- Company reaction to the pandemic has solidified learning and development’s (L&D) seat at the table, according to LinkedIn Learning’s Workplace Learning report, shared with HR Dive. Sixty-three percent of L&D pros most recently surveyed said that their position at the executive table is secure, compared to 24% who said as much in March 2020.
- L&D pros also are optimistic about their budgets even as the economy recovers from the pandemic; 33% of professionals said they expect budget increases, compared to only 22% in June 2020.
- Upskilling and reskilling are the top focus for L&D pros — and their importance is only growing, according to the report. Internal mobility and internal hiring also have risen, LinkedIn noted.
Learning initiatives often see cuts during hard times — but during an unprecedented workforce-wide shift, L&D may see its position strengthened, especially if the department can argue its strategic relevance, experts previously told HR Dive.
"I believe the conversation with business leaders needs to start and end with how learning supports business strategy and outcomes," Chris Holmes, now head of learning for Amazon Web Services Professional Services, previously told HR Dive in an emailed statement. "If learning is integrated as a part of a shared outcome, then the need to 'advocate' for training investment can be a very different conversation."
L&D will be key to bridging skill gaps — something that has become even more important as employers adapt to a contracting economy. According to a June 2020 report from LinkedIn, 68% of L&D professionals surveyed said that the level of urgency around learning programs has increased significantly in the wake of the pandemic.
If anything, L&D leaders have their hands full. Demand for online learning "increased exponentially" once lockdown orders went into effect, according to an April 2020 report from the Cornerstone Institute for People Development. Workers were particularly keen to train up on work-life balance, time management and active listening skills.