develop a competent front-line workforce in meeting the complex needs of people with developmental disabilities.—Elizabeth Das, M.S. HRD, Staff Development Director, Miami Cerebral Palsy Residential Services, Inc.
For the next five years, Healthpoint University’s vision is to educate, develop, and inspire all employees to exceed both their personal and professional goals. By 2020, our goal is to provide our employees a blended learning curriculum consisting primarily of situational, online, and virtual courses geared to meeting the needs of the medical community. These interactive sessions will be more customized to the individual’s job responsibilities and allow for more efficient development of skills. —Jimmy Kitson, Director, Sales Training and Development, Healthpoint Tissue Management
In the next five to 10 years, the focus shifts away from training and focuses on learning and development as the trainer becomes more of a strategic partner in business decisions and in solving business problems. The focus will be collaborative and informal with custom-designed and blended delivery systems. Responsibility for training will be shared throughout the organization with training personnel acting in a consulting role. As Gen X and Millennial employees increase in numbers, mentoring and coaching also will increase, and individual development plans will be critical in recruiting, developing, and retaining talent. —Kathy Lee, Training Coordinator, AIT Laboratories
FedEx Express has an award-winning People-Service-Profit (PSP) culture. Therefore, our training vision ensures leadership development to sustain and nurture our PSP culture and provide business skills—especially for front-line management—to survive and thrive in a global workplace. Our goals are aligned with the corporate goals and the needs of our business partners. We understand their business environments and provide creative
solutions based on our expertise. —Cathy Johnson, Manager, Business Performance Management, Human Resources, FedEx Express
Within the next five years, more knowledge transfer-type learning will be converted to e-formats that can be accessed on demand. Formal face-to-face learning will be reserved for “day-in-the-life” skill-building simulations and synthesis of previously learned concepts. Social media learning development tools are emerging to enable subject mater experts to share their expertise directly with end-user groups. The Learning organization’s role will be to traffic social media learning directly from the subject mater experts to the learner groups who need development. —Daniel C. Hill, Vice President and Chief Learning Officer, AAA - The Auto Club Group
At NetApp, we’ve seen the power of deeply aligning training development and delivery with business needs—whether the stakeholders are employees, partners, or customers. We see technology emerging that enables us to deliver training that is engaging, high-impact, and available at anytime, anyplace—fueled by real-time updates to relevant content. On the back-end, we increasingly will use advanced business intelligence platforms to drive efficiencies in developing and delivering training. The result is an advanced training infrastructure that will enable us to offer training that is of the highest value to stakeholders, providing exactly what they need to advance their business.—Jacqueline Powers, Senior Marketing Manager, NetApp
McDonald’s training will remain innovative and relevant for our diverse and multigenerational workforce. Proficient training professionals will leverage all delivery methods and various platforms to ensure training is available when and where
our employees need it. Our competitive advantage in the restaurant industry will continue to be achieved through senior management support, organizational alignment, and a commitment to training excellence. We will continue to develop talent to develop our people, build our brand, and influence our industry in a hyper-connected world.—Diana Thomas, VP, U.S. Training, Hamburger University, McDonald’s
I see training embracing and using more and more technology to allow adult learners to choose the best learning format for them. Incorporating new communication tools such as iPads, Kindles, Smart Phones, and more, to deliver live video trainings, short YouTube-like videos, and interactive computer-based trainings will be necessary to improve exposure to new content.
The learning management system (LMS) will continue to evolve to encompass all of these training mediums and capture the necessary analytics management needs on training delivery and effectiveness. —David McGeough, Senior Director, Training, Paetec
By 2020, the next planned moon landing, learning environments likely will operate with not-yet-invented, state-of-the-future-art technologies, beyond computer chips and no longer reliant on satellites, batteries, or electricity. The Vistage classroom of the future will be mobile and international, a global resource that interconnects our projected 30,000 executive members, interspersing our knowledge, cultures, economies, innovations, thought leadership, and business acumen. —Martha Oxley, VP, Learning & Development, Vistage International
Training functions will have a client-centric focus demonstrated in enhanced employee engagement. Training content will be modular in design, providing for more efficient and effective, role-oriented learning. Learning content will be accessible anywhere, 24/7 through mobile technology. Rapid design and delivery will increase speed to market. Collaboration portals will facilitate a growing use of informal learning, helping to control the speed and cost of learning development. Classroom training increasingly will be replaced with virtual environments maximizing interactivity and usability. It will be common for CEOs to equate their revenue generation with the training investment in their employees because of increased data analytics. —Senior Training Team, The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
Training will become even more of a prestigious profession, along the lines of careers such as architects and engineers, where you are crafting and engineering minds to improve performance and development. The future of the field, I believe, holds the legal recognition of our profession. Organizations such as the American Society of Training and Development already are developing coursework, codes of ethics, and theoretical bodies of knowledge that will drive the acknowledgement and respect for the training and development professional. —Douglas R. Whitcomb, VP II, Training &
Development Operations, NCO Financial Systems, Inc.
The emerging learning leader will be a professional barista, creating a new blend consisting of a liberal dose of informal learning, mixed with shots of formal methodologies. End-users, accustomed to Google-speed responsiveness, already demand that they be supported similarly in the workplace in the moment of need with real answers in real time. We will supply “I need it now know-how” with accessible tools and support to enable optimum-level performance. —Kristin Ford, Owner/President, PC Training Source, President, ASTD-TCC
Much training will be done online; however, due to technology not yet in existence, there will be an ability to have the feeling of actually being in the same room and interacting in that virtual room with others from around the world.
Students will be able to communicate in their preferred language, and group activities will occur across the airwaves in small online group rooms—again with various cultures able to feel as though they are in the room together and communicate together in their native languages.
It is essential to maintain strong communication and face-to-face interaction in mixed groups. While virtual training will allow a sense of being together, socialization classes will be as much a part of health as physical exercise and healthy eating. —Bonnie Bakkum Amundson, Amundson Life Construction