Employee EngagementLearning & Development

On a Growth Track

A new research report reveals a bright future for L&D.

By Debbie Bolla

Learning and development (L&D) programs have moved far beyond compliance and mandated regulatory trainings. Now, L&D is pivotal to several layers of workforce management. Innovative training approaches can aid with skills development, showcase growth opportunities, and increase retention. So it’s no surprise that LinkedIn’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report found that more than a third of L&D professionals anticipate their budgets to grow year-over-year. What else is projected for the industry in the coming years? The report points to several trends.

1. A continued shift from instructor-led training to online learning. Driven by technology and ease of use, many learning professionals are experiencing the benefits of on-demand training approaches. In fact, more than half (57%) of respondents report they spend more time with online learning than they did three years ago, and more than one-third (37%) spend less time with instructor-led training in the same timeframe.

2. L&D is gaining executive support. Often seen as a critical lever in business strategy, 83% of survey respondents said they have executive buy-in for L&D at their organizations, but only 27% report that their CEOs are active champions of learning. Perhaps a lack of everyday support is a driver behind the second main challenge L&D programs face: the ability to create a culture of learning. One approach that could further drive learning programs’ impact is the increased use of internal champions to bolster employee participation.

3. The skills gap continues to plague organizations. The LinkedIn report finds that more than one-third (38%) of enterprises believe that closing the skills gap is an urgent business priority. In response, L&D professionals plan to leverage upskilling and reskilling initiatives, with 51% of organizations planning to launch upskilling programs in 2020 and 43% planning for reskilling programs in 2020.

4. Understanding the impact of L&D programs is critical to future success. According to this year’s research, the top area of strategic focus is evaluating the effectiveness of programs, with 38% of respondents in agreement. Most often, leaders measure the impact of online learning through qualitative feedback from employees (43%), the number of courses completed (38%), and employee satisfaction rates (34%). Other strategic areas of focus include increasing program engagement (35%) and empowering self-service learning solutions (35%).

5. Both L&D professionals and employees experience challenges when it comes to training initiatives. The top three challenges for L&D leaders are getting managers to make learning a priority for their teams (49%), creating a culture of learning (42%), and increasing employee engagement in programs (36%). Finding time is the biggest challenge for employees, with 49% reporting that they can’t fit learning in during the regular workday.

The issue of time should be considered when developing new learning programs. Today’s workers expect a personalized learning experience that is engaging and can be accessed on-demand. Designing training initiatives around these factors will increase the chances of having a highly utilized and impactful L&D program.

Tags: Learning, Magazine Article, November-2020

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