With 2021 around the corner, it’s worth taking a closer look at what the learning and development (L&D) industry has to offer. According to Forbes, employees who are adequately engaged through development opportunities show 21% greater profitability, 41% reduction in absences and 59% less turnover on average. It’s important to provide your employees and colleagues with practical ways in which they can grow as individuals in order to retain them.
However, we find ourselves in a post-COVID-19 environment where professional development and learning have been somewhat reinvented. This means that L&D trends will quickly follow suit and help executives adapt their employee engagement to better fit the new norm. With that, let’s take a close look at the most prominent learning and development trends for 2020-2021 and how you can benefit from implementing them.
1. Continued Domination of eLearning
Given the current social distancing climate, eLearning has never been as predominant as it is in 2020. This allows for a wide range of personal and professional development opportunities for your staff going forward. You can facilitate their growth and to acquire new competencies via online courses which can easily be done remotely.
Additionally, project management platforms such as Asana and Trello have quickly found their relevance given that many industries have completely shifted toward remote work conditions. Your duty to contribute to continued learning and development of your staff has become somewhat easier due to the rising popularity of eLearning platforms. Both small-scale entrepreneurs and project managers in large corporations can benefit from acquiring and distributing online courses for their staff as we move into 2021.
2. In-House Curated Learning Content
Depending on the industry in which your business operates, learning and development can take place entirely in-house. While platforms such as Udemy and Coursera may be good for baseline learning, specialized skills and training will require a more personalized approach. Up and coming niches such as UX design, data science, AI development and others will naturally require the company to invest in in-house learning materials.
Based on LinkedIn, 83% of L&D professionals said that their executives and CEOs were fully onboard with employee learning, with 30% emphasizing soft skill learning. Fitting your staff with a customized set-up for learning and development can work extremely well in regards to their continued growth. Consult department leads and project managers within your company to find out which approach to in-house learning is best suited to your workforce.
3. Life-Long-Learning Mentality Adoption
In order for your business to stay competitive in 2021, your employees should adapt a life-long-learning (LLL) approach to learning and development. Even the most revolutionary startup can only survive so long without continuous adaptation to new trends and innovation within the industry. As such, you should encourage your staff to always look for new ways to improve their skillsets through online courses, team building and other L&D.
You can encourage learning and development through gamification and team activities which will help your staff become more proactive in terms of learning. A corporate eLearning program such as a learning journey by Procurement Academy can also be beneficial for your staff, given its emphasis on personalization. Likewise, providing your staff with free training materials and/or mandatory HR interviews in scheduled intervals will also help each employee develop a personal learning plan.
4. Coaching & Mentorship Lead to Personalization
Every employee on your staff is inherently an individual with unique skills and competencies. To better facilitate their development in 2021, you can opt to use coaching and mentorship as a means to encourage learning and development. Senior staff members can be paired with junior employees in order to onboard them more efficiently. They can act as mentors and coaches, which will help younger staff members keep tabs on their personal learning.
Likewise, staff can also be paired up or organized into smaller groups which can act as a support system for one another. This can add a much-needed element of personalization and socialization to the learning process as it allows employees to connect over mutual interests. The benefit of implementing a mentorship system into your business model is that it can be enforced and tracked remotely in its entirety.
5. Practicality Takes Precedence over Technicality
While formal education and certification will never go away, 2021 will bring about a major shift in priorities when it comes to learning and development. Forcing certain knowledge and competencies onto your staff without plan or reason will naturally lead to a drop in morale and engagement.
Practical knowledge, problem-solving and proactive engagement will slowly take precedent over rudimentary learning. This means that your employees should focus on learning skills which will aid them in the immediate future. In practice, this means that you should help curate your staff’s learning process by creating or procuring courses which relate to real-world projects and scenarios. This can lead to much better engagement and interest in learning and development, as well as in the overall workflow going forward.
As 2020 comes to a close, we find ourselves in a unique position as we witness learning and development trends change alongside new social norms. Remote learning is more prominent than ever before, and thanks to wide-spread digital devices and cloud-based platforms, it’s also easier than it was only recently.
This allows for more meaningful and focused learning and development, both for yourself and for your staff as we move into 2021. Be the agent of change within your industry and embrace new trends to help prepare your staff for the post-COVID-19 business landscape.