Learning & Development

Adapting Traditional Learning Techniques for the Hybrid Job Economy

In a tech-dominant world, companies now expect employees to possess the skills needed to harness the power of technologies in the workplace. Research into job postings and résumés has shown that jobs are becoming increasingly complex and call for a broader range of skill sets than what is traditionally required for them, leading to the evolution of “hybrid” jobs.


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What Are Hybrid Jobs?

Job hybridization is emerging across all industries, from marketing to IT, and is forcing employees to expand their expertise into new areas, such as data analysis in marketing or an IT manager needing to develop creative agility.

According to Burning Glass, job openings that required the application of statistics to business problems grew from a mere 150 in 2010 to 1.7 million in 2018, so this hybridization has already become a reality. This exponential growth in demand for more complex hybrid jobs, which require combinations of skill sets that traditionally would not be found on the same résumé, has naturally led to a limited supply of talent.

Hybrid Jobs Create Skills Challenge

In order to keep up with this change in the job market, employees must extend their skill sets, which, in turn, puts a strain on hiring managers as they deal with a smaller talent pool of those able to meet broader skill set requirements. Recruiters have coined the term “purple squirrels” to describe these much-sought-after candidates, who have the perfect, often impossible combinations of skills for a given job.

For hiring managers, the hiring process is going to become much longer and more drawn out and expensive, making it unsustainable over the long term. As such, companies should look internally, with a view to invest in and grow their existing workforce to fill emerging hybrid jobs.

Training for Hybrid Jobs

To help employees maximize reskilling for hybrid jobs, learning and development (L&D) leaders should first make learning more accessible across the organization. Currently, most L&D programs follow vertical structures whereby employees from a specific discipline are only provided access to programs for their own field.

However, training your people for the hybrid jobs of the future—where skills will overlap across departments more frequently—necessitates a different approach. L&D leaders should create a culture of learning in which employees perceive learning as part of their function. This means L&D should be easily accessible and digestible for each employee and an integral part of the tool set they can access to help them succeed.

As the hybrid job market continues to evolve, it will be essential for L&D leaders to monitor the trends shaping the industry and adjust their programs accordingly. L&D can no longer be seen as a onetime undertaking. Rather, learning programs should be continuously updated to reflect the changes emerging within the workforce. By partnering with company leaders to preempt the next big technology trends, such as artificial intelligence (AI) or robotics, L&D leaders can get ahead and make sure their employees don’t lag behind their peers at other organizations.

When creating learning programming, L&D leaders should remember to focus on the intent of the program instead of just the skill set. For learners, frequency and content of the course material have a bigger impact on how they learn than the way they go about it. As a result, it is critical for L&D to ensure that the material being provided to learners will teach timeless principles instead of just the latest flavor of the month.

Overall, it is important for L&D leaders to cultivate a growth mind-set and a culture of agility when it comes to job function among employees. This approach will help prepare your people for the steady stream of changes to come that might not yet be apparent.

In this dynamic landscape, leaving talent development to chance (by not equipping employees with multiple skill sets) could have a negative impact on not only your company’s well-being and the happiness of employees but also the organization’s bottom line.

Rajeev Mandloi is a professional with over 23 years of experience in the HR and L&D field. He is currently with Harvard Business Publishing as the Learning Solutions Lead for the Middle East and has trained over 1000 professionals over the years. Rajeev is also an Executive Coach certified by Marshall Goldsmith.