The last two years have been challenging to say the least, with even the most versatile organisations struggling to keep up. If we’ve learnt anything in that time, it’s that developing resilience is not optional—it’s a core business requirement. Employee training can go a long way toward supporting that requirement.
So it’s never been more important to be aware of the trends that are shaping the employee training landscape. Here are four that you don’t want to leave out if you want to be strategic with your workforce development plans in 2022.
1. The Shift to Hybrid Work
As organisations begin to transition back to the office, we’re seeing a shift toward a hybrid model that combines the benefits of in-person collaboration with the improved flexibility of remote work. In fact, mounting evidence suggests that offering hybrid working arrangements will be a necessity moving forward. According to Future Forum, 72% of employees express a clear preference for hybrid work arrangements, while Buffer’s 2021 State of Remote Work report puts that number as high as 97%. A survey from Envoy found that 47% of employees would even consider leaving their jobs if their organisation did not offer a hybrid work model after the pandemic.
Of course, adopting a hybrid model isn’t as simple as telling people which days to be in the office. Making this transition fundamentally changes how organisations onboard new hires, provide professional development for existing employees and deliver training material.
2. Worker Shortages and the Great Resignation
Even before the pandemic, many industries found themselves in a so-called war for talent, struggling to find enough skilled candidates to meet their needs. The pandemic has escalated the worker shortage and bombarded us with headlines about the Great Resignation.
Among the things workers are looking for in an ideal employer is a willingness to invest in employee development. For example, a report from LinkedIn found that employees who can build skills to move into new roles internally stay twice as long as employees who don’t have access to internal career development, while another report from a recruitment and talent advisory firm found that up to one-third of employees are willing to quit their jobs due to a lack of growth and professional development opportunities. And the LinkedIn report found that creating internal learning opportunities where employees learn together makes them 92% more likely to feel a sense of belonging and 5.2 times more likely to be engaged at work.
This trend makes it clear that providing opportunities for training and growth is no longer a perk but a requirement for attracting and retaining key talent.
3. Minding the (Skills) Gap
Providing development opportunities to upskill and reskill employees has obvious benefits for employers. According to McKinsey, almost 90% of executives and managers reported facing skills gaps even before the pandemic. Now it’s more important than ever to provide training and development opportunities to ensure a robust talent pipeline. Plus the reduced turnover resulting from providing learning opportunities reduces costs and helps organisations maintain the vast institutional knowledge held by their current employees.
4. The Accelerating Digital Revolution
A final trend that should be woven through every organisation’s long-term strategy is the transformation of the way it thinks about and uses technology. While the need for digital transformation has been with us for some time, businesses are now approaching the topic with a new sense of urgency.
A digital transformation is a complex process that requires intense planning and effort to succeed, but the potential benefits are immense. For example, research from BCG found that earnings growth for digital leaders is 1.8 times higher than for organisations that haven’t implemented a comprehensive digital strategy. Digital leaders also benefit from data-driven insights to predict trends and inform strategic decisions.
Training plays a crucial role in successfully implementing a digital transformation. Done well, training helps generate buy-in, clarifies the vision and equips employees at all levels with the skills they need to adopt new technologies and respond to evolving needs.