The vast majority (75%) of learning and development professionals in the UK say that community-based learning is more important to their business today than before the global pandemic.
According to a new report by LinkedInLearning, 84% of professionals said it improved employee engagement and a staggering 94% agreed that teams that learn together are ultimately more successful.
Key areas of focus for L&D programs in the UK this year include uspkilling and reskilling (52%), leadership and management training (51%), diversity and inclusion (33%), and employee wellbeing (31%).
Interestingly, 77% of the 150 L&D professionals surveyed said senior executives had made diversity and inclusion the top focus area. Over a third (36%) said they were working closely with D&I teams on related strategy, programs, and learning course content.
Janine Chamberlin, senior director at LinkedIn, said: “Many of us have spent the last year being physically distant from friends, family and colleagues, which can feel lonely and isolating.
“Humans are social creatures and crave community, and this is top of mind for companies as they consider employee development given the current circumstances. Our research finds that UK organisations are encouraging employees to learn skills together which can have a positive impact on engagement and foster a sense of belonging.
“L&D programs are also crucial to helping organisations overcome the burgeoning skills gap. We know that reskilling employees is often less costly than hiring new talent, and the investment can spur internal mobility, boost retention and improve engagement.”
The learning agenda for 2021
According to L&D professionals, the five most important skills employees will need for the future of work are: adaptability (55%), digital fluency (41%), communication (31%), leading through change (30%), and emotional intelligence (28%).
Concerns in the C-suite
Some 41% of respondents said business leaders are concerned about access to the right skills within the organization — 38% believed the skill gap had widened since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Employee wellbeing is top of mind
Given the current climate, wellbeing is one of the key focus areas for employee development.
As a result, UK L&D teams are promoting learning resources on mental health and wellbeing (71%) and remote working (59%), driving employee engagement surveys (59%), helping managers support the mental health of their teams (55%), and setting up live sessions on physical and mental health (49%).
An overwhelming majority say that engaged learners are happier at work (92%), perform at a higher level (93%), and are more likely to be receptive to internal mobility (87%).
Yessi Bello Perez is a contributor at UNLEASH. The former editor of UNLEASH, Yessi is a seasoned technology and business journalist passionate about technology, people, and the future of work. She is a regular contributor to Times Radio in the UK. She also co-hosted a podcast for fDi Intelligence (Financial Times) and wrote a column about rising startup ecosystems. Yessi’s work has featured in several other leading publications including the Evening Standard, The Next Web (TNW), and UKTN. She is a sought-after panelist, event host, speaker, and moderator at technology events.