New research shows that Learning and Development continues to be a key strategy used by businesses and their leaders as they seek to engage and upskill their workforces in uncertain times.
Learning and development (L&D) continues to demonstrate its strategic importance to professionals and businesses wanting to acquire and build upon marketable skills. As more professionals shift to online remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, L&D is demonstrating its value. LinkedIn Learning surveyed 865 L&D professionals in 21 countries and 3,155 workplace learners in 31 countries, finding that learners substantially increased their time spent learning while C-Suite executives emphasized learning within their organizations.
Learning and Development is Shifting to Online Remote Work
Like many professionals across various industries, L&D professionals themselves are shifting to remote online work. According to the survey, at least 46% are working remotely 91-100% of the time, with 30% working remotely between 51 and 90% of the time. This aligns with the global trend of shifting to remote work as a way to keep employees safe and well during a pandemic. The Conference Board’s April 2020 online survey of more than 150 human capital professionals showed that 77% of respondents across all organizations expect an increase in full-time employees working primarily from home (at least three days a week) 12 months after COVID-19.
L&D is strategically positioned to benefit from this new working environment as L&D becomes more digital. LinkedIn Learning’s survey showed that 66% of L&D professionals expect an increase in spending on Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) and 60% expect an increase in spending on online learning. Additionally, L&D professionals can use digital tools and tactics to ensure employee growth during COVID-19.
Learning and Development is Growing in Importance
Businesses across the world are having to shift their priorities and strategies during the pandemic, allowing L&D to take center stage. According to the survey, L&D’s strategic position is rapidly elevating in importance across organizations. Sixty-six percent of L&D professionals agree that their function has become a much more strategic part of their organization, while 68% of L&D professionals said that the level of urgency around launching learning programs has risen significantly.
Across all business sizes, learners want to reskill and upskill to learn how to lead through times of change. For enterprise businesses (10,000+ employees), 45% want to learn how to lead through change, and the same goes for mid-market businesses (201-10,000 employees) at 43% and small- and medium-sized businesses (1-200 employees) at 39%. For the same enterprise businesses, the time spent learning increased by an astounding 130%, while spending a whopping 3.8 million hours learning.
But L&D isn’t just important for the everyday employee – C-Suite executives understand its strategic importance. L&D respondents reported that their top learning challenge was helping managers lead through change. Compared to October 2019, the percentage of L&D professionals who reported that their CEOs actively champion learning increased by 43%, while the percentage of L&D professionals who said that they have a seat at the C-suite table increased by 38%.
It’s hard to say what the future holds, but companies and industries of all sizes across the globe are looking to learning and development as a key strategy. As the global pandemic causes businesses of all sizes to shift and adapt, the new skills gained along the way can help make it easier.
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