There’s often a misconception that older workers are ‘set in their ways’ and less adaptable to change – and yet, research shows that around 30% of people who are 55 and over actively want to improve their skills but feel unable to ask for help. Pair this with the fact that 34% of these employees are dissatisfied with developmental opportunities, and what you find is an opportunity for employers to boost the productivity, engagement, and overall satisfaction of their older workers.

Workers over 50 make up a third of the UK workforce and 19% over 65 currently working in the US, so it’s more apparent than ever that midlife workers bring just as much to the table as their younger counterparts – in addition to more varied and deeper experience. However, with the increasing pace of change, learning and development opportunities for older workers has been inconsistent, but is paramount in taking their knowledge and transferable skills to align with the needs of the workplace today and tomorrow.

I believe the best and most efficient way of identifying and supporting areas that midlife workers want to develop is through the use of coaching.

Employers and employees can sometimes fall into the trap of believing that coaching is only available for those in certain positions or those with potential to be in those positions, but this isn’t the case. Coaching is a way, either on an individual basis or as a team, to help employees of all ages to discover more about themselves, how to work at their best and how to overcome obstacles.

If we look at midlife workers in particular, there are many benefits for offering coaching:

  • Boosting Confidence, Morale and Performance – transitioning to new methodologies or adopting new technologies can be intimidating. Coaching provides a supportive environment where employees can express concerns, overcome fears and find a way to move forward, bringing others with them. This boost in confidence leads to increased job satisfaction, performance and a positive view of change.
  • Skills Enhancement and Adaptation – coaching can help older employees update their skills and learn new ones. This is particularly crucial at a time where the pace of change has increased exponentially, resulting in a large proportion of employees suffering from change fatigue. Through individual coaching, older workers can understand their learning style and improve focus, ensuring they remain competitive and effective in their roles, and continually being considered for new opportunities.
  • Promoting Inclusion – by investing in the development of older workers, organizations uphold their commitment to inclusivity and diversity. Coaching helps to challenge stereotypes and reduce age-related biases, fostering a more inclusive workplace culture where employees of all ages feel valued and respected.

Coaching midlife workers is a worthwhile investment for now and the future, as the return far outweighs the cost when matched and managed well. Here at OrgShakers, we have a wide range of experience when it comes to the inclusion and optimization of your midlife employees as we see how much potential these workers have. Everyone just needs the right support and opportunity to be able to share and build on their knowledge and experience.

If you would like to discuss the coaching and inclusion services we can offer in more detail, please get in touch with me at joanna.tippins@orgshakers.com or through our website here

Learning and development (L&D) opportunities are a vital ingredient for employers when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. Research from the IMC confirms this, with 92% of job candidates using L&D opportunities as a deciding factor when considering job offers, as well as 52% of employees citing that they left a role due to a lack of personal and professional development opportunities.

One skillset that many workers are keen to learn is generative AI skills, with more than 50% of employees stating they were eager to acquire those skills, according to Randstad’s Workmonitor Pulse. However, only one in ten workers were offered any AI training in the last year.

Pair this with Access Partnership’s survey which found that an overwhelming 93% of employers expect to use generative AI in the workplace in five years, and what you begin to see is that employees want to learn to master AI, employers want to implement AI…but there is a significant lack of L&D training opportunities around AI.

In the past year, we have seen generative AI platforms like ChatGPT take the working world by storm – but the narrative surrounding its uses in the workplace have been inconsistent. While some view this technological change as something that will replace certain jobs altogether, others view it as a tool to be collaborated with [AS1] to improve and perfect the human skills that are paired with it.

In order to start getting the most out of AI and offering L&D opportunities that allow for this skill development, employers need to first get a good and clear understanding of what generative AI can do for their specific business and in what areas it should begin to be implemented. While this could be a very effective time-saving tool – freeing up time for employees to focus on more meaningful work – it doesn’t necessarily have to be used just for the sake of using it. Identifying its strengths and weaknesses will allow organizations to create a clear roadmap for navigating generative AI, unlocking its full potential.

But a key part of this journey is offering the appropriate training to employees on how to use these new tools. It can be daunting to attempt to use generative AI without having a proper understanding of it; if employers are able to provide the essential training, suddenly all the myths surrounding AI will begin fading away, along with that initial fear of misusing it. As an example, take a look at this infographic on how best to communicate your requests to ChatGPT in order to get your desired results:

Ai Infographic

As the tools at our disposal continue to expand, it is important for companies to keep in stride with this burgeoning toolkit and offer L&D opportunities that allow for the development of these new skills that are quickly becoming essential ones.

And it is of the utmost importance that these opportunities are made available to all workers; unconscious bias around age can perpetuate the idea that older workers are less tech-savvy and so will be given less opportunities to grow their technological skillset, but as proven by our recent article, this isn’t the case!

This holiday season, one of the best gifts you can give your team is the gift of nourishing their hunger for opportunities to learn and develop! Those employers who do will have the strongest talent as they venture into the year ahead. If you would like to discuss how we can help provide training and workshops around generative AI in your workplace, please get in touch with me at andy@orgshakers.com

As the workplace landscape continues to evolve in the digital era, a focus on learning and development is now more important than ever. Technological advancements are seeing the culture of work begin to change and grow at an exponential rate, and so now more than ever employers should be focusing on their younger talent.

This notion is reinforced by a recent report which found that Gen Z are very keen to develop digital skills for their future careers, with 36% planning to acquire new digital skills and 40% viewing tech skills as essential to their future careers.

As conversations around the effects of AI in the working world continue to be had, recognizing the potential of Gen Z employees and investing in their upskilling could be the key to staying ahead in an ever-changing world. So, why are younger workers worth investing in?

  1. Technological Aptitude – Gen Z are often referred to as “digital natives” as they have grown up immersed in technology. Because of this, they possess a natural aptitude of digital tools, social media, and emerging tech. By harnessing this technological aptitude and placing a focus on upskilling it, employers can leverage their skills to create potential for innovation and digital transformation, which will help drive the growth of their organization
  2. Adaptability and Agility – as mentioned above, Gen Z has grown up in a fast-paced, ever-changing world. They are therefore more accustomed to adapting quickly to new environments and technologies. By investing in their upskilling, employers can harness this adaptability and agility. This invites the contribution of fresh perspectives, creative problem-solving, and a willingness to embrace change, enabling organizations to stay ahead of the competition.
  3. Bridge the Skills Gap – the rapid advancement of technology has resulted in a significant skills gap in the workforce. A global survey by Equinix discovered that 62% of IT decision-makers viewed a shortage of personnel with IT skills as one of the main threats to the sustainability of their business. Upskilling Gen Z is the way to bridge this gap and ensure a steady supply of talent with the necessary skills for the future. Training programs that focus on emerging technologies, data analysis, communication, and critical thinking can equip Gen Z with the skills required to tackle complex challenges and drive innovation.
  4. Collaboration and Diversity – members of Gen Z are more racially, ethnically and sexually diverse than any other previous generation. Due to this, they embrace collaboration and cohesion, and have a tactful understanding of morality and cultural sensitivity. This means that their perspectives are fresh, inclusive, and socially relevant, and bringing this into the workplace can do wonders for innovation and for accessing new consumer markets.

Investing in the learning, development, and upskilling of Gen Z employees can make all the difference for employers trying to get ahead in a corporate world that is constantly in a state of flux. And by placing importance on the growth of their younger employees, they will also demonstrate how valued they are from the offset of their careers, fostering a sense of loyalty which will result in higher retention rates.  

To discuss how you can unlock the full potential of this new generation in more detail, please get in touch with us here.

Sitting in the middle of cost-of-living crisis, enduring its seemingly never-ending impact, business leaders know as well as anybody the reality and real-time impact it is having on both financial and human capital. 

Whilst it’s a natural reflex reaction to protect the business bottom line by curtailing “non-essential” spending, there is a very good case to resist the propensity to reach for the laptop and delete the budget line for this year’s learning and development (L&D) provision. 

Keeping a tight grip on today’s escalating operational costs, as well as one eye on investing in future growth, is always a balancing act in any business. So it’s no surprise to read in the recent 2023 Q1 Labour Market Outlook report that the number of employees that received off-the-job-training has fallen to a two-decade low at 6.9% in late 2022. 

But in a labour market that’s tighter than ever, organisations still need to seek opportunities to build, invest, and capitalise on their talent. Yet research by IMC found that 92% of job candidates use L&D opportunities as a deciding factor when considering job offers, and 52 percent of employees had left a role due to lack of personal or professional development opportunities. This strongly indicates that talent development is an essential ingredient to attracting and retaining staff. 

No matter the size of your organisation, Learning and Development is key, so this begs the question: what should employers be focusing their L&D efforts on?

For one thing, keeping pace with technological change. This is an ever-present challenge for any and every organisation, currently emphasised by AI and its exponential shift into everyday life and the promise of the ‘future of work’.  

Whilst for many businesses AI may seem a little like “jam tomorrow”, with technology continuing to accelerate and AI’s potential expanding, akin to the emergence of smart phones in 2005, the limitations of today will give way to ground-breaking advancements. Focusing on and enabling your organisations talents and applying their strengths to keep pace and capitalise on the tech advancements is a major factor in business development. 

By shifting the focus of learning away from rigid competencies to a “business context focus”, employers are ensuring that the skills being developed within an organisation are in-step with business and environmental developments.

When considering the delivery of learning and development solutions, agility and flexibility are key enablers needed for any organisation to maximise its learning opportunities. Embracing a blend of “learning channels” whilst taking advantage of the wide availability of (internet-based) learning resources means learning can become more self-directed and more easily meet needs across the whole organisation. 

Whilst there is a natural predilection to focus on academia as a development solution, one of the most effective development tools sits within an organisation itself. Experience-based learning provides ideal career development opportunities through gaining experiences needed to excel in a specific role or function. 

By default, the outcomes needed to prove competence are already defined within a role or a project, it just requires a constructive approach and managerial support to capitalise on learning by exposure. 

In a similar vein, another proven form of L&D is the provision of opportunities for in-person mentoring and shadowing. Today, learning by proxy is often overlooked in favour of visual and auditory learning. However, with the rise of hybrid and remote working models, employees are spending less physical time with each other and the natural learning “osmosis” apparent in a physical work environment has waned.  

Restructuring the hybrid working environment can enable organisations to easily capitalise on the depth of experience held within it. One such way of doing so is by promoting a ‘learning in the flow of work (LITFOW)’ mindset. 

This learning habit comes from the idea that employees can find solutions and answers to things by using the resources they have e.g., asking colleagues or using search engines (and now AI technology).  

In an age of having information at our fingertips and working outside of the office, employees are given the space and opportunity to LITFOW. The key to doing this is actively coaching a LITFOW mindset, guiding and highlighting the correct resources available to employees. 

For development needs that require a more structured academic basis to enable progression, another often overlooked opportunity for enabling career progression is, dare I say it, an apprenticeship! 

Now before you scroll on, consider that today’s apprenticeships cover pretty much every business sector and education levels up to level 6 (degree level). Accordingly, they are available for any age 16+ (whether you’re 16 or 62, you can still start an apprenticeship), and in case you’re still not convinced, of the 195,600 apprenticeships started in 2023, 41% (82,130) of those who started were over the age of 25. 

Aside from the vastly improved quality, one of the main reasons for many small to medium sized organisations to start apprenticeships is that you should only have to pay (up to) 5% of the total training cost, with the rest funded by government grants. This makes apprenticeships a great value form of development for the staff you need to upskill.  

Even in these cash-strapped times, investing in L&D is an incredibly effective way of protecting and growing your organisation and its talent. Not only does it build learning mindsets into the fabric of your workplace culture, it also enables you to attract, develop and retain the talent you need. 

To discuss L&D strategies in more detail, please get in touch with me at gavin.jones@orgshakers.com 

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