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Talent Development

4 Learning and Development Trends to watch for Employee Development

March 17, 2022
5-minute Read
Emily Vo

Emily Vo

Growth Hacker
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March 22, 2022
Talent Development

4 Learning and Development Trends to watch for Employee Development

5-minute Read
Emily Vo

The world has changed, and so has the workplace. Companies now operate in a remote and in-person environment—a hybrid workplace. With that comes new challenges for corporate learning and development (L&D) professionals: how do we implement new remote onboarding and training programs? How do we measure productivity for virtual teams? How do we identify cutting-edge digital processes and software tools to facilitate a high-performing hybrid workplace? And how to keep employees motivated and continue growing?

Nevertheless, priority number one for most HR leaders and organizations will be building upon critical skills and competencies, according to the top trend identified by Gartner in their recent survey. We'll delve into more details about this priority later on in the article, but for now, let's go over the most notable trends in employee development to give you an idea of the current landscape.

1 – Learning and development roles now report to the C-suite more often

In a traditional HR model, those responsible for employee learning and development at work don't usually report directly to executives, but times are changing. Indeed, we see more organizations themselves are changing as we go through the shifts in how we look at the work process and what support employees need to remain resilient.

According to the LinkedIn Workplace learning report, 66% of L&D pros agree learning and development are focused on rebuilding or reshaping the organization. In comparison, 64% believe that L&D moved from a 'nice to have to a need to have in 2021. As L&D is becoming a more critical process to support employees in their daily work, an organization that wants to stay on the top of their game need to foster this culture.

Consequently, learning and development roles are getting a seat and influencing the C-suite's decision-making process. Usually, L&D and HR leaders sit reactive instead of proactive participants, yet we see the change. The key to building a solid and continuous learning and development culture is to entice the C-suite to notice the benefits of improving employee development and learning on the job with a digital-first approach.

We also think that L&D professionals need to acquaint themselves with new skills and learn how to speak the business language to show the stakeholders the impact of learning in numbers.

2 - Personalised learning experiences and transitioning to digital learning

The pandemic brought in many changes in the learning experiences as many organizations now recognize that their employees have different needs. It also replaces paper learning and led-training session with more personalized learning options thanks to the advancement of technology. We see the introduction of edutech tools such as the Learning Management System. These LMS are not only accessible for everyone but also provide flexibility that fits their needs and schedules.  

Most workplaces are often distracted by driving productivity in their daily operations that they overlook the learning aspect. Or they may be too focused on the physician workforce while neglecting the needs of digitally-enabled employees. Therefore, shifting to a digital learning model can help scale learning cut down on transport and workshop venue costs. 

In addition, according to the Brandon Hall Group’s 2021 State of Learning Practices Study, 93% of companies strongly agree organization, and individual performance can be improved through personalized learning. Employees are now seeking more engaging, intuitive, and interactive experiences to learn and exchange experiences. Besides offering online learning opportunities, building an internal learning ecosystem is vital to staying resilient. Allow employees to learn together will help them remember better and have opportunities to implement their knowledge

3 – Building upon critical skills and competencies

Still, the most important trend is the need to build upon critical skills and competencies to transition an organization's focus from role to skills and build a skill-based organization instead. A recent survey by Gartner revealed that 47 percent of HR professional concern is to identify what skill gaps their organizations need to fill. Therefore, identifying which skills and competencies are business-critical should take priority moving forward.

Another fact that Gartner revealed puts the problem in yet another light. Nearly a third of the skills listed as requirements in the typical 2018 job posting no longer apply. More skills we currently value will diminish and become less relevant to the workplace in the coming years. Add more pressure to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion to the mix, and it's easy to see what lies ahead.

The demand to close the skills gap and fill the talent shortage might pressure organizations to find a way to track skills, thus reskilling within an organization. Fortunately, you’re not alone if your company is still struggling to discover which skills need strengthening today and which skills will be most helpful in the next few years.  

One solution is to start analyze the availability of skills to make skills inventory. Look into a new way to capture your team's current skills set and categorize the level of those skills, from novice to expert, for example. An alternative is to have your employees evaluate their current skills and set those they wish to learn. This helps you and your employees gain insights into where their skills are the strongest, what skills they have that they may not be using, and where they need upskills or reskills. Hence, the skills portfolio you have that are actively developed and updated will enables better resources redeployment and skills learning agility.

Related: How to transition your organization to focus on skills instead of roles.

4 – Emphaizing ROI

Another thing to keep in mind is that the pandemic has created an urgent need to measure the return on investment (ROI) of learning programs and digital platforms. Organizations are asking their team to track metrics with the same rigor as another business department. Measuring ROI of learning and development aims to answer whether employees are gaining new knowledge and skills that increase efficiency and reduce workplace costs. Therefore, when adopting a new learning platform or planning a Learning & Development Program, it’s critical to keep track of employees’ learning progress and measure relevant metrics to help C-suite understand the importance of L&D to the overall business.

The bottom line

We’ve only covered a small selection of Learning and Development trends this year. As the economy is constantly developing, more changes will emerge that require a quick response from the organizations. However, we think that these trends are the most related to the people development process and can be worked on to ensure that employees have room to develop and remain resilient.


Personalizing learning for the future of work

LinkedIn workplace learning 2021 Report  

Mckinsey & company - Beyond hiring: How companies are reskilling to address talent gaps

2021 Gartner Survey reveals HR leaders' number one priority in 2022 will be building critical skills and competencies.

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