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5 Major Shifts in the L&D Landscape (and How Learning Leaders Can Respond)

February 21, 2022
Feb 21, 2022 3:27 PM

One of the biggest themes we discuss daily with our clients here at Performitiv is the absolute requirement for today’s learning leader to be agile and adaptable in the midst of accelerated change. 

It’s no wonder. Three out of every four learning execs have changed some or all of their programs in the last 2 years to adjust to our present realities, as well as changing employee and customer needs and expectations. According to LinkedIn, two-thirds (66%) of L&D pros globally now agree that they are now focused on ”rebuilding and reshaping their organizations.”

When it comes to delivering effective L&D programs in 2022, speed to insight and (the right) action are everything. Our technology has been purpose-built to be easy to use, easy for leaders and learners to understand, and easy to integrate into the rapidly evolving L&D tech ecosystem. 

While the learning landscape changes every day, here are 5 of the top trends we hear about most from our clients, and some guidance on how learning leaders can respond. 

82% of American employee want to telecommute once a week
82% of American employee want to telecommute once a week, according to Global Workplace Analytics.

#1 Trend: Virtual, Hybrid or Bust

Over the last 2 years, employees have been forced to learn new ways to work in a virtual or hybrid setup, and HR and L&D leaders have carried a heavy load trying to adjust to changing circumstances, adopting multiple platforms at breakneck speed and doing what it takes to keep business moving forward. 

The droves of employees leaving during “Great Resignation” or “Big Quit” must be because employees are satisfied with these new modes of doing business, right? Quite the opposite.

As i4CP CEO (and Performitiv Board Member) Kevin Oakes puts it, “Because hybrid work works, it has helped fuel the talent war and opened new possibilities for countless workers, as well as expanded the potential talent pool for employers worldwide. Progressive companies are taking advantage of this new reality, and workers are demanding flexibility at an astounding rate.”

In fact, 82% of American employees want to telecommute at least once a week when the pandemic is over, and 58% of employees say they’d look for another job if they were not allowed to work remotely after the pandemic. 

How Learning Leaders Can Respond

With talent recruitment and retention issues continuing to challenge most companies, and a strong desire from employees for virtual and hybrid work, it’s clear the old playbook does not apply. Learning leaders will likely continue to be required to adopt, implement and experiment with a growing new list of tools and learning modalities.

“The Great Resignation has forced more collaboration. Leaders know that the problems could (and likely do) span from multiple areas: hiring, management, growth/development, compensation, benefits. Everything has traditionally been so siloed and I think that is starting to break down, which is very good for L&D,” says Chris LeBrun, Performitiv Director of Professional Services.

In order to thrive in this new fast-moving multimodal world, learning organizations need to prioritize their ability to adapt to any situation. 

A mid 2020 Bersin and NIIT Study, for example, looked at orgs with strong data management and analytics capabilities, the ability to make aligned, data-driven decisions and the skills and resources to embrace and apply innovation quickly based on insights. 

What they found was that organizations that shared these characteristics were far more likely to succeed. They found that they were more likely to drive growth and to see better performance around leadership, engagement, retention and efficiency in their L&D investments.

Performitiv can provide the highly flexible technology, methodology and expertise you need to transform into a true world-class, data-driven learning organization by prioritizing employee and learner feedback and giving you the insights you need to adjust to change quickly. Give us a shout if you’d like to find out how. 

93% of leaders agreed DE&I is a top priority.
93% of leaders agreed DE&I is a top priority, according to LInkedIn.

#2 Trend: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Programs Gain Traction, But Results Disappoint

In the midst of BLM protest and the George Floyd case, many companies decided it was past time to more proactively address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion.

The world’s largest corporations pledged over $1.7 billion to help address racism and injustice, and LinkedIn showed an enormous spike in the number of DE&I roles of over 400%. Major DE&I training providers like Skillsoft, LinkedIn, and Udemy saw interest in diversity-focused courses increase by 500 to over 1000%.

While the interest and potential for investment in substantive DE&I programs is there,  unfortunately, as a recent HBR piece puts it, “much of this work has not yet taken root. In one recent survey, 93% of leaders agreed that the DE&I agenda is a top priority, but only 34% believed that it’s a strength in their workplace.”

How Learning Leaders Can Respond

You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and DE&I initiatives are no different. We recommend making sure you have a continuous improvement process in place that allows you to analyze and optimize your DE&I programs to assure maximum impact. 

Performitiv COO Jeffrey Berk, who will be hosting a webinar on how we helped a Fortune 1000 professional service firm with this issue on March 9th, puts it this way:

“Diversity, equity and inclusion training is important. Due to the serious nature of this training, L&D departments should not focus on a traditional 'Level 1' evaluation to evaluate content or the instructor, but rather use this evaluation opportunity to truly understand if the training achieved important objectives like belonging, self-awareness and commitment. If the training is not doing these things it should be improved, because it really matters to get this right,” says Berk. 

Sign up for our upcoming webinar on Measuring DE&I programs here.

55% of CEOs view developing the next generation of leaders as their #1 challenge,
According to DDI, 55% of CEOs view developing the next generation of leaders as their #1 challenge.

#3 Trend: The Need for Better Leaders (and Better Leadership Development Programs)

According to the 2021 DDI Global Leadership Forecast, more than 55% of CEOs view developing the next generation of leaders as their #1 challenge, yet "fewer than half of leaders feel they are effective in leadership skills that will be most critical for future success. Even worse, they aren’t getting development in the skills they need most urgently." 

While Leadership Development is a core priority for most company leaders, according to a recent Performitiv study, there is clearly a gap between the desire to build future-ready leaders and the ability to drive the change they want through Leadership Development programs. Only 25% of executives surveyed say their leadership development programs actually improve performance. The need for change could not be more apparent.

Research from Brandon Hall echoes this sentiment. 82% of employers surveyed in a recent study said they could not adequately measure their Leadership Development programs, and only 46% said their leadership goals are directly linked to business objectives.

How Learning Leaders Can Respond

Leadership development programs are some of the most strategic investments an organization can make - and their impact is enormous. 

"Impact is wider for leadership training, because it likely impacts direct reports in addition to your leaders. Great leaders have a positive impact both on the company’s business results and on the long-term success of its people. Leaders who fail to improve have a negative impact that cascades throughout your organization. It’s table stakes to measure training that impacts, in some cases, all of your employees," says Chris LeBrun.

This is the reason why understanding the impact these critical leadership investments are having to the organization is typically a top priority for L&D leaders.  

Performitiv can help you implement the Net Impact System, a simple, practical process that provides evidence of impact and value of leadership development programs.  This coupled with tailored dashboards which connect efficiency and effectiveness date with talent and business outcomes, will give leaders the insight they need to understand how investments in leadership development drive results. 

Learn more about the Net Impact System here.

63% of L&D pros globally agree that L&D “has a seat at the executive table.”
According to LinkedIn, 63% of L&D pros globally agree that L&D “has a seat at the executive table.”

#4 Trend: L&D Has More of a Voice with the C-Suite than Ever (But Still Aren't Sure What to Do With It)

The pandemic has changed more than just the way learning is delivered. It has changed the relationship between L&D execs and the C-Suite for the better.

According to the most recent LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, 64% of L&D pros globally agree that L&D shifted from a “nice to have” to a “need to have,” and 63% of L&D pros globally agree that L&D “has a seat at the executive table.”

Unfortunately, as in the pre-pandemic world, L&D leaders still struggle to be able to communicate with their leadership about the value of their programs.

Only 8% of CEOs see an impact related to training and development programs and only 4% of CEOs see any degree of return on investment in training and development programs.

Our own study found that 85% of execs are disappointed with their measurement capabilities, and one out of every two leaders report they do a poor job of measuring impact.

It’s clear the struggle to communicate impact is still very real.

How Learning Leaders Can Respond

At Performitiv we’ve seen a growing number of learning leaders meeting directly with the C-suite on their most strategic training programs and developing clear guidelines for measurement before programs ever start. 

Unfortunately, an even greater number of learning execs have yet to even start pushing their organizations towards data-driven decision making because they may not know where to start.

As Performitiv’s Director of Professional Services Chris LeBrun puts it: “Don’t be afraid of something you may not know as much about (now). Many learning leaders come from a traditional learning organization, where historically, data and analytics has taken a backseat. It’s OK if you have some learning to do, and don’t hold back because of that. Deeper measurement, reporting, and analytics is the future - there’s no way around that. Embrace it!”

Take your team along with you on the journey and leverage resources available to you - articles, industry leaders and organizations, thought leaders.

“Learning leaders face massive challenges in this post-pandemic era, and what every learning leader is trying to do these days is really understand how they add more value to the business. How do they address the business issues and the business needs? The only way to do that is having great data,” says Performitiv CEO Kent Barnett.

Watch this JetBlue Case Study for tips on how best to communicate with leadership about L&D impact.

What once qualified as future-proofing is now simply table stakes for operating effectively in the present.
The global LXP market is expected to reach over $2 billion by 2026, according to a recent Facts and Factors report.

#5 Trend: Employees Expect Curated, Personalized Learning (on More Engaging Platforms)

“Many of our clients are beginning to supplement their formal LMS training with LXPs and multiple other types of systems. They are starting to experiment with the promise of AI-curated learning content, using internal subject matter experts as content creators and integrating with the systems they are already comfortable using in their day to day lives,” says Jeb Metric, Performitiv CTO.

At the forefront of this new multi-platform world is the continued proliferation of technology that connects learners to each other, facilitates expert-created content and attempts to curate learning at the moment of need. The global LXP market alone is expected to reach over $2 billion by 2026, according to a recent Facts and Factors report.

These systems prioritize independent, self-directed learning, putting learners in the driver’s seat of exploration, as opposed to the top-down directed approach typical of the traditional LMS providers. They can integrate content from multiple vendors, provide searchable content and built-in community interaction, as opposed to the more structured learning experiences driven by LMS systems.

This environment has created complexity within the learning ecosystem for many organizations. Performitiv finds that many of our clients have multiple learning platforms which focus on different aspects of learning support for users.

This can create difficulty from a measurement perspective, where it is challenging to connect these disparate learning opportunities and understand where impact is occuring, not occurring or could be optimized. Greater insight could truly allow organizations to maximize the potential of these learning experiences and platforms, however, we find that many companies don’t have this level of measurement in place.

How Learning Leaders Can Respond

Learning leaders need to embrace change and provide their increasingly remote employees with the flexibility they are asking for.

“If content cannot be accessed proactively, then this can lead to fallout such as employee disengagement and lack of vital information at time of need, which is a risk to the business. If content isn’t applicable, then this can result in employees’ reluctance to seek out learning, which can also lead to risk as well as an organization not seeing adequate return on their investment in learning content,” says Amy Rath, Performitiv’s Senior Director of Client Success.

From the way learning is delivered, explored, and curated, to the way impact is analyzed and optimized on platforms like Performitiv, the new virtual, hybrid world demands flexibility and interoperability.

“Perfomitiv enables a powerful, customized measurement approach which is easily integrated within a multi-platform environment. In fact, the platform is optimized to pinpoint areas of high impact and more importantly, opportunities for improvement - creating a critical continuous improvement process for our clients,” says Sara Chizzo, VP, Sales and Marketing at Performitiv.

“Not only can L&D practitioners see what’s working, but they can see optimization opportunities and areas where learning opportunities across disparate platforms can be maximized. Insights from Performitiv can help companies with multi-platform environments maximize the return on those investments and serve their organizations more effectively. This, then, becomes the story of impact to senior leadership,” says Chizzo.

Learning leaders should prioritize a measurement approach which holistically provides insights across all learning regardless of platform or methodology. Performitiv’s solution leverages learning platform’s existing APIs to automate the entire process and can also support file-based approaches. Our solution is optimized to bring together efficiency, effectiveness and outcome data to provide a complete view of learning impact for our clients.

What once qualified as future-proofing is quickly becoming the bare minimum for operating effectively in the present.

Learn more about how Performitiv can help you integrate with most major learning and BI systems here.