In the next three to five years, digital transformation and automation are expected to have a greater impact on the global workforce. Getting prepared for these changes means learning and development (L&D) professionals need to be given a more strategic role in the workplace.
In LinkedIn Learning’s recent 2020 Workplace Learning Report, L&D professionals say the skills gap must be addressed or businesses will experience loss in revenue, a drop in customer satisfaction, and less innovation.
Focus on Upskills and Reskills
L&D is tasked with both upskilling and reskilling employees. Workers obtain upskills when they learn new skills within their same job function. Reskills are new skills within a different job function.
In 2020, 51 percent of L&D professionals expect to launch upskilling programs, while 43 percent plan to start reskilling programs. They expect their budgets to grow by 37 percent and 57 percent and plan to spend more on online instruction.
CEOs Need to Champion L&D Efforts
L&D professionals say only 27 percent of their CEOs are actively supporting employee learning, even though 83 percent of company executives regard such learning favorably.
The lack of CEO support may be attributed to the fact that L&D only spends nine percent of its time presenting learning programs.
Kevin Delaney is the Vice President of Learning & Development at LinkedIn. He says, “When it comes to activating executives, I approach them the same way I approach anyone else. I ask them to share their excitement about what they’re learning. That energy is what inspires people to learn.”
Managers Need to Create a Culture of Learning
The survey says the primary challenge in 2020 is getting managers to make learning a priority. “Set managers up for success with tools and templates. Friendly competitions and recognizing accomplishments can contribute to a strong learning culture, which motivates employees to keep engaging,” according to the report.
Stronger Methods Needed to Measure Learner Engagement
According to the survey, 24 percent of respondents say they don’t measure learner engagement. However, learner engagement was defined in a number of ways including course completion, learner satisfaction surveys, minutes of learning, and repeat visits.
Lou Tedrick—the Vice President of Global Learning and Development at Verizon—says to effectively measure the impact of learning, there needs to be an understanding of the problems to be solved and the desired goals. “Work on the front end” makes it easy to see how learning has impacted the outcomes, she adds.
Soft Skills Will Be Important Beyond 2020
As workplace skills evolve, the need for soft skills will always be essential. This is the case regardless of the function of an employee or the changing technological landscape.
According to the survey, the highest priority skills will be leadership and management, creative problem solving, and design thinking.
The report says the positive news is both managers and employees are inspired to learn new skills because it leads to career growth.
More than 6600 professionals from 18 countries offered input for the report. The participants included L&D professionals, learners, and managers.