Learning & Development

My predictions for L&D in 2020

2020 will be the year Learning and Development gets a make-over – says Ed Smith, Head of Global Growth and L&D Expert. Learn about his predictions for L&D in 2020.

Development at all levels

Companies face new leadership challenges, including developing Millennials and multiple generations of leaders, meeting the demand for leaders with global fluency and flexibility, building the ability to innovate and inspire others to perform, and acquiring new levels of understanding of rapidly changing technologies and new disciplines and fields.

No wonder organisations are coming up short, for any L&D programme to be successful, it needs to have a clearly defined objective. The training course and its contents should cater to employees at all levels. Courses must be formulated with either a ‘top-down’ or ‘bottom-up’ approach. In top-down, the management dictates the requirements, whereas in bottom-up, the ground-level staff determine the primary goals based on their experience of dealing directly with customers.

Giving importance to frontline staff feedback helps to increase employee retention. It encourages these workers to play an active role in the company’s strategic decisions, so that organisational objectives can be in line with each employee’s individual goals.

In 2020, organisations will begin to look for leaders who will have no direct reports. They will expect employees to develop leadership skills which will help them in being more productive.

Virtual learning practices

In 2020 the trend for coaching classes and L&D programmes conducted in classroom based environments will change from face to face sessions to web-based, virtually broadcasted learning sessions. With the rise of so many digital platforms, the trend to offer flash courses is declining. This contemporary approach incurs lower cost overruns and is convenient for both the instructors and employees.

HCM Deck is a prime example of how automating L&D processes can bring data, analyses and efficiency to a traditional environment that has encountered many issues over the last century.

Workers can access recorded webinars at any time, from any place, without disturbing their routine work schedules. Conducting classes or webinars online also enhances digital talent among the staff. Webinars are increasingly getting popular as an effective means of L&D in many organisations such as Procter and Gamble, Red Cross, LinkedIn. Mark my words, this does not mean that the trend for the conventional training methods is completely over. In some offices, sessions are still held in groups, where one trainer makes a presentation to everyone in-person, flip charts are staged in each corner of the room and when the employees leave the content is binned. The question must be asked just how much knowledge did they take away with them.

User experience

Learning content is plenty: the internet, conferences, webinars, whitepapers, industry magazines. Employees have a wide range of sources to choose from but every medium gives a different user experience (UX) to the learner.

In 2020, the race will begin to enhance user experience to make L&D efforts more effective. If UX is not good, learners tend to lose interest within the first few minutes of a programme, wasting the costs invested in preparing it. To provide a good user experience, you must keep the learner engaged and interacting with the content. We will see a trend in end-to-end L&D programmes whereby learners get a thorough chance to give feedback, ask questions and carry out assessments to test their learning at the end of the course.

This year we will see the death of flash courses

Flash courses, with supported interactive media, have been a popular training and development strategy in organisations for a while, the trend to offer flash courses is declining.
If you are using or still plan to use flash-based learning in 2020, then you need to convert and reformat these courses, which could significantly bring down the ROI. All content will need to be reformatted into HTML5, and appropriate authoring tools will need to be used to create fresh courses. Adobe, has officially reported that flash courses will become obsolete in 2020.

If employees cannot learn on the go they will go

The most commonly used ‘on the go’ approach to learning is using mobile devices. L&D courses that are easily accessible through mobile devices will be most popular. As reported for sometime you must train to retain your staff.

L&D Leaders and HR Leaders have already identified this and invested heavily into solid learning and development programmes. Now you must make this available for employees on their mobile devices as more learners begin to dedicate more time out of hours on personal development.

Growing Focus on Soft Skills Training

As a senior leader in a leading HR & L&D Tech company I can see that business practices are evolving through automation and artificial intelligence (AI), the future workplace has put high demands on L&D Tech companies to re-invent processes that have been operated upon for many years. Even with this transformation, soft skills like creativity, agile thinking, communication and collaboration will stay in high demand. There are gaps in soft skills across all roles and nearly all functions, and organisations in all industries.

In 2020, soft skills training will become core to organizational and employee success.

Soft skills are not learned in a one-and-done training event. To truly develop these skills, employees require multiple training experiences over an extended period of time to learn and practice them. We foresee a continued focus on soft skills training, and L&D professionals must create comprehensive learning experiences to develop this critical skill set.

Automated Outplacement

Outplacement is a service provided at no cost to employees by their employer through a third party supplier during times of workforce restructuring and layoffs. Contemporary outplacement is delivered by companies, with high costs and no real return on investment, organisations concerned with the long-term implications of workforce transformation on their employer brand, employee retention, and overall business success normally seek assistance in providing this service. While there are many suppliers of outplacement services, the difference in their delivery models is significant. However, they are all classroom-based, face to face, one to one meetings. Teaching the affected employee how to approach the job market, how to deal with the emotional effects of the job loss, and perfecting their CV to land their next career. This year organisations will start to look at automating this process. They have realised that if accountants can become accredited online, universities can provide eLearning courses and programmers learn to code, then why should exiting employees be made to attend group meetings.

Summing up

In summary a year of automation lies ahead of us, increased ROI, decreased consultant hours, with the overall achievement of efficiency we will see L&D move from an isolated role for training to a culture where learning is seen as relevant to the needs of the business and of the learners, and integrated in the day-to-day activities of the working population. By incorporating these changes listed above in our discussions and plans today, it encourages us to embrace these inevitable changes now so we are ready for their impacts tomorrow. HCM Deck, the L&D workflow solution, is a cutting edge platform that organisations globally will be relying on to provide support in achieving their Learning and Development strategies in 2020 and I am proud to be a part of that, I hope I can look forward to you being a part of that too.

This article was written by Edward Smith – Head of Global Growth at HCM Deck with over a decade of senior management, change and process optimisation experience having worked with the world’s leading organisations to develop and implement strategic L&D and HR solutions. Edward is responsible for leading the entire HCM Deck global operations.

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