2022 and beyond
Skills shortages, the need for new and different skills, and changing expectations of workers are combining to elevate the significance of training and development in many organisations.
Skills shortages and a drive for greater diversity are leading employers to change their approach to recruitment and increase their focus on training and developing their own people.
LinkedIn’s 2022 Workplace Learning Report survey of learning and development leaders found that 72% agreed that learning and development has become a more strategic function at their organisation. Notwithstanding this, the Learning & Work Institute has reported that UK employers’ spending per employee on training was down 28% over the last decade and around half that of the EU average.
While the rapid pace of change creates new jobs and greater demand for some, demand reduces (sometimes altogether) for others. Technological advances also mean that workforce skills can become quickly outdated as employer needs evolve. This Future of Work Hub podcast reflects on how the skills agenda needs to shift to accommodate the changing needs of business. Responsibility will fall, at least in part, on employers to step in to provide the requisite training and development opportunities to build the necessary skills to adjust to these changes. Unilever is a notable pioneer with its innovative approach to training and developing its people through its U-Renew programme, which allows employees to take a sabbatical while receiving a salary to learn new skills or experience new opportunities.
Organisations adapting to this new world of work rely heavily on managers. Developing managerial skills, resilience, flexibility and adaptability will be essential to successfully meet the needs of the business.
Some organisations are looking to enhance internal mobility as a means of retaining good people who might otherwise leave and filling skills gaps elsewhere within their organisations. The LinkedIn 2022 Workplace Learning Report found that companies that excel at internal mobility are able to retain employees for an average of 5.4 years which is nearly twice as long as companies that struggle with internal mobility.
While the psychology behind employee motivation is complex, employees, particularly among the younger generation, regard personal development as an important consideration in deciding which employer to work with. Deloitte’s 2022 annual survey of Gen Z and Millennials placed learning and development second among Gen Z and Millennials (after work-life balance) as reasons for deciding to join an employer (29% for both age groups). McKinsey reported that learning opportunities were ranked third in the US by employees asked about the most important aspects of their jobs.
Recruitment strategies focussing on the future needs of the business are placing greater focus on a candidate’s potential using predictive recruitment and skills-based assessments rather than the reliance on qualifications and past experience. The CIPD has called on employers to think strategically about their workforce recruitment in order to open up opportunities and close ongoing skills gaps.
Legal claims might arise if a candidate perceives that they have stronger experience or qualifications than a successful candidate but are passed over for a promotion or other opportunity. Employers will need to communicate effectively and document their decisions better to reduce these risks.