3 Learning Challenges, 3 Opportunities
BREAKING DOWN SILOS IN ENTERPRISE L&D: PART 3
Three challenges-slash-opportunities were revealed as we assessed and prepared the learning and development trends in the 2022 CGS Enterprise Learning annual report: Lack of cross-enterprise collaboration; employee churn; and anytime, anywhere learning.
Based on a survey of 260+ L&D professionals, the report revealed that over 75 percent expect that current (or future expected) market conditions will alter their company’s products or services in 2022. And two-plus years into the COVID pandemic, 36 percent are rethinking and redesigning up to 25 percent of their L&D initiatives. That's huge! If your team doesn't have partners in the business, a smart plan to capture knowledge while recruiting/retaining top talent, and technology/processes to engage employees and enable collaboration, you may not be in control of that change.
As part of our series on breaking down silos between the business and L&D, we already shared “Why Collaboration Is Vital to Learning Strategy” and “4 Ways L&D, IT and the C-Suite Should Work Together.”
For part 3, let's dig deeper into the data to see how L&D teams can get out front of challenges and opportunities, sooner rather than later.
Collaboration has been a hot commodity among people skills for years. It was a trend even before the greater move toward a hybrid and remote workforce. And collaboration is a key ingredient of the top three areas where L&D leaders are emphasizing programs: Employee engagement/experience, reskilling and a strategic business resilience (a new option in our 2022 survey).
If your ROI is tied to engagement, a common thread in this report and others, you might think it is your job to teach people in your organization to be more collaborative in an effort to meet those scores. While this is true, your people should also demonstrate collaboration. It's your job to proactively go against the grain and rather than wait for learning requests to come in, set the strategy and start the conversations.
Some good news from the report: 41 percent of respondents report they survey employees quarterly on learning. In previous studies, annual feedback from employees was the top choice. And 39 percent stated they are conducting cross-departmental team meetings centered around training, employee development and skills-building monthly in 2022. As recently as 2017, 82 percent of organizations only had cross-departmental discussions around training, employee development or skill-building on an as-needed basis. Talk about an opportunity. Who is better suited to spark connection and collaboration than the learning team?
Some 61 percent of L&D leaders in our report say the Great Resignation, or Great Reshuffle, has affected the quality of training and professional development “a lot” or a “great deal.”
Overcoming staffing challenges likely requires a deeper understanding of what employees expect from their jobs, and L&D can play a key role in supporting new employee needs. For example, providing lateral career opportunities is 2.5 times more predictive of retention than compensation, and it’s 12 times more predictive than promotions, according to an analysis published in MIT Sloan Management Review.
L&D functions are responding to what employees want, as reskilling is the second biggest area of focus for learning programs in 2022. Reskilling can provide employees with lateral moves, as well as potentially help companies fill gaps resulting from other resignations. Plus, companies that proactively help employees gain new skills may then be better placed to meet evolving business needs, as the nature of some jobs change.
Anytime, Anywhere Learning
Forbes reports that 25 percent of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022, and remote opportunities will continue to increase through 2023. The advent of social learning and new collaborative tools has helped L&D teams prepare new ways to facilitate learning and development. But is L&D fully prepared to empower this new way of working?
One way to increase anywhere, anytime engagement is to use more immersive technologies. The use of augmented reality/virtual reality/mixed reality (AR/VR/MR) has increased greatly over the past two years, with nearly half of the respondents expecting to increase its use. This is especially true among large organizations, of which 65 percent plan to increase usage, compared with only 34 percent the previous year.
And this isn’t some far-off fantasy; many organizations are already making the investment. Some 46 percent of our survey respondents plan to adopt emerging tech into learning, training and collaboration platforms by the end of 2022—and 14 percent have already done so.
Said one global design manager for training at a luxury goods brand, “[We experienced an] increased use of technology that has improved agility and scalability [since the pandemic] . . . [there’s been a] major focus on increasing engagement to fight digital fatigue and reduced attention span.”
Think Big, and Act
Armed with an understanding of these trends, we are now liberated to rethink the services our learning and development teams offer. Thinking big, you should ask yourself, how you envision facilitating a learning culture? What missing links can you provide across initiatives? Seizing this opportunity to get out of the classroom and into the business will demonstrate the ROI of L&D more clearly than ever before. Just be sure to continue to re-envision your role when needs change in subsequent quarters. Remaining open to change is the difference between thriving and surviving.
Looking for ways to continue the discussion around these hot topics and gain expert advice and insight into new best practice strategies and lessons learned that may work for your organization? Download your copy of our Learning report, Proactively Planning: How L&D Leaders Are Responding to an Unpredictable World.