Planning for 2022: What are Your L&D Priorities?

L&D planning for 2022‘Tis the season for planning your Learning and Development (L&D) strategy. Do you know what your learning priorities are for 2022?

If you’re like many L&D pros, chances are you have a good shot at getting to create a comprehensive and solid learning plan in the next year. According to Linkedin Learning’s latest Workplace Learning Report, L&D departments have more power than ever post-pandemic — many L&D leaders have the ear of leadership and 33% of learning pros expect a rise in their 2022 training budget.

So what are some of the industry’s big priorities for the next year? According to early reports, there is likely to be an emphasis on organizational resilience, some investments in technology, and, of course, a continued focus on the hybrid workforce.

Expect a continued focus on training the hybrid workforce

If 2021 proved anything, it’s that the hybrid workplace is here to stay. Many workers enjoy working remotely, or like the flexibility of working at the office just part time. According to Gartner, 48% of employees will likely work remotely at least part of the time after COVID-19 as opposed to the 30% of employees who did so before the pandemic. This means that even if organizations were inclined to return to an in-person, instructor-led classroom model of learning, it won’t work for all employees. L&D will have to continue finding ways to train the hybrid workforce, hopefully using the unique strengths of each mode of instruction (mobile, in-person, just-in-time) to reinforce one another and boost retention.

Recognize that roles and skills aren’t always the same thing

A few years ago, there was a lot of concern about the skills gap; how could businesses hire enough employees with the right skills to fill certain roles? The turmoil of the past couple years has shown the L&D world that there’s another way to address the skills gap: by retraining existing staff with new skills. LinkedIn found that reskilling and upskilling were a top L&D priority in 2021. That trend is likely to evolve in 2022, with employees being trained for skills rather than for specific roles. This is good for the organization – it develops organizational resilience — and it’s good for learners, who may use those new skills to further their careers.

Look for an investment in future leaders

Organizations will also be looking to make themselves more resilient in another way — by training up the next generation of leaders from within. The newest group of employees in the workforce are interested in career growth, according to LinkedIn. Companies, on the other hand, are deeply interested in internal mobility — since the pandemic, a greater number of hires have been internal hires.

Expect a boost in mobile learning

With so many hybrid and remote learners, mobile learning is likely to be embraced in 2022. Most learners have their phones on them at all times, and most people have smartphones — roughly 71% of the global population. Despite this, many learning organizations aren’t mobile-ready: according to data from Brandon Hall Research Group, less than one third of the companies they surveyed have a mobile strategy, while almost a quarter of companies don’t plan to create a mobile strategy at all. Many of those that do only offer limited learning via mobile –  27% of companies offer some learning through apps, web pages, or portals, while 36% offer content through mobile browsers. To reach all learners, L&D departments will be looking at revamping their mobile strategy.

Invest in the well being of your team

It’s been a tough couple of years for everyone. Recent reports find that the effects of the pandemic have lingered — 94% of workers report being stressed, even in a post-pandemic world. Gartner has also pointed out that employers have become an extended safety net for workers, investing in the wellbeing of their team. L&D can do a lot to support this effort, by training workers in self-care, wrapping mental health into training, and teaching stress reduction as part of your L&D program.

Is virtual reality a thing yet?

Ah virtual reality, the flying car of the L&D world. We’ve been expecting it for years, but it hasn’t exactly materialized in the training world the way we might have predicted it would, say, 15 years ago. However, virtual reality may have its moment. With the recent migration to remote work and the need to create engaging training for distant learners who miss classrooms, L&D departments may start investing in new, leading edge tech tools in 2022. Some large organizations, like Walmart, have already been using VR and augmented reality to train workers.

L&D will be in a position to make strategic change in 2022

L&D has earned its seat at the table in the last two years. Many L&D departments were pivotal in changing business models and helping to keep their organizations afloat during the pandemic. Some L&D departments transformed their in-person training model into a remote learning model almost overnight, and others did the hard work of upskilling and reskilling existing workers to match new roles. So it makes sense that L&D departments now have the C-suite’s ear. According to LinkedIn’s latest Workplace Learning Report, 63% of learning pros worldwide agree that L&D got a seat at the C-Suite table in 2022 and 64% agree that L&D shifted from a “nice to have” to a “need to have” in 2021.