For a relatively new discipline within HR, learning and development (L&D) has gone from being good to a necessity within a few years. LinkedIn has tracked the state of workplace learning through annual surveys over the past five years and the trend is clear: more and more organizations are recognizing that skills are the currency of success in the workplace. new world of work and rely on their training and development teams to lead the charge.
The 2021 edition of LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report, which was recently launched in India and Southeast Asia, sums up the future of learning with four key ideas.
L & D’s seat at the executive table is here to stay
Just a year ago, in March 2020, less than a quarter of L&D professionals (24% in India, 25% in Southeast Asia) thought they had a place at the executive table. Then the pandemic happened. By June 2020, this figure had more than doubled to 63% in both markets. This was good news for learning leaders, but the question had to be asked: Would the learning boom be a fleeting moment or lead to more permanent change?
Fast forward to March 2021, it’s clear this wasn’t a flash in the pan. L&D professionals have confirmed that their seats remain intact (62% in India, 70% in Southeast Asia), proving that the positive impact L&D can have in times of change and uncertainty has been recognized by business leaders. So what’s next?
“Be a business partner and understand the company as much as the businessman! Look for new ways to create experiential learning, ”says Poorna Pushkala, Senior Vice President – HR & Training, Branding at Samunnati.
Taking the example of her own organization, Poorna shares, “Samunnati’s L&D team has partnered with business and process teams to ensure their issues are understood and addressed in a timely manner. Learn-unlearn-relearn is a key aspect of our L&D philosophy. Considering that most of what Samunnati does is the first of its kind in the industry, we encourage our internal leaders and subject matter experts to be the primary champions of learning and development. Over the past few years, we have nurtured several champions of learning who have become torchbearers, and this crosses several hierarchical levels. The training and development team is well equipped to compare and replicate relevant industry learning trends, empower themselves and others in the organization, and emerge as key stakeholders in the business. The idea of retraining and development has opened up several other avenues for learning and growth within the organization. We improve and requalify the talents who have the potential to move the business forward. Additionally, we have always believed in learning by doing / exploring. Another area where we focus on learning opportunities for our team is internal personalized “SamTalks”. We signed up for LinkedIn Learning, rolled out specific leadership programs customized for Samunnati’s middle / senior leadership, such as LIME (Lead Inspire Mentor Empower), Walk-the-Talk, etc.
Skills upgrading and re-qualification is the # 1 learning and development priority this year
The rapid acceleration in automation, coupled with the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic, will change the division of labor between humans and machines, according to a 2020 World Economic Forum report. The report predicts that this will displace 85 million jobs globally and create 97 million new ones by 2025.
This signals a huge opportunity – or even a necessity – for training and development professionals to inspire the skills-building their organizations need to prepare for the new world of work. Based on LinkedIn research, it appears L&D is on board and gaining momentum.
Training and development professionals in India and Southeast Asia say upgrading skills and retraining is their top priority this year as they continue to play their role as a strategic partner of the organization .
The 3 main areas of intervention of the L&D program in 2021
Chella Pandian Pitchai, Head of Talent, Learning and Organizational Transformation at Biocon Biologics, shares: “Learning is an integral part of Biocon Biologics’ people development strategy. As an organization, we fully understand that curiosity fuels innovation and therefore we focus on ‘curiosity-driven’ learning. Our training and development team constantly reviews the learning strategy to relate it to business goals and employee aspirations. We keep reinventing new ways to improve the learning experience for our employees around the world. The integration with the best digital platforms, the adoption of new concepts such as Design Thinking and the shift in focus towards ‘strengths-based learning’ have dramatically improved the reach, experience and effectiveness of learning. ”
He further shares: “Building a learning culture requires not only a learning strategy, but translating the strategy into a meaningful outcome. We have a huge commitment from our leadership to support this vision in which last year they led by example by undergoing a “strength” assessment and conceptual thinking certification. As a result, more than 350 leadership teams discovered their innate talents and focused on strengths-based leadership. 300 design thinkers who learned their problem-solving leadership skills through design thinking and continue to innovate in their own workspace.
Community learning is a powerful engine of engagement
With fewer people in the office and a dramatic decrease in instructor-led training opportunities, many L&D professionals have spent 2020 creating, testing and refining ways to keep learners engaged. They seem to have found a solution: community learning.
In the LinkedIn study, a large majority of L&D professionals agree that:
- Learning is more engaging when people learn together (90% in India, 94% in the South East)
- Employees who learn together do better (90% in India and Southeast Asia)
- Community learning helps create a sense of belonging (91% in India, 96% in Southeast Asia)
This sentiment is supported by data from the LinkedIn Learning platform, which found that learners who used social features watched 30 times more hours of learning content, on average, than those who didn’t. .
It follows that nurturing digital communities of learners is a huge opportunity for training and development professionals to deepen their engagement, especially in India and Southeast Asia, where remote workplaces and hybrids are expected to continue in the future.
Rajiv Naithani, EVP & Chief People Officer at Infogain Sharing, they have created various communities based on technologies, roles and solutions. “Community & Social Learning” is one of the main axes within our L&D organizations. Some of the social learning interventions we conduct are as follows:
- Industry leadership discussion
- Mentoring coaching
- Poufs / Meetup
- Community / COE of Practice
These social learning interventions have helped break down silos and provide a platform for our colleagues to partner and collaborate with other community members, which also helps leverage these partnerships to explore solutions. to complex problems from a daily work perspective.
Diversity and inclusion are now part of the learning agenda
Across India and South East Asia, one way for organizations to work towards a more equitable future is to prioritize diversity and inclusion (D&I) programs. And they are asking L&D for help to do this.
More than half of the organizations surveyed in India (66%) and South East Asia (58%) already have a D&I program or are interested in starting one this year. A similar number of L&D professionals (63% in India, 56% in South East Asia) agree that D&I programs are a priority. This signals a consensus within organizations that D&I must be integrated into all learning programs for it to lead to lasting change.
Sanjay Mathur, Human Resources Manager at Systra India., Says: “The Systra Group is committed to contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. To align with this, SYSTRA is working on gender equality. In 2019, the ‘Women @ Systra’ network was launched, which welcomes both men and women. This was created to promote / encourage women’s careers through mentoring, promote the benefits of gender equality, create a global community to share experiences around the world, and abolish common gender stereotypes / prejudices. March 2021 was celebrated as “Diversity and Inclusion” month at Systra Group in India. Throughout the month, we focused on helping employees recognize various biases such as gender, age, color and sexuality by using an educational tool to raise awareness of their own subconscious thoughts. This was followed by self-paced training for managers and employees on diversity, inclusion and belonging as well as training on unconscious bias. Through such interventions, we hope to build a common understanding that learning, unlearning and relearning is the most important principle for making gradual progress towards diversity and inclusion.
As L & D’s influence grows, so does its responsibility.
For a deeper dive into this insight and practical advice on how to quickly develop skills at scale, boost learner engagement in hybrid workplaces, and more, download The 2021 edition of LinkedIn Workplace Learning India.