This past year in 2021, we have seen how Learning and Development (L&D) programming has had to continue to adapt to an ever changing work environment. While companies were planning to finally return to office and have in-person gatherings in early 2022, plans had to suddenly change back to hybrid and remote-first workforce.
With COVID restrictions continuing into 2022, it’s important to be proactive and plan for all case scenarios for all L&D activities. The best way to get ahead is to look at the projected trends for this year and make any adjustments to your current programming as needed. Let’s have a great year filled with many successful L&D programs to elevate the skills of all employees!
We have put together a list of 6 Learning & Development trends to watch out for in 2022:
Prior to the pandemic, having a remote workforce wasn't unheard of but, for most companies, it usually only made up a small portion of the team compared to the workforce who came into the office every day. However in the past few years, conditions have changed and the amount of remote or hybrid employees have drastically increased.
The number of employees who work remote/hybrid will likely continue to increase or stay the same for this year, as it is still unpredictable when the return to the office can happen. This can be a challenge for L&D programs to be delivered virtually with internet connectivity issues, employee distractions and even device compatibility issues.
Due to these challenges, it is important to ensure that L&D programming and events are adaptable in the delivery of the information and that you have the proper tools and resources to help. Here are some helpful tips to ensure your virtual L&D programs are just as effective as in-person ones:
As we transitioned from in-person to an online work environment, it has been difficult for new employees to directly access information and ask questions through online communication. But after experiencing this change from 2020 up until now, we have been introduced to digital Knowledge Management!
It is the concept of creating, gathering, organizing and sharing important internal information for employees to access and review when needed.
Putting together documents with internal information such as a combination of FAQs, helpful step-by-step processes, and employee credentials, is a great way for employees to be ready and prepared for their work. Many companies refer to these knowledge bases as an internal wiki page. Platforms such as Notion and Confluence are some of the many helpful tools to organize and set up a Knowledge Base for your team.
This L&D trend is extremely useful to connect your employees to the right resources both in the office and remotely.
Every employee carries the required skills for their current workplace environment (i.e. virtual, hybrid, or in-person). But what happens when there is a shift in the environment in which they are working? With many companies experiencing change due to the pandemic, new opportunities arise meaning new needs become more clear. During this pandemic, employees are encouraged to improve their current skills in order to adapt to the change of digital transformation as we switch into using more digital processes and tools.
Here are a variety of trainings that you can choose from to improve the skills of your employees:
In comparison to traditional training methods, learning in the moment of need is much more beneficial for employees. Real-time learning allows workforces and employees to be more productive while also providing support. Instead of dedicating large portions of time training for scenarios that may not even occur, learning about real-life and current experiences is much more efficient and useful.
As learning in real-time is more interactive and hands-on, it has been also shown to help individuals to preserve more knowledge in comparison to traditional training. Learning from real-life experiences also allows employees to understand how to resolve problems directly.
We’ve compiled a list of the benefits of learning in the moment of need that can improve the productivity of you and your team:
With many employees working virtually, the opportunity to work from anywhere and work for a company based anywhere becomes more tangible. Due to these trends, many companies have employees all over the globe. Even with a global team, it is important to ensure everyone has equal access to company experiences and learning opportunities. Every employee needs to have equivalent training and L&D opportunities regardless of their location or team.
Another important consideration is the rise on contracting individuals to fill roles rather than hiring a full-time, permanent employee. Even if the contract employees are only planned to be a part of the team temporarily, you never know what may happen down the line. In addition, these contractors are likely experts in the field they work in so it's beneficial to leverage their knowledge to help the company and other employees. Thus, every employee regardless if they are a temporary or permanent hire, should be treated the same especially in all types of training. It's an important consideration for L&D teams on how to structure and plan which employees attend what types of workshops, but in the end everyone should be included.
Functional and beneficial upward feedback is extremely important for teams. Now you may be wondering, what is upward feedback? Upward feedback is a performance method that provides employees with the opportunity to give feedback to their manager.
Creating a professional and effective method of delivering feedback amongst individual employees and teams, creates a strong work environment for all. As employees can be more exposed to work material day-to-day, they are especially reliable when deciding on changes and improvements that could be made in the moment.
Having a strong feedback loop in the workplace also provides L&D teams with the opportunity to communicate with their learners, and also ask for their feedback while training occurs in real-time. Upward feedback can be communicated from learners to L&D managers through feedback surveys. The survey results can directly showcase the opinions of learners and opportunities of improvement which can be helpful for L&D managers to make their programs even better.
It’s important to realize and acknowledge that L&D is doing all they can, to be able to support teams and organizations during a period of uncertainty. In 2020 and 2021 everyone was able to test out new approaches to this new “normal” and see what worked and what didn’t.
Now in 2022, we have many more learnings and tools that can help support the L&D programs for this next full year. These trends are set to elevate and empower L&D teams to plan and execute successful L&D programming for an entire workforce and achieve the learning goals they are striving for.
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