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The evolution of L&D: What the trends tell us

Susan Hilliar

Head of International Communications at Cornerstone

As the kids head back to school, it’s the perfect time to reflect on our own learning and The Times’ Learning & Development Report couldn’t hit our desks at a better time.

This month’s report features our very own Vincent Belliveau in a piece on the age of talent experience, and if you want to read the full piece you can find it in this post here. But in this blog, I’m taking a deeper dive into the central infographic of the report, showing the nine ways the L&D function is evolving and what this tells us

The first key trend to call out is the increasing awareness of the skills gap from employees (section 8). It’s not just a massive topic in boardrooms across all organisations, workers in all industries are self-assessing their level of proficiency and recognising the need to upskill. The shortened shelf-life of skills is pushing workers to seek continuous learning in order to stay relevant and feel fulfilled. In our UK research this summer, we found that people taking on a colleague’s workload relished feeling stretched and two-fifths (40%) learnt more advanced skills. Young workers in particular are eager to be the drivers of their own career paths as you can see from the stats in section 4 of the infographic.

Organisations looking to transform their learning culture are pushing a warm door.

But whilst the skills gap concern grows for CEOs too (section 7), barriers to addressing the L&D culture of an organisation still persists. The two top barriers include leaders having traditional views of L&D and learning not seen as a management priority, prompting the need for a change of mindset, starting at the top.

The traditional expectation of L&D is particularly troubling as learning has come a long way in the last decade. Even just offering digital learning solutions and aligning to career-paths isn’t enough. As Vincent points out in his article, we’re in the age of talent experience and should be using the latest technology (such as AI) to surface a variety of L&D content that is most relevant to the individual, helping them spend more time on their own development in a way that suits them best. A stat that isn’t in this infographic but highlights the need for an intuitive learning experience is that 49% of employees want to learn only when they need to learn. Organisations must provide the tools and resources so employees have them at hand, anytime, anywhere and in a way that fits seamlessly in the flow of work.

It’s encouraging to see this evolution, and we work with many organisations making strides in the right direction. It goes without saying that major transformation is impacting every industry due to the rapid pace of technological change. Traditional jobs and career paths are shifting, organisations must keep up!

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