Knowledge Trends Today: How to Meet the Needs of the Evolving Workforce (Part 1)


In the last blog, the investment in learning for organization was discussed, while this blog takes a different turn to look at the workforce today for this investment.  Consider some revealing statistics of the world today:

  •  Over 50% of the world’s population is under 50
  • 34% of marketers have generated leads on Twitter
  • 210,000 years of music have been played on Facebook
  • 1 million websites have integrated with Facebook
  • #2 Search Engine in the world is YouTube
  • Kindle eBooks now outsell hardcover books
  •  Khan Academy has delivered over 4,000 videos on everything from arithmetic to physics

[Sources:   ASTD and  Huffington Post]
Peter Drucker stated “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes”.    This quote comes to life with two college aged children that bring to perspective the evolving workforce of Generation Y/Millennial who by the year 2015 will outnumber Gen X and Baby Boomers.   This generation grew up during times of financial boom and rely on quick gratification.  They are very comfortable with multi-tasking, which so clearly explains observing our college-age daughter talking to us about graduation and completing a text at the same time.  Gen Y are tech-savvy and embrace new emerging technologies.  
So how does this relate to knowledge today?  It illustrates, that for the first time ever we have four generations in the workforce to educate all with different characteristics:

  •  Traditionalists – 1922 – 1945 – dedicated to hard work, the era of living without, and not comfortable with change and uncertainty
  • Baby Boomers – 1946 – 1965 – team driven, grew up in improved economic times, live to work, strong work ethic and desire for recognition
  • Generation X – 1965 – 1978 – independent, embrace diversity and change, grew up in times of economic challenges
  • Generation Y/Millennial – 1979 – 1997 – optimistic and goal-driven, enjoy collaboration and multi-tasking, appreciate meaningful work

With the multi-generation workforce today, we are faced with the proper fit for education content and delivery – with no single solution easy to apply to each generation.  Corporate education today is challenged with the transition from heavily focused formal education to informal education.  Education programs of all types from skills to product need to be flexible enough while still maintaining a balance between traditional methods and emerging informal methods.  The goal is not to impede learning, but rather to improve knowledge transfer.  And, all of this requires matching content with delivery for the workforce – a balancing act that can be achieved.
Look forward to the next blog on Knowledge Trends – Part 2 for ideas on what types of content and which types of delivery to embrace.
Posted by Louise Keppel, Vice President Epicor University


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