Reflections on 2022 and predictions for 2023
Reflecting on the past year, we have seen so many changes and areas of progression in talent management and learning and development (L&D).
As organizations around the world settle into permanent hybrid work environments and respond to an influx of employee turnover, talent and learning leaders have been tasked with rethinking and remodeling their programs to fit this new world of work. In some cases, we’ve seen large enterprises, such as Unilever, implement a four-day workweek to meet employees’ demands for more work-life balance. In other cases, we’ve seen companies move to gig, or project-based, work models to enable a more agile workforce.
But in all cases, this level of change and transition has forced organizations to take a fresh look at the work they need to get done and determine if their workforce has the skills and tools required to achieve their most critical business objectives.
Talent and learning leaders are clearly at the forefront of this shift. We’ve had to adapt, adopt and advance — and do so quickly! And 2022 was just the beginning of this journey. We need to continue adapting and accelerating our efforts. The fact is, while we need to continue to support our employees and empower them to take more control of their growth and careers, we also need to be prepared for the economic headwinds lurking in 2023.
But where do we even start? We connected with the Cornerstone Chief Learning Officer, Marc Ramos, to discuss some of the most critical focus areas talent and learning leaders should get behind next year.
“Skills” aren’t going anywhere
In his recent article in CLO, Marc explained how there has been a flurry around the rising impact of skills and an extreme sense of urgency to build them as quickly as possible. But the fact is, many organizations are frantically trying to respond and completely missing the mark.
As evidenced by the 2022 Global Skills Research Report conducted by the Cornerstone People Research Lab, there is a glaring gap between what employers and employees think when it comes to how well their organization is developing new skills. Nearly 90% of employers surveyed thought they were doing an excellent job of offering skills development opportunities to their workforces. However, only 55% of employees said they felt skill development was a priority for their organizations. This gap in perception emphasizes the need for talent and learning leaders to rethink their approach to skilling and ensure their programs are effectively impacting their people.
Also, according to Marc, “The HR industry is redefining the term ‘skills,’ stimulating some really healthy debate about other important attributes like knowledge and attitudes to support those skills. As the saying goes, ‘knowledge is power,’ and we need to figure out a better way to bottle knowledge holistically, shape it and properly share it.”
Here are four ways Marc recommends approaching knowledge sharing:
- Seek the knowledge – Often, knowledge is kept secret within your workforce’s heads due to their own experiences, backgrounds and skill sets. This means when someone leaves, their knowledge leaves with them. Get in front of this by getting a pulse on knowledge and skills early.
- Sense-check knowledge – A continual reevaluation of the understanding of your workforce is necessary to establish if it’s sound and figure out what you need to update and grow.
- Share knowledge – Your workforce grows best when it supports itself and encourages each person to build curiosity and teach knowledge to others.
- Salvage or save knowledge – To ensure you don’t lose valuable lessons learned and best practices, you need to have somewhere to store and access that info so that it benefits the whole organization into the future.
Learning content: the paradox of choice
The COVID-19 pandemic saw L&D move through a few phases.
In January 2020, roughly 50% of learning was done online. A mere four months later, our world turned upside down, and we had to adapt, shifting 100% of learning online. Throughout the lockdown, the world took stock and consciously adopted new ways to develop a more agile workforce. Employers were forced to advance and accelerate their programming to meet these needs, which led to a change in learning.
The shape, size and structure of learning content elements are becoming smaller (micro-learning) and diversified. Instead of pulling data architecture from a single company or course, ask how you can identify your organization’s content generators, whether they are user-generated content or eLearning tools. Peer-to-peer learning is invaluable and can also add to the particular content asset.
“For some organizations, there is the dilemma of having too much content and not knowing what they have, what’s working and what to get rid of,” Marc notes.
Here are three ways he recommends getting a handle on your content:
- Weed through content monthly, so the library stays fresh and vibrant.
- Find ways to identify what has the highest consumption and correlate it to utilization. However, poor utilization doesn’t necessarily mean the content is irrelevant; it just isn’t used. This means it may need better promotion internally to build awareness.
- Scrap content to determine what’s applicable and what can be tossed.
Don’t underestimate remote coaching
Image: Marc Ramos, Chief Learning Officer, Cornerstone
Coaching and mentoring are critical to successful, modern L&D. And post-lockdown, we’ve witnessed a blended approach to coaching — both virtual and in-person.
Marc says, “While traditional in-person coaching will always be an important element of growth, we’ve seen a democratic evolution of mentorship with the rise of remote working.” Virtual meetings have aided the workforce by enabling more access to people across teams or even across the corporate ladder. When several people in various leadership positions are on a call, everyone has a voice, and everyone has access to the same coaching.
According to Marc, 2023 will be the year of peer-to-peer coaching as we all learn from — and coach — each other.
There are several scenarios we see playing out in 2023 that we hope are short-lived: Inflation, expenditure cuts, hiring freezes and reduction in the workforce. According to Marc, “If you’re in a support function such as learning, legal or facilities, your organization will probably ask you to critically scrutinize your budgets or OPEX spending. To respond to these macroeconomic conditions and justify the return on investment, gather as much data as you can to illustrate the business impact of your suggestions.”
From the post-COVID hybrid work landscape to the “Great Resignation” and rising economic uncertainties, 2022 brought no end to challenges for talent and learning leaders worldwide. But 2023 is the year that we all take a step back and reevaluate how we look at job roles, skills and knowledge and how we provide effective growth opportunities to our people. We are fortunate to have this moment to level set and refocus on our critical priorities.
If you’re interested in hearing more from Marc about his perspectives on 2023 — and meeting his cat — check out his recent webinar with Don Taylor here.
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