By this next year of 2020, Millennials are said to comprise half of the American workforce. By the year 2025, roughly 75% of the global workforce will be Millennials. They are no longer up-and-coming: they are here. Anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 23 to 38 in 2019) is considered a Millennial (pewresearch.org). The “job” and “workplace” as we now know it is evolving into something completely different and for some, unrecognizable. Tools and technology that are used in the office are changing, and therefore the workspace and culture of companies are completely altering as well.
The significance of culture cannot be stressed enough – “It affects or defines the ability of the leadership and employees to relate to each other for the common good of the organization and operate within a mutually agreed and acceptable boundary of cultural values and emotional interface” – (Entrepreneur.com). Culture means everything, and the culture of organizations will be directly shaped by this generation’s habits and expectations.
Despite a reputation for being lazy, self-centered, and noncommittal to their employers, research and surveys have affirmed that Millennials are actually motivated and driven by numerous things. According to a recent Deloitte Millennial Survey, Millennials desire roles that offer purpose and the opportunity to change their personal and professional environment. How do they want to make their impact? As stated by The Future Workforce Study, the answer is through technology.
Millennials have been exposed to technology and have had more screen time than any other generation in history. As it has become completely incorporated into their everyday lives, Millennials no longer ask for competent technology at their work; they expect it. While this expectant behavior may be seen as entitlement, Millennial workers are really just wanting the tools needed to perform their job efficiently.
As this tech-dependant generation is close to representing more than half of the global workforce, organizations are looking for cutting-edge tools to meet their employees’ needs. One of the most essential needs is personal and career development through learning programs (Forbes.com).
In a recent poll by Gallup, 87% of Millennials surveyed claimed professional development was an imperative part of their job. This desire to learn and grow is a key trait that separates Millennials from previous generations in the workplace. Learning management systems, certification programs, and workplace training opportunities are not just attractive benefits, but absolutely necessary in engaging and retaining these employees.
Learning management systems have the ability to enhance training programs and help with certifications through video, audio trainings, and quizzes. These strategies are critical in retaining this group of employees, because although they have a reputation for moving from job to job, Millennials have a record of remaining with organizations that offer personal and professional development opportunities.
In addition to these personal and professional development opportunities, Millennials crave and require feedback and communication. This generation has experienced the accelerated evolution of communication through technology. Immediate response time of text messages, instant messengers, and group chat applications are not just for personal matters, but are now an employee demand (Paycom).
Millennials and technology are undoubtedly changing the workforce. In this era of rapid changes, it is important to understand how technology has become an integral part of Millennials’ goals to impact this world of change. Do not wait – give your workforce the technology they need to innovate and change the world in ways previous generations would not even dream of.
If you are like the majority of Americans, you are probably glued to your smartphone. You likely use it to check emails, keep track of the news, and interact with friends on social media. In fact, 2016 was the first time that mobile Internet use surpassed desktop use, tipping the scales at 51.2% for mobile, and 48.7% for desktop (techcrunch.com).
With this in mind, it’s important to understand how crucial it is to have a mobile accessible platform and content. Just because your organization has a website, doesn’t mean it is optimized for phones and tablets. Not to mention, there are 56.7 million Americans who have a disability (2010 U.S. Census). According to the World Health Organization, there are 285 million people with visual impairments worldwide, 39 million of whom are blind, as well as more than 360 million people who have disabling hearing loss.
Mobile plays a central role in providing an exceptional degree of autonomy to individuals with these and other types of disabilities. Mobile devices and applications can provide access to information and services that might otherwise be unavailable. In 2013, Georgia Tech’s Wireless Engineering Rehabilitation Research Center conducted a study that showed 92% of people with disabilities use a “wireless device such as a cell phone or tablet.” Many use a screen reader, which is a piece of software that relays content and functions audibly to the user.
Additionally, the New York Times reported in October 2017 that the Baby Boomer generation (those between ages 53 and 71) are a coveted buying audience by many industries, primarily due to having discretionary income and the time to spend it. The New York Times also cites a report by eMarketer for AARP, which claims that more than 60% of boomers owned a smartphone is 2016, and 73% of people ages 50 to 59 owned a smartphone and used it daily. Incidentally, age-related farsightedness, which makes screen text difficult for some, affects both men and women around the age of 40.
Mobile websites and applications have revolutionized the way we stay in touch, conduct business, search for goods and services, and keep ourselves entertained and informed. As these services and information sources move to a mobile environment, it is critically important from both civic responsibility and litigation standpoints, that content be available to everyone. It’s also important for mobile web designers, developers, and content providers to remember the end user – and that even if you aren’t directly impacted by a disability, many in your potential user base could be (Vivian Cullipher, microassist.com).
Making online content accessible means building a website, app, document, video, or other digital medium in such a way that people with disabilities can perceive, operate, and understand your content, even when using assistive technologies such as screen readers or magnifiers. Web designers and developers, as well as the companies that own and host websites, should ensure that accessibility is built into their website from the very early stages. If you’re still not convinced, here are four more important reasons to design your mobile website to be accessible:
- Google Prioritizes Mobile-Friendly Websites
Mobile-friendly websites are prioritized over those that are not in mobile search results. The Google algorithm change that occurred in 2015 completely changed the way Google displays mobile search results. Websites that are optimized for mobile rank better than those that do not.
- It’s Becoming a Standard Best Practice
Countless websites are mobile-friendly with more and more coming online every day. Responsive web design has made mobile optimization more direct and accessible to everyone, which means users have begun to expect this level of functionality to become standard when browsing on their mobile devices.
- It Builds You Credibility
Having a mobile accessible platform and content helps you build credibility with your users, clients, and other influencers in your industry. With a mobile website, the chances of anyone who visits your site on a mobile device will more than likely have a positive experience, and this will encourage them to see you as a credible resource for information and services.
- It Benefits Your Reputation
The importance of a mobile accessible platform and content benefit you not just online, but offline as well. People will take note and remember a website they have a great experience with, and consequently they will also take note of a website that gave a poor experience. Reputation is everything, and most businesses and organizations cannot afford to give people a bad experience – digital or otherwise.
Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly are quickly falling by the wayside as our world is quickly evolving into a predominantly digital environment. Waste no time in contacting us today to help guide you in building what your users want and need. We are here to help!
Written by Kris Merchant and Christen Aldrich
The impact of COVID-19 on our present situation has been described in abounding ways: disruptive, burdensome, never before seen, unprecedented. Regardless of whether you are a student, nurse, marketing analyst, or HR Director, your professional life has most likely been dramatically affected. With this, you have undoubtedly been faced with conducting your management, learning, or business over Zoom and other virtual formats. For some, this may make things easier; for others it presents unfamiliar challenges. The world speculates when things will “go back to normal,” but there are many indicators that this is the new normal, and the way we now work is here to stay – with or without the pandemic.
It is often surmised that people grow when they are challenged, and their status quos disrupted. As COVID-19 has disrupted and continues to disrupt life as we know it, adaptive leadership becomes a crucial entity for HR Directors to represent. Adaptive leadership is a “practical leadership framework that helps individuals and organizations adapt and thrive in challenging environments. It is being able, both individually and collectively, to take on the gradual but meaningful process of change” (Cambridge Leadership). The practical tools of adaptive leadership help you identify and make progress on moments like these in your own life, team, or community (Acumenacademy.org).
One practical tool that has become not only critical in these times, but necessary for continuing business is moving things online. For the past several years, businesses, start-ups, higher education, and other sectors have deliberately been taking their work and learning online (Harvard Business Review). As most industries are being forced to move online due to the ongoing pandemic, “having a digital presence is more important than ever” (Reach Further, Eastwestbank.com). Many sectors face a two-fold challenge: successfully reorienting their products and services to be as appealing to their consumers as possible, and maintaining, engaging, and focusing their mostly-remote workforce so operations can continue and grow. Of all sectors, healthcare is particularly disrupted.
Healthcare has forever struggled to adapt to our increasingly digital world. Some would argue the barriers to a digital transformation are often decidedly nontechnological (McKinsey & Company). In a recent interview, Harold F. Wolf, president and CEO of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), considers a change of culture to be the biggest hurdle in the industry’s digital transformation. Today, the challenge of redesigning the delivery of care, and the recruitment, engagement, and development of its workforce seemingly overnight is substantial. Services such as telehealth, whose growth to scale lagged prior to March 2020, have been forced to market out of necessity. Reports in April indicated that as many as 90% of physicians in the United States were utilizing some form of telehealth technology to treat patients remotely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (Healthaffairs.org). Moreover, social media and marketing have been instrumental in appealing to a younger healthcare workforce over the past few years as Millennials and Gen Z-ers come of working age, and many healthcare facilities have begun to dip their toes into concepts such as “employee engagement” and “engagement apps.” These signs are promising, yet the shift towards digital is still reluctant and lethargic. Perhaps one of the biggest difficulties for healthcare organizations during this time – particularly HR and training managers – is the shift towards virtual learning.
Every healthcare HR Manager understands, from experience, the burden that conducting workforce trainings can become (Group Management Services). From annual in-service trainings to new employee onboarding, professional development, skills-building, re-certifications, and metric-based training requirements, the traditional training delivery and management process requires a lot of staffing, coordination, paper, collection, tracking, reporting, and occasionally, unhappy participants that don’t want to sit in a room for an hour. In March 2020, when social distancing and crowd-size regulations began taking effect, the traditional training model was flipped on its head.
As previously stated, every disruption is also an opportunity for growth and experimentation. The last five months have been exceedingly difficult for healthcare HR, particularly in workforce training and development. These obstacles are caused by the unprecedented need for training on new policies and procedures, remaining compliant with new and ever-changing regulations, continuing existing training and certification programs, and offering employees professional development opportunities that lead to better job satisfaction or promotions. Is COVID-19 here to stay? If not, is it really worth overhauling an entire training program if things will just go back to the way they were in a few months? The short answer is yes, it is worth it, and you need to know why.
Our future is unknown. It is impossible to tell if COVID-19 will be around in 6 months, a year, or even five years. But there is growing proof-of-concept for the value virtual learning has, especially within healthcare. Here are a few promising signs:
- It is already happening – virtual learning has been implemented, tested, and proved viable prior to COVID-19. The International Nursing Association of Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL, www.inacsl.org) and the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH, www.ssih.org) issued a position statement on use of virtual learning and simulation during the pandemic on March 30, 2020. Within that statement, the simulation organizations made the following assertion:
“… We can attest that virtual simulation has been used for over a decade successfully. Further, research has repeatedly demonstrated that use of virtual simulation – simulated healthcare experiences on one’s computer – is an effective teaching method that results in improved student learning outcomes…”
- For the organizations and facilities currently utilizing virtual learning to conduct at least part of their training, doing so is saving them time, resources, and money. Other benefits of online learning include:
- Larger audiences
- More subject matter
- Organization and control
- Record keeping
- Up-to-date compliance requirements
- Conducive to all types of learners (Dr. Jim Collins).
- Even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, regulations restricting group-sizes and social distancing will likely remain in effect to some degree, suggesting the necessity for virtual solutions long-term. Furthermore, in circumstances where there may be a heightened risk of cross-contamination, rampant infection, and person-to-person transmission of pathogens (COVID-19, for example), the ability to train remotely offers medical educators and learners a tremendous opportunity to develop and maintain clinical proficiency without physical contact (CAE Healthcare).
- The healthcare workforce is increasingly Millennial, who prefer virtual learning so they can engage on their own time, with their own devices, and in places they choose. By the year 2025, roughly 75 percent of the global workforce will be Millennials. Across the globe, 70 percent of tomorrow’s future leaders might ‘reject’ what business as traditionally organizational has to offer, preferring to work independently by digital means in the long term (Deloitte).
All this said, there is still a critical question that healthcare HR has: So how do we do it?
This question is what we strive to answer for you. This blog is the first installment in a new series Health WorkForce New York is releasing that explores virtual learning and how it can be implemented at your organization. We will take a look at the challenges and opportunities of virtual learning, its long-term value and impact beyond COVID-19 focuses, and will provide expert recommendations, resources, and a toolkit for successfully implementing a virtual learning program at your healthcare facility. With 8+ years of working with healthcare organizations and workforce development organizations, we will bring our insight, experiences, and expertise to you within this series.
HWapps has created an affordable, convenient service for healthcare organizations called Rapid Compliance. This hassle-free, online compliance training is designed with you and your employees in mind. The 16 healthcare compliance training modules prepared by subject-matter experts are kept up-to-date with industry regulations and on-the-job best practices, as well as optimized for learning on any device for accessibility. Within 24 hours, employees can log in to their learner accounts, access their dashboard, and begin their trainings from any internet connected device at anytime during the compliance year. Employers have the option to send automated reminders that can go out as emails or SMS text messages in order to easily and conveniently keep your employees on track. HWNY will also remove the burden of tracking your employee’s compliance training progress by sending routine compliance reports, exactly as you need them. Throughout this entire process, we provide hands-on customer support to you and your employees to ensure they’re compliant and you’re stress free.
Contact us today to learn more!