Excelling in 2022: 6 Skills L&D Pros Need to ‘Future-Proof’
Learning and Development.
Responding to change, organisations demonstrated agility, resilience, and adaptability over the last few months. Those that remained afloat, however, recognised the importance of continuous investment in employee learning and development to perform optimally in hybrid-working conditions. L&D departments which used the disruption to address gaps in their L&D strategy are now, more than ever – and perhaps for the first time – beginning to shape an agile workforce with skills that are not only fit-for-purpose but also future-proof for dynamic business environments.
However, at the heart of successful L&D in an ever-changing environment is a competent L&D specialist or leader. Navigating 2021, L&D teams had to convey especially soft skills and empathy to steer L&D efforts in the right direction and support organisational leaders. The key question yet remains: what skills does an L&D pro require to enable the learning and development of a resilient and agile workforce in 2022?
At the end of 2021, 63% of L&D pros reported that they now more than ever have a seat at the executive table seeing the importance of L&D pivoted during the pandemic.
To fill that seat and deliver strategic input and effective outcomes, L&D pros need the following skills to guide development efforts successfully in 2022:
1. Business Acumen
Now that L&D leaders have a seat at the executive table, they have to understand much more than just learning and development needs in order to position learning in the organisation. You have to understand the jargon around strategic intent, data analytics, budgets, OKR’s, KPI’s and metrics. If you have a good understanding of how business works, where there is an opportunity for development, and what is working well, you will be much more enabled to position and explain critical L&D needs in the organisation to business leaders – as well as gain buy-in from various stakeholders.
2. Consultancy Skills
As an L&D expert, you must be a consulting expert. Once you understand the organization’s strategic intent and direction, you must be able to assess the organisation’s capabilities for learning and development and consult on that – building a solid L&D framework. As an L&D consultant, ensure that you have the networking skills necessary to collaborate with the appropriate internal and external partners (learning providers, mentors, IT, instructional designers, etc.) to support the L&D framework. You should also be able to design the operating model for L&D by prioritising upskilling and reskilling in the key areas (focus on creating internal mobility). All of this should be monitored and supported on an ongoing basis by you and a strong team (informed by data and tech systems).
3. Data Literacy Skills
In 2022, a lot of decision-making will be based on data-driven analysis, as well as AI, whether it involves production, clients, employees, risks, etc., – basically, everything that has to do with business processes. Especially AI, given that global AI spending grows at a rate of approximately 30% per year. Furthermore, AI-based recommendations from Learning Management Systems (LMS) are increasingly being used to inform decision-making, particularly in online and blended learning frameworks with learners spread across multiple locations. As a result, to make adequately informed decisions and position L&D to have a strategic impact, you must refine and upskill your data literacy skills as an L&D professional.
These skills will include (but are not limited to):
- Understanding and implementing people analytics
- Analytics and data visualization
- Improved search abilities
- The ability to quantify L&D (metrics)
4. Mastering and Leveraging Technology – Developing Digital
The digital age arrived years ago, but we now need to stay ahead of it more than ever, especially as L&D leaders trying to develop hybrid teams. This will not only benefit employees by allowing them to upskill conveniently and cost-effectively, but it will also open up new opportunities for L&D to develop employees at all levels, across borders and boundaries. As a learning and development expert, you must be able to model instructional design on design platforms to create seamless online and blended learning experiences that can be delivered across multiple platforms, as well as curation of
these projects. You must navigate how to engage employees and personalise learning content to be relevant to their roles and challenges faced while designing effective learning experiences.
5. Micro-learning (Agile ways of working)
In 2022, L&D professionals must meet learners where they are. Micro-learning is becoming more popular, especially as personalised and social learning becomes more prevalent. Implement more personalised micro-learning initiatives to make learning a part of employees’ standard workflow rather than being away from work to increase employee engagement in learning initiatives. Micro-learning should not only be relevant but also divide learning material into short bursts that employees can work through quickly and apply practically. Collaborate with relevant internal partners in key areas of learning to assist employees in learning in their roles (e.g., mentoring).
Incorporating micro-learning can also help to
foster a climate of continuous and agile learning.
Use social features (Q&A platforms, forums, learning groups, etc.) to create a collaborative climate around your micro-learning efforts,
as this increases learning engagement and time spent on learning platforms.
6. Comprehending the Neuroscience of Learning & Personalising
Learning agility, upskilling, and reskilling have all become critical in today’s jobs. So, as L&D professionals, how do we ensure that employees actually learn new things and that it ‘sticks’?
By grasping how adults learn, what engages them in the learning process, the mechanics behind memory formation and retention – basically through understanding the neuroscience of learning. If you, as an L&D professional, can grasp and incorporate the fundamentals of adult learning into today’s blended learning approaches, you might be surprised at the return on investment. This, combined with personalised learning, makes learning even more engaging, relevant, and valuable, as well as customised to the employee’s/learning team’s style and delivery method. Understanding how we as humans learn and apply will not only help you tailor your learning approaches to cultivate agile learning in your workforce, but it will also set your L&D
strategy up for success. If terms like ‘electrochemical activity,’ ‘neurons,’ and ‘encoding’ are unfamiliar to you, now might be a good time to learn more about learning.
We’ve got you covered!
Yellow Seed has an online short course on the Neuroscience of Learning available for you as an L&D
professional; contact the team for more information to get started or download our free Neuroscience of Learning eBook.
Are your skills as an L&D specialist up to not only the challenges but opportunities that 2022 will bring? The world is moving away from pure ‘crisis mode’ and focusing on new capabilities. Are you upskilled to upskill, ready to fill the seat at the executive table? If your company’s L&D is not setting you up for success in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment – now is the time to invest in upskilling your L&D leaders to enable agile learning and a resilient workforce. Resilient, agile, and capable, Yellow Seed can empower you, to empower your workforce!