Our Re-imagining HR survey shows we’re at a pivotal moment and must fundamentally change the role of learning and development to re-skill staff in the post-pandemic world.

Our Re-imagining HR survey has captured the sentiments of HR professionals as they face a whole new world of work. It’s unsurprising to see that after dealing with an unprecedented amount of change, the pre-Covid focus on digital learning as merely a means to an end has taken a back seat. 58% of HR professional now believe that there is a long-term need to re-skill employees and enable them to thrive.

Employees are increasingly needing new skills, such as adapting to working remotely along with communication, adaptability and resilience, which our research found are the top three skills HR professionals feel are needed in the post-Covid workplace.

The question is, if you believe this to be true for your organisation, what are you going to do about it?

Should L&D become a facilitator?

Historically learning and development (L&D) functions have been too focused on compliance and pushing out courses to employees. This may tick the box for mandatory learning, but it doesn’t create an environment that fosters employee-led learning. The pandemic has shown how technology can be used to expand access, increase flexibility and move away from rigid course-based structures. There is now the opportunity for learning to become far more personalised, real-time and life-long than we had thought possible a few years ago.

Learning and development should now be about creating the right environment and culture to enable personalised learning and learning in the flow of work. This requires L&D functions to shift their focus from linear and input-based learning to becoming a facilitator that creates the right environment to support learners needs.

Curating content that works for individuals

In the past two to three years we have seen learning management platforms morph into learning experience platforms. L&D teams have hundreds of content libraries to choose from, but curating content that works for each employee on a personalised, individual level can be challenging. For example, if I am a line manager and suddenly my whole team are working from home, I may want to access a refresher course on how to manage remotely. But it may take me a while to find learning content that suits my level of role and my learning preferences, for example video content over PowerPoint slides. It is now the role of L&D teams to curate content that works on an individual level, so the learner can pull content and stay in control of their development, yet still feel supported. This is a far more effective and relevant way to learn. Fortunately, our research found that many organisations are putting content curation higher up their L&D agenda as 48% of HR professionals say that helping learners find the right content to meet their personal needs will be a top priority.

Creating a culture of learning

54% of HR professionals told us that going forward they will see learning as an ongoing programme of development and a campaign of learning, as opposed to individual disconnected interventions. Achieving this requires the right environment and culture. It’s also a key part of colleague attraction and retention, because by creating the right culture you can ensure your employees feel that their learning and development is supported and valued.

Here are points to consider when adopting a culture of learning: 

  • Audit your learning technology infrastructure: Is it fit-for-purpose or is it too rigidly focused on compliance-based learning?
  • Review your learning content: Is it up-to-date, accessible and engaging? Do you know how often it is being accessed and the feedback it has received?
  • Assess your L&D function: Does your team have the necessary skills and experience in content curation and data literacy to ensure that you can deliver content that suits individual needs and link it to business outcomes?

By fundamentally changing the role of their learning and development function, organisations can ensure they have the skills they need and foster a life-long culture of learning that helps their employees to thrive.

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