There has never been a better time to invest in learning and development and employee training. But why now you may ask? What makes 2021 so special? Well, as the world slowly starts to re-build itself in the wake of COVID-19, many aspects of ‘business as usual’ have changed irreversibly. You could say that organisations of all sizes are now working under the pretence of ‘business as unusual’. The pandemic caught so many businesses by surprise and has led to learnings of all kinds, whether for small lifestyle businesses right up to multi billion dollar multinationals. 2020 really was an unprecedented year. Almost overnight, businesses across the world had to adapt super-fast to home working arrangements. This created physical distance and disconnection between teams and ‘Zoom and Microsoft Teams’ fatigue became a thing. Millions of people were put on temporary leave, furlough and wage subsidy schemes. This means that whole sections of the global workforce spent extended periods of time away from their day-job. Whilst some took time to upskill and stay close to their roles, others had no choice but to take on new roles as home-school teachers and found enterprising new ways to make a living. The upshot is that there is an urgent need for these people to be re-trained and upskilled, ready for re-deployment in the workforce. Aside from the effects of the pandemic, rapid industrial and technological change is meaning your people will need to dramatically shift their skill-set and this is the first area we will look at as part of our deep dive.
By 2030, up to 375 million workers (14% of the global workforce) may need to switch occupation
The speed of technological change fails to give-up, driven by global organisations and startups who are on a mission to disrupt the way things are done. Thus upending and shifting entire industries. According to a recent McKinsey report as many as 375 million workers (or roughly 14% of the global workforce) may need to switch occupational categories as digitisation, automation and advances in artificial intelligence disrupt the world of work. In order to adapt to these shifts, your organisation is going to need to develop entirely new competencies from the ground up, bringing these skills to existing employees and ensuring the next generation of recruits will be able to bring this knowledge capital with them. There are few industries that will be untouched by these structural business changes. The very way the world does business is evolving - whether through automation, advanced manufacturing or blockchain based value exchange. As history has taught us, it’s the organisations who look forwards and upskill with employee training programs ahead of the curve that come out on top. So think about your own industry. What’s coming your way? - and how can you prepare for it?
Employees are spending 130% more time learning
Research carried out by LinkedIn showed that employees are spending 130% more time learning and that globally, Learning and Development professionals reported a 159% increase in their CEO’s championing learning and development in their organisations. This reflects a number of trends. As we mentioned, the COVID-19 pandemic has quickly and dramatically accelerated the need for new workforce skills. The rapid ‘digital transformation’ taking place and the switch to hybrid ways of working (characterised by a mix of home and office based work) has placed new demands on employees who now require new skills to get work done. McKinsey has done a lot of research to understand how businesses can thrive after the COVID pandemic. A majority of respondents (58%) said that closing skill gaps in their companies’ workforces has become a higher priority since the pandemic began. Sixty-nine percent said that their organisations do more skill building now than they did before the pandemic. And looking forwards, more than 50% of respondents said that their companies plan to increase their spending on learning and development. It’s great to see business leaders championing employee development. So what does this mean for you? You should certainly benchmark yourself against your competitors and other organisations that you admire. How does your employee training and development offer stack up? Are you losing ground? If so, think about how you can catch up.