How to Do Leadership Development in a Digital World

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By 2017, over a third of the world's population is projected to own a smartphone, an estimated total of almost 2.6 billion people. The first iPhone came out just 10 years ago, and within one year an estimated one-third of the world will own a smart phone! Times are definitely changing, and your employees expect you to keep up.

As organizations, we need to learn to adapt our training to meet our employees’ needs when they need them met, which will mean looking to social platforms to support organizational goals, strategy, and in-person training. Employees are used to being accessible always, adapting quickly to new work pressures, and using apps on their phone for just-in-time learning.

A University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School study on Millennials found that:

One in three Millennials said "social media freedom" is a higher priority than salary.

65% of Millennials said personal development was the most important factor in their current job.

Additionally, a Korn Ferry Institute study found that 79% of employees would feel more motivated if their company implemented innovative mobile learning strategies, however only 10% of organizations are doing so.

We certainly have a lot to gain by leveraging social platforms to enhance our training initiatives, and the good news is that our employees want us to do so! Not only do our employees want us to utilize technology in training—technology has become an integral part of making our trainings last.

Enhance your learning and development programs with one or more of these strategies:

Blogs 

A company blog gives individuals the unique opportunity to share what they are learning, how they overcame a company-related challenge, or transferable tips for success.

Communities of Practice 

Groups commit to a common focus, discussing challenges and sharing their collective knowledge to help one another improve in this specific area. This type of forum provides a direct link between knowledge, awareness, application, and ultimately better performance. Participants in each community serve one another to solve problems, provide information, and discuss developments in their respective areas.

Not only can they engage in their community in-person, but also virtually through forums, discussion boards, and mobile responses on the go.

Internal social networks 

In our society, leadership is shifting from the individual to the collective, meaning that more often than not, we will see change and innovation emerge from social networks, rather than from the individual (Forum). Internal social networking sites also allow employees to share key learnings across departments, seek advice from a wide range of people, and collaborate in new ways.

Simulations 

Combining in-person and virtual team-based simulations helps teams to learn to collaborate with one another, not speak over each other, and work through various challenges they face as a lot of the workforce is becoming remote employees.

M-learning 

“M-learning” (or mobile-learning) refers to bite sized, easily digestible mobile friendly content, such as an action reminder taken from the in-person session, videos showed in the session, prompts to look back to content covered in-person, questions participants need to answer on their growth, knowledge, and key learnings, or key applications.

Ultimately, your employees want to be invested in, they want to learn from others, and they want to learn quickly. If you leverage the technology trends in your organization to enhance in-person training, making leadership development a long-term investment, you increase your potential to gain loyal employees who are engaged in what they are doing and a sustainable leadership pipeline stretching to the next generation!

Rachel Tomasik is an associate consultant at FlashPoint.

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