- Training employees to fill skill gaps is even more of a priority for organizations now than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic, 64% of global L&D professionals said in a May survey by LinkedIn Learning.
- The respondents, who represent organizations with more than 200 employees in 21 countries, also said the strategic position of L&D has been elevated within their organizations during the pandemic. Sixty-six percent said their function has become a more strategic part of their organizations, while 68% said the level of urgency around learning program launches has risen significantly.
- L&D professionals and their teams are now driving organizational culture with a focus on resilience and adaptability, LinkedIn Learning said. The company noted that it found a 153% increase in training courses shared and a 301% increase in professionals joining learning groups between January/February and March/April.
LinkedIn Learning isn't the first observer to identify increased demand for learning content during the pandemic. Online learning platform Udemy found in mid-April that the usage rate for its growth mindset course grew by 231% over a 30-day period, with similar growth for mastery and creativity courses.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, learning vendors are responding by making content more accessible. Coursera, for example, said it would allow enterprise customers and their employees free access to more than 30 courses due to the pandemic. Content creators made modules to train leaders to navigate COVID-19. Skillsoft last month announced its Leadercamp: Leading in the New Normal workshop focused on lessons like building organizational resilience, agility and team engagement.
Despite this growth, however, many L&D departments are beset by varied obstacles. Deloitte, in its 2020 Global Human Capital Trends report, found that companies have underinvested in finding the intersection between humans and technology, even as technological investments grew. L&D is also a frequent target of budget cuts in economic downturns like the present one, sources previously told HR Dive.
At the same time, professionals have found that the pandemic presents an opportunity for talent development teams to support organizational continuity. A mass movement to remote work may also drive acceptance of online learning delivery, and L&D departments can lead this change. The remote work trend may also present the opportunity for L&D itself, as the function can help teams devise new procedures and share tools and guidance on resiliency and well-being.
There are a number of ways for L&D teams to build a digital strategy to guide employees during the pandemic. Officials with PwC previously told HR Dive that the company's upskilling strategy encompasses several forms of delivery, including online resource hubs, podcasts and trivia games.