2021 roadmap for L&D practitioners
Development is high on the agenda – how can HR deliver it in an uncertain world?
Employee development does a lot of things. It can deliver for a company the skills it needs in the long term – which is, according to data, a growing issue for many firms. Deloitte’s 2020 Global Human Capital Trends survey, found that over half of businesses believe there was a significant need to change skills and capabilities within the next three years. Yet L&D doesn’t just deliver on skills: it can also boost core business considerations, such as engagement and retention. The 2018 Workplace Learning Report found that 94% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if their employer invested in their career development.
However, L&D, like many things this year, is having to deliver on a changed landscape. A complete revolution in how work is completed has forced many companies to train staff in new skills and deliver via different mediums. As Mary Edmunds, Head of Human Resources for Europe at Hines, the international real estate firm, told HR Grapevine earlier in the year, L&D in her organisation had to quickly roll out an increase technology training as everything pivoted to remote and digital means in response to lockdown conditions. “Our training and development spiked in March and April while our teams learned how to use technology,” she said.
Whilst firms may now be confident in the tech skills they have, this isn’t to say the business and employment landscape is now stable. In fact, PwC’s latest 23rd CEO survey, the latest edition, stated that uncertainty is now what many CEOs are looking to guard against – with trade conflicts, climate change and cyber threats top of their concerns. To guard against the impact, a change in business strategy is likely – of which development of employees and skillsets will be a key part.
To find out what the experts are predicting L&D will have to deliver on in this uncertain future, read on below.
1. Building resilience into the workforce
The latest Deloitte Human Capital trends report states that “reskilling alone may be a strategic dead end.” For L&D, this might sound like a death knell. It isn’t. Instead, the report urges HR to invest in creating programmes that deliver new capabilities to the business, of which resilience will be a core part. It concludes: “Organisations should focus on building workers’ resilience for both the short and the long term—a focus that can allow organisations to increase their own resilience in the face of constant change.”
2. Dealing with increased pressure to deliver
Increasingly, individuals see their organisation as being responsible for their development. This is ahead of themselves or outside educational institutions. Again, this puts the pressure on HR to deliver. One firm who is taking the lead with this is Amazon. The internet retail giant pledged over £500million to upskill 100,000 of its US workers by 2025. This will be delivered through different technical programmes and some University-style educational settings – including Amazon Technical Academy, Associate2Tech and Machine Learning University. The firm hopes to target the development of technical skills for in-demand jobs, helping to keep workers current in both the theory and application of emerging technologies. In addition, Amazon is also helping workers find adjacent or related roles in their communities.
3. AI will help the ‘key’ challenge of learning
Steve Rycroft, Senior Director of Account Management, spoke at HR Grapevine’s Tech 2.0 event about AI being a fundamental area in which HR could deliver better and more strategic L&D. He said: “If learning isn’t the key challenge, it’s in the top five, definitely. But the key is to look at the skills and not just at the individuals. From an organisational perspective, its important to look at the skills that are needed and be able to assess current and future skills gap. AI-based skills gap assessment can allow you to assess where the skills gap is – whether its hire to retire, wherever that skills gap may be. It can also help with individuals and understanding their personal growth and where they want to go with their careers.”