The pressure is on! With every comment President Cyril Ramaphosa makes about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and the questions on how we reskill and upskill today’s workforce, the pressure on human capital executives just keeps building up.

The challenge needs to be tackled from multiple angles with a short-term, medium-term and a long-term plan. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and stuck in analysis paralysis. At this point though, we really cannot afford not to be doing the really simple, quick stuff. Now is the time to empower our teams with critical knowledge and insights to cope with the constant changes in their environment.

How is it that in the age of zero-emission cars, 3D printing Vincent van Gogh’s ear, designer babies and AI-driven medical predictions that our response to training is still so primitive? Think about it, what happens in your organization when you are launching a new set of cutting-edge products? Or you need to comply with a new industry regulation? Or you are deploying a new ERP or CRM or some new 3-letter acronym system that comes with lots of new business rules? Or your CEO is launching your new digital transformation strategy?

Like a cowboy bringing a knife to a gunfight, we still send out emails with long memos hoping people will read them. Or herd people into one room for workshops and hope they listen. Or force them to flick through dozens of slides with a quick quiz at the end and hope something sticks. Just big bang, tick box exercises with minimal organizational impact. In an age where the modern worker has to keep up with the relentless pace of change, it is predicted that the modern worker only has about 24 minutes a week to learn. This is not a lot.

Surely by now, learning should be more integrated with our lives? Whether it’s your new customer service strategy (because we all need that revenue), or getting some pointers on negotiation tactics or prepping for that industry compliance exam, learning should be as easily consumable as our email and social media – convenient, bite-sized chunks, on demand, on the go. The opportunity to grow and learn is one of the top reasons today that people take a job, so it’s imperative to get this right for the employee experience.

Changes in technology, ways of work, business models and industry regulations have, and will, generate a tremendous demand for continuous learning and development. Micro-learning in the form of a slick app with short videos and interactive content, complemented by broadcast and personalized messaging and rapid surveys, needs to be part of the employee experience. This will support continuous learning – learning on the commute, or from the convenience of your bed, or during any dead pockets of time we have during the day. And it also supports ongoing engagement and easy communication across a mobile workforce. This is much better than the single, once-off learning events that so many of us are still doing now.

So next time you are mulling over how to close the gap between executives and the rest of the organization, or the misalignment of teams across the country that are supposed to be doing the same thing or the slow uptake of new product segments, ask yourself:

  • What meaningful engagement have teams had with this topic to position them to perform?
  • How do we rapidly share new knowledge and insights in the organization?
  • How do we measure organizational understanding on a particular topic or issue?
  • How are we positioned to keep learning and adapting?

Micro-learning provides one of the most accessible ways today to bring new staff up to speed and support ongoing learning for existing staff.

Here are 5 simple steps to boost learning and empower your teams to adapt:

  1. Get on top of the strategic priorities in each division.
  2. Find out the pains and gaps line managers perceive in their teams.
  3. Craft the change story and curate custom content to address those priorities and gaps.
  4. Package the knowledge and insights into bite-sized learning.
  5. Plan an activation and change management intervention to get people going.
  6. Where are you at in the process? What gives you the greatest challenges?