Employees will be seeking development opportunities in 2022 and HR needs to be prepared.

By Daphne Gottschalk

For good reason, remote work has been top-of-mind for many organizations the past year. But are companies so focused on remote work that they’re missing other needs that are contributing to The Great Resignation?

According to research, more than a third of full-time respondents across a variety of industries said they want remote work options from their existing employers. However, this notably trailed other areas including training and development, with more than half of respondents flagging this as a critical demand moving into 2022.

But a significant red flag for talent organizations also came to light. A third of workers worry they’ll have fewer opportunities for training and reskilling with the rise of remote work. This should concern organizations of all sizes, especially since the days of the five-day workweek may be over and there’s an increasing rate of change in the world of technology and a growing shortage of high quality and skilled workers in that industry.

The Skills Economy is Changing the Game

The transition to the skills economy breaks the old paradigm of a career track driven by a degree and a profession into a dynamic. The new reality is one in which people acquire skills all the time and remain relevant to the needs of a constantly changing economy. In the background of the pandemic still affecting the world, and perhaps delaying career growth for many employees, HR should see this concept as an opportunity to recover the economy in the near-term.

In the long-term, they should look at it as an opening for a wealth of opportunities and varied mobility capabilities.

In a world hungry for talent and ready-made talent in short supply, the ability to upskill and acquire skills effectively will continue to drive organizations to form new, innovative platforms and methods for growth.

Using This as an Opportunity for Learning and Upskilling

These changes in employee analysis and evaluation are an opportunity for employers to understand what skills they need, alongside the necessity of building evaluation, development, training, and recruitment initiatives. It’s also a time to look forward into the future to take a hard look at what critical technologies will be changing society and prepping the workforce before these dramatic shifts occur. Areas like cloud, DevOps, and microservices are recent examples, especially as digital transformation continues and the cloud becomes central to keeping pace with new consumer and business demands. What good are new technologies if there isn’t a workforce that can leverage them?

Creating a Democratized Learning Environment for all Employees

It’s important to keep in mind that this demand for reskilling isn’t just from existing employees. Almost all respondents said when searching for a new job, it’s very important a company offers a strong training and upskilling program. While many new hires may be flying blind while they remain at home due to COVID-19, the importance of equal training both inside and outside the office becomes even more critical.

With this, virtual and remote learning options, as well as in-person workshops and organizational development sessions, will be important. Instead of seeing this as a negative influence on efforts, consider it a way for even more employees to take part in these development programs. Research found that even with the pandemic, there was a 12% increase in learning and development activities last year by implementing these flexible approaches. The likes of LinkedIn are taking this approach, with their recent announcement of “Office Hours” for virtual professional development.

Also consider rotational assignments that employees can choose from, enabling them to get hands-on experience and increase their skill sets. With many organizations operating in hybrid work environments, a flat worldwide office offers more opportunities than ever for rotational assignments in particular.

Lastly, every employee has the opportunity to manage their own career, and it’s no longer at the discretion of management to decide who gets to learn. In addition to individual efforts, managers should encourage their workforce to be their own advocates, and support them with innovative platforms around self, community-based and experience-led learning.

While this year has been a particularly challenging one, the industry can’t take its eye off the ball when it comes to existing talent. The risks are too great, and there is much more to consider than remote work to keep employees engaged. With this in mind, 2022 will be the year of learning, allowing employees to succeed in a new business world accelerated by the pandemic. Having a plan in place now is more critical than ever.

Daphne Gottschalk is head of talent management for Amdocs

Tags: Learning & Development, Learning & Development

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