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New Era of Talent Development: 3 Key Trends for the Hybrid Workforce


Tue Feb 06 2024

New Era of Talent Development: 3 Key Trends for the Hybrid Workforce

If recent times have taught us anything, it’s that learning professionals must be prepared to adapt to unexpected change. Doing our jobs well means keeping up with current issues and trends and looking ahead to the impact on our organizations and industries. We use those insights to respond in real time—or in the ideal cases, we can anticipate what’s coming and adjust proactively.

Our next challenge in the coming months is to future-ready our people and organizations for the hybrid era of workplaces. From generational gaps to disrupted education systems and the rise of life-altering tech, here are the three critical trends that will shape talent development for years to come.


Trend #1: Generational Disruption

The impact of the pandemic on education has been profound, creating a three-year delay in academic skills and emotional development, as well as increased mental health challenges in Gen Z and Gen Alpha students. We will experience the impact of this lag over the next two decades as they transition into the workforce, presenting both challenges and opportunities for employers.

Gen Z and Gen Alpha care about whether organizations are purpose- versus profit-driven, and prioritize those that uphold values related to diversity, equity, and sustainability—this shapes their behaviors as consumers and employees. Employers should be attuned to these priorities, recognizing that these employees will be more inclined to work at organizations that align with their ethical and social ideals. This cultural shift underscores the importance of cultivating workplace environments that prioritize not only professional growth but social responsibility as well. Organizations that can do this will be poised to attract and retain top talent and consumers.

Ways to respond:

  • Take time to attend to your own mental health and well-being. Many of us still feel the impact of burnout but have been focused on others. Now is the time to rest and recover.

  • Start exploring the traits and characteristics of Gen Z and Gen Alpha, considering what it means for your organization and industry.

  • Identify the skills and knowledge you currently expect from new hires and analyze which gaps you will likely need to fill in coming years.

  • Design solutions into your current learning paths for hiring and onboarding new employees. Also, train your managers on how to navigate this shift.

Trend #2: Education Undermined

Recent shifts in education (banned books, altered curricula, threats to academic freedom) are creating noticeable gaps in knowledge and frameworks around important topics like DEI. Consider this speech by Makya Little, a parent and DEI educator at the CIA, calling out the bias and omission within her own child’s classroom curriculum around African American history.

In addition, a lack of critical thinking skills and science literacy continues to affect worker readiness to respond effectively to climate change and the ongoing aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s more, the World Economic Forum states that 375 million workers globally will need to be reskilled by 2030.


Ways to respond:

  • Analyze the curriculum shifts in the states where you source talent and be prepared to close those gaps as they enter the workforce.

  • Create and expand content around critical thinking, DEI frameworks, and science literacy—and weave them into existing training initiatives and learning paths.

  • Build a strategy for upskilling your workforce over the next seven to 10 years with a special focus on emerging tech and climate change.

  • Prepare and train your managers to navigate the shifting preparedness of incoming employees.

Trend #3: The AI-Powered Workforce

The talent development landscape is rapidly transforming, superpowered by ChatGPT, AI, the Metaverse, and other life-altering technologies. As part of the 4th industrial revolution, this accelerating rise in tech requires an equal rise in emotional intelligence and critical thinking to combat the increased risk of misinformation and fraud.

Ways to respond:

  • Start playing with the tech in your work, for example, using it to draft training outlines or analyze program evaluations.

  • Intentionally and frequently explore implications for your org and industry (this will be ever-changing, so lean into ongoing learning).

  • Design ways to help your senior leaders understand the rapidly changing landscape and prepare learning programs to keep pace with the shifts.

  • Utilize this opportunity to engage employees with critical thinking skills by applying it to AI in the workplace.

For more insights, join me at TK 2024 for the session: The Future of TD: Critical Trends for Our Hybrid World.

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