Giving employees & businesses the skills they need in a pandemic-changed world

Using brand new data and tools, LinkedIn reveals how HR can help businesses deliver the skills they need for a disrupted business landscape...


In-demand skills are changing

As charted in a recent LinkedIn blogpost, learning critical skills quickly will be imperative in the new world of work. The World Economic Forum predicts that 85million jobs will go away and 97million new ones will be created in just the next four years. Organisations today understand the enormity of the shift we are experiencing and, according to findings in the 2021 Workplace Learning Report, upskilling and reskilling is the top priority for learning and development (L&D) professionals globally.

This wholesale change of the skills and jobs landscape, dovetails with other reporting which found that in-demand skillsets are changing. Now, EQ, communication and influence are the expertise that companies most want. It is these ‘soft skills’, according to one recruiter, which are what employers are now keenest to get hold of on a disrupted and changing employment and business landscape. The follow on is that the employees and candidates who can showcase these – or the development teams that can instill these skills in the organisation – are going to be highly valued.

51% of L&D pros say that internal mobility is more of a priority than before COVID-19

LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report

Learners who use social features and connect with others watch 30x more learning content than learners who don’t

LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report

L&D’s central role in skills

So, what does this mean for L&D? Well, with in-demand skillsets changing, a significant number of furloughed employees coming back into businesses when the scheme ends, and a talent – see: skills – acquisition headache, L&D is likely to be increasingly highly valued. In fact, this is what the recent Workplace Learning Report from LinkedIn shows. So highly valued does the function feel that it believes itself to be increasingly secure at the top table of business decision-making. As of March 2021, 63% of L&D functions felt they had a place alongside the executive, compared to 24% at the start of the pandemic.

Further good news is that business chiefs seem to be turning to the L&D function to get the skills they need into the business. 33% of L&D professionals surveyed in LinkedIn’s report expected to get a budget increase to help their organisations; this is up on 22% just over one year ago. This, too, isn’t surprising. Further Workplace Learning Report findings show that companies increasingly see the value of internal mobility – hardly a shock with largescale reports on difficulties to get external talent in the current market, coupled with new LinkedIn figures which show that internal hires often stay much longer – with the implication being that those moving into new roles will need developmental support to be a success.


Getting employees excited about learning

Of course, this learning will only occur if employees are incentivised to do it. This likely means one thing: giving individuals autonomy over how that development takes place. (Countless studies show how employees are increasingly calling for increased autonomy, with one 2017 University of Birmingham report concluding that autonomy often correlates with better wellbeing and overall job satisfaction). Already L&D practitioners are seeing the benefits of this approach.

As cited in LinkedIn’s Learning Blog, Samantha Hoppman, Learning & Development Digital Innovations Lead at Merck Animal Health, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, indicates that L&D’s roles will be more of a supportive one, rather than a coercive or mandating one, in getting individuals the skills they need. “We’re excited to support our employees’ learning journeys,” she said, noting the use of LinkedIn’s Learning Hub to do this.

63% of L&D believe the function has a seat at the executive table

LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report

“We all need to help transition the hiring market from focussing solely on titles and companies, degrees and schools to also focussing on skills and abilities”

Ryan Roslansky, CEO, LinkedIn

The tools out there

Autonomy, as mentioned above, is likely to correlated with successful learning outcomes. And, in a world of work where personalised, flexible approaches to the task at hand are considered to be key to success, this is what LinkedIn’s Learning Hub delivers. By personalising content, they are giving learners the chance to develop in a way that suits them. Furthermore, by bringing all partner content together, that then works with AI-driven recommendations to individual learners based on their learning activity and broader LinkedIn insights.

L&D will also know that peer-to-peer learning has likely taken a hit over the last year with employees forced to operate physically apart. The community aspect of their hub could help rectify this. By helping learners easily connect with their colleagues, peers, and experts – including LinkedIn Learning instructors – the hub helps learning get locked in. This includes native integrations with employee experience platforms such as Microsoft Viva. Companies can also easily select internal subject matter experts or champions to curate customised learning paths and collections across all content sources.

Furthermore, the hub also helps L&D to pinpoint what its organisation needs – so they can help get the right skills for the business. On the admin dashboard, L&D pros can identify skills gaps, pin key skills and track trends over time, benchmark themselves against similar companies, get insights on skills interest and learning activity, and track skill trends across content sources.

On a landscape where skills are a vexed issue, that’s got to be worth its weight in gold.

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