It’s safe to say that from an economic point of view, 2021 balanced out the expected with the unexpected. Even in a completely volatile economic landscape, the industry expected and saw an increase in L&D spending off the back of corporate learning going completely online.
On the flip side, from furlough to the freedom to work from home, the pandemic has seen the workforce take a moment’s pause to rethink their careers, work conditions, and long-term goals. While many predicted the continuation of unemployment rates that started in March 2020 and began the worst downward spiral since the Great Depression, 2021 saw differently in the form of the ‘Great Resignation.’
It’s all had an impact on the shifting role and direction of L&D, and if anything is for certain it’s this: in order to compete in today’s increasingly competitive and fast-paced business landscape, companies are going to have to make sure their approach to L&D is the right one. Learning-fueled performance is the way forward, and on that basis, here’s what we see for L&D in 2022.
1. Out-of-Flow Versus In-Flow Learning
Even before the pandemic, digital transformation and the ‘work from anywhere’ model’ had already begun to disrupt the workforce as we knew it. But with the pandemic, the headlines have been awash with the upskilling movement as companies race to expand education and skills training in order to adapt to market demands. According toLinkedIn’s 5th Annual Workplace Learning Report, 59% of learning leaders place upskilling and at the top of their priorities, up from only 15% who said the same the year before.
It’s great to see the speed and agility with which companies are reacting. However, many companies are already realising that in upskilling, skills alone are not enough, and the traditional course-led enterprise training model isn’t delivering business performance results.
To be really successful in their roles, people need a balance of knowledge, skills and experience (something you can learn a lot more about in our new ebook.) In order to create skills, people need to continually put knowledge into practice in the flow of work, at the same time receiving expert feedback, coaching and mentoring. Think of it this way: if you need an answer to a business-critical question, do you take a whole course, or do you look for that answer in the flow of your work?
In the race to upskill, many companies are having to seriously re-consider their learning design and how they can shift their upskilling efforts to take place in the flow of work. What we’re likely to see is a lot of companies moving their knowledge from LMS systems to platforms like Fuse, which supports a learning journey that delivers knowledge at the point of need, in the flow of work.
2. Learning will become increasingly personalised:
Basically, if you personalise learning and have people learn more often in the flow of work, they’ll learn and apply their knowledge faster. And that knowledge has the power to help get products and services out the door faster. And if companies can manage all that, the obvious result is better performance, translated into profit. Chew on this snippet from the report:
“Only 45% of companies rate themselves highly on how integral learning is to the organisation’s culture.This is driven by learning’s apparent disconnect with the business. Learning strategies are not aligned with business outcomes and the actual process of learning for many employees seems completely divorced from their jobs. Making learning more personal, relatable and easier to access within the flow of work transforms it into something more impactful and sustainable.”
Platforms like Fuse are establishing highly personalised learning journeys that help people in the flow of work and to build a real sense of community.
I predict that in 2022, many companies will begin to shift their focus towards providing a personalised learning experience for employees. This is going to mean reviewing technology ecosystems to determine how to develop and deliver personalised learning at scale, and reviewing subject matter expertise and approaches to collaborative learning. It can be a daunting transition to begin, and if you’d like to have an open and honest conversation about realistic starting points, get in touch today.
3. Learning platforms will become key to talent retention:
Call it the Great Resignation, the Great Attrition or even the Great Attraction, but employees aren’t going to stop moving jobs any time soon. As McKinsey says in a recent report: “Companies are struggling to address the problem, and many will continue to struggle for one simple reason: they don’t really understand why their employees are leaving in the first place.”
This is where companies need to start looking to L&D. Are your employees truly engaged with the learning experience and you are giving them? Is your learning platform helping them to upskill in the flow of work? Does your learning platform capture tacit knowledge from your subject matter experts, helping to guard against corporate amnesia when key employees do move on?
Companies are already looking increasingly to their learning platforms for all of these things in aid of employee and knowledge retention, and in 2022, learning platforms will become even more critical as businesses navigate the new twists and turns presented by the mass movement of employees.
If you’d like to learn more about how Fuse is helping staff retention rates, watch our videohere to learn how Panasonic boosted its customer service representative retention rates by 26% with Fuse and generated ROI in the first three months of using the platform.
4. Learning platforms will become critical to accelerating onboarding:
Arguably, learning platforms are already a big driver of successful onboarding, but with so many employees changing jobs, companies need to be more strategic about onboarding than ever before.
In an employment landscape where a lot of companies are going to have new and uninitiated workforces on their hands just waiting to be put into action, first-mover advantage will be everything. The last thing anyone wants is for new employees to be twiddling their thumbs waiting to be onboarded, or for onboarding to be needlessly time consuming.
L&D has every opportunity to accelerate onboarding. In 2022, we’ll see a lot of companies abandon long, formal course based learning in favour of learning in the flow of work. This is going to really streamline onboarding, and, if done correctly, the benefits should be recognised quickly.
There’s no reason your learning platform shouldn't ultimately create an increase in sales and average order value, or why it shouldn’t underpin higher staff retention rates and increased customer lifetime value. These are only a few of the metrics that matter, but in 2022, there is every opportunity for learning to significantly influence the bottom line in any business, and to become the biggest economic contributor in any company.
These are only five of many more predictions we’ve got coming up. In my next article, I’ll be sharing with you my top five L&D technology predictions for 2022. Stay tuned!