Learning and development leads have been doing more with less for the last two years. Departments have been tasked with completely rewriting learning plans and rewiring how employees think about skills development.
In a recent webinar, Udit Bhatia, EY India’s Head Of Learning, shared insights into navigating this complex new world to help prepare learning leaders reshaping their own workforce development program this year. Below, we dive into three of key learnings from the webinar:
- Why it’s critical to understand your company and industry landscape
- How the pandemic has impacted workplace culture
- Despite the impacts and opportunities new technology brings to learning, why people remain your secret ingredient
1. Understand your business and industry before redefining learning at your company
The last two years have ushered in huge shifts, from lifts in industries and technology from telehealth and at-home fitness to cloud kitchens and chatbots to changing strategies in areas such as manufacturing and supply chain. Understanding your organization’s and industry’s unique future amidst these changes is crucial to navigating the complex budgeting decisions facing L&D leaders as we head into 2022.
Asking the right questions can help you and your learning team develop a strategy that drives learning success at your organization. Bhatia shared a few questions to help you start the deep dive into your organization and industry:
- What is the future of the industry or business I work for?
- Do I understand the competitive landscape, both existing and potential?
- What are the top five threats or weaknesses I see in our business or industry today?
Not only can understanding your organization’s priorities help shape strategy, it can also help drive engagement. Show your employees how L&D initiatives and opportunities ladder up to business goals to contextualize the impact of learning new skills.
2. Previous learning plans were built for a different workplace and employee
According to Bhatia, learning plans created in 2019 are essentially obsolete. Not only has acceleration in innovation and automation changed the types of skills and tech workforces need to thrive, but also the way employees engage with their organizations and learning. Bhatia shared a few data points to help illustrate:
- One third of the skills needed for a job in 2018 will not be needed by 2022.
- Today’s average employee can absorb half as much change as they could manage in 2019.
- 47% of employees feel disconnected with their teams or organizations.
As you examine where to invest your budget, reexamine the skills your organization lacks, including the ever-important human skills, and how you can create a culture of learning that engages and motivates your workforce.
Human skills, like hard skills, need nurturing. In the Virtual Age, these types of skills, from communication to critical thinking, are essential to making remote and hybrid environments feel productive, efficient, and collaborative.
3. Mentorship will play a large role in the future of learning
Learning isn’t just about sitting in a classroom anymore (virtual or otherwise).
When talking about how employees will learn post-COVID, Bhatia shared, “On-the-job learning, managed coaching, mentoring, team-based development action plans—these are mentor-based models where you need somebody to mentor you. In the future, organizations are going to make their middle and senior managers more impactful so that they can actually train and mentor well.”
Bhatia also stressed the importance of peer-based learning and how that will impact the learning methods that organizations utilize. While some mentor-based learning is already happening at work, it isn’t always formalized or helpful to your employees.
Learning is changing, but so is your team
Heading into 2022, change will continue to be the only constant across work environments, industry landscapes, technology, and organizational priorities. Learning has had massive shifts, and so have our team members. As a learning leader, you have the opportunity to redefine what learning looks like as employees return to the office and the skills employees need changes.
To learn more, watch the full webinar with Udit Bhatia for actionable advice and key data points that will help you build a lasting learning and development experience.
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