2019 has officially begun!
It’s our first day back at Bray Leino Learning and I’m sensing a healthy mix of energy floating around the office, from ‘slightly sluggish’ to ‘raring to go’. I’m trying to focus on the latter, starting the year with some enthusiasm for the L&D trends that await in 2019.
You could say that L&D is at a bit of a crossroads having learnt some major insights about the future of learning in 2018. So, based on these insights and my own recent experiences and conversations, I’ve pulled together four L&D trends that I’m pretty excited about for 2019:
1. Closer alignment with the business
For some time now, learning professionals (myself included) have been shouting about the importance of aligning learning with the business. So, I found it surprising when Towards Maturity’s most recent benchmark reported that many L&D departments are still not fully aligned with their business.
Perhaps the reason for this is simple – L&D need to change their tactics. The statistics show that over 50% of L&D are lacking business acumen, which is a crucial skill if they want to get a seat on the board. It maybe the case that L&D think they are approaching the board in the right manner, but if they board isn’t reciprocating, it’s probably time for a rethink.
Hopefully, 2019 will be the year this turns around, as data from Corporate Learning Alliance and the World Economic Forum demonstrated that businesses are finally starting to see L&D as a strategic partner and are actively encouraged to give L&D a seat on the board.
2. Focus on soft skills development
In L&D we have always known that soft skills such as communication, time management, and resilience underpin the success of any individual and organisation. But with the fourth industrial revolution upon us the importance of these core skills are amplified as businesses start to rely more and more on what machines can’t do.
So, considering this, it’s not surprising that soft skills are set to rise by a third in just one years’ time. This has created a bit of a double-edged sword as many businesses are already reporting a shortage of core soft skills in Millennials and Gen Z. It’s clear that soft skills development will be a big trend in L&D this year, as businesses race to futureproof the skills of their people.
3. Rebranding L&D as an employee perk
The nature of employee perks has changed a lot over the last few years as organisations keep thinking up creative ways to attract and retain the ‘job-hopping’ Millennial generation.
But there is still one untapped employee perk which really appeals to the younger generation – learning and development opportunities. According to Manpower’s recent report millennials are more likely to stick with (or move to) a company which offers learning and career development opportunities.
So, it makes sense for L&D and the business to capitalise on this incentive and rebrand L&D as an employee perk for 2019.
4. Using marketing to engage learners
Marketing campaigns can have a huge impact on engaging your learners. This isn’t new news. In fact, last year it was reported that 90% of learning professionals reported marketing as a priority skill.
So, we know what it can do, but we’re still seeing learner engagement as a huge challenge for our industry.
Maybe, it all comes down to a lack of confidence. Only 50% of L&D departments believe they have the marketing skills they need to get started. 2018 saw a lot of coverage on the topic, including many tools and resources published to encourage L&D to utilise marketing campaigns for learner engagement. This has led to a shift as learning professionals are starting to realise their skills are more transferable than originally thought.
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Of course, we can’t really tell how 2019 will pan out, but if we all focus a little energy on these 4 trending areas, I believe L&D will be in a better place this time next year.
Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning
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