Current State

2020 presented an unprecedented time for most organizations. The speed and scope of the changes thrust upon businesses by the COVID-19 pandemic were unlike anything seen in recent history. Many organizations that believed they were “change-ready” discovered they were using an outdated definition of what change really is. The Learning & Development function was not immune. They suffered cutbacks and setbacks during a time when organizations are leaning on L&D more than ever. About 70% of companies saw a reduction in budget, a reduction in workforce or even a restructuring within the learning function. 

If you have experienced any of the following in the learning organization, what is the percentage? 

Complexities

Not only has the pandemic presented new challenges, but it has greatly exacerbated the challenges L&D already was grappling with as companies pushed to transform their learning efforts. The digital transformation of learning was a long slow climb, but a newly remote workforce environment forced companies to rethink their strategies and greatly accelerate their efforts. But a lack of time, money and other resources has made it difficult. Just as challenging, and perhaps more troubling, is organizations’ inability to properly measure learning’s impact. 

How are each of the following negatively impacting your learning organization’s efficiency and effectiveness? 

Consequences

As companies look to a future beyond the pandemic, they are recognizing several critical areas where they need to focus. They need to be better prepared to upskill and reskill their workforce quickly as business needs change more rapidly than before. They also need strategies and tools that allow a growing cadre of remote workers to be engaged, productive and valued. 

Talent strategies most executed during the pandemic recovery 

Critical Questions

  • Are we positioned to develop the skills we will need in the future? 
  • Do we have the technologies to deliver impactful learning during and beyond the pandemic environment? 
  • Are the strategies we are developing today designed for a post-pandemic future? 

Brandon Hall Group POV

The Time Is Now to Develop a Robust Yet Flexible Learning Strategy. 

According to previous Brandon Hall Group research, 15% of companies say they don’t have a learning strategy at all. Among those that do, only 27% say their strategy is either effective or very effective in helping the organization achieve its business goals. This paints a picture of a majority of L&D functions flying blind through one of the most volatile and uncertain environments in recent memory. 

Organizations must create a foundational learning strategy that is aligned with the needs of the business and can guide all aspects of learning. This also requires a mature vision and mission, which less than half of companies say they have developed.

Which of the following best describes your organization’s vision when it comes to the learning strategy? 

Which of the following best describes your organization’s mission when executing on the vision? 

Include a Future-looking Technology Roadmap. 

Once it became clear that the COVID-19 pandemic was not going to be just a weeks-long affair, organizations began quickly rethinking their learning technology to meet the needs of a newly remote workforce. Unfortunately, many of the decisions being made were short-sighted and aimed at meeting immediate needs. Companies have to select and implement technologies that are going to serve them in a hybrid workforce future — when people return to the workplace but many remain remote. Learning technology is the number-one HCM technology that organizations plan to upgrade or purchase due to changing business needs related directly or indirectly to the pandemic. The digital transformation of learning has to be for the long-term. 

Which of the following best describes your organization’s mission when executing on the vision? 

Learn From and Leverage the Current Environment. 

L&D’s strategic profile rose dramatically within organizations since the onset of the pandemic. Businesses recognize the criticality of upskilling and reskilling the workforce, as well as keeping people engaged and connected. Most of this has fallen on L&D’s shoulders. By implementing the right strategies and leveraging the right tools and technologies to make it happen, the L&D function can solidify this strategic position for the future. 

Key pandemic recovery takeaways: 

  • Evaluate the workforce strategies that have worked during the pandemic: What was learned and what was missed. 
  • The L&D team and business leaders must collaborate to create strategies to solve the most pressing business and workforce challenges. 
  • Focus on developing the potential and agility of employees to meet new challenges. 
  • View uncertainty as offering possibilities for innovation rather than as a threat. 

Organizational Self-Assessment on Upskilling and Reskilling

Brandon Hall Group’s research study, Upskilling/Reskilling, reveals a significant difference between the upskilling and reskilling needs of organizations and their approach to personalizing learning. This self-assessment tool provides an opportunity to understand where your organization stands in building a culture of personalized learning. It has 28 critical questions you can use to benchmark your organization’s efforts and set priorities for improvement. The best way to use the tool is to print it out and mark the boxes and add notes or action items.

Download the tool today!


About

Brandon Hall Group Strategy Briefs answer the critical questions learning, talent, HR and business leaders must address to manage their human capital. To tackle these critical questions in more detail, we built tools, frameworks, research summaries and business builders based on up-to-date research and case studies for you to implement best and next Human Capital Management (HCM) practices. To gain access to these valuable resources, contact success@brandonhall.com.

Leading minds in HCM choose Brandon Hall Group to help them build future-proof employee-development plans for the new era. For more than 27 years, we have empowered, recognized and certified excellence in organizations around the world, influencing the development of over 10,000,000 associates and executives.

David Wentworth

David Wentworth has been a senior research analyst in the human capital field since 2005 and joined the Brandon Hall Group in 2013. He has authored reports and articles on various human capital subjects with an emphasis on workforce technology. He has contributed to several reports published by ASTD, including authoring Mobile Learning: Learning in the Palm of Your Hand, The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity Across Generations, and Instructional Systems Design Today and in the Future. His work has also appeared in Compensation & Benefits Review and T+D Magazine.