The past few years have created renewed awareness of the importance of employee development and overall employee experience. Senior leaders are looking to learning and development (L&D) to guide skills development, skills data, upskilling, reskilling and mobility, to meet the needs of their ever-changing business environments. A Redthread report indicates that L&D has established itself an enablement partner in strategic discussions and organizational culture change. In other words, L&D has earned a “seat at the table.” And as they say, “With great power comes great responsibility;” this puts training managers in the role of a catalyst to accelerate organizational change in 2023. Here are the areas that will be in focus for most training managers in the coming year.
1. Operationalizing the L&D strategy processes on a global scale: The year 2022 saw a reevaluation of L&D processes that we pivoted to during the COVID-19 pandemic to increase the training function’s overall efficiency and strategic alignment to business goals. Learning leaders are continuing this work by focusing on the operationalization of L&D processes for initiatives that align with each business function’s strategic goals (e.g., sales strategy, workforce upskilling, etc.). With organizational structures becoming flatter, training mangers can collaborate between teams effectively and implement the change successfully.
2. Coaching to develop readiness in teams: The workplace today doesn’t look what it used to a few years back. Hybrid and remote working is widely established and often preferred by employees. The Great Resignation has morphed into “quiet quitting” which has lead to an increased focus on the employee experience as well as the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace. Additionally, the role of the manager has evolved from being a director of tasks to a coach who provides the psychological safety that employees need to succeed in their careers. Practicing empathy and providing feedback for continuous learning and improvement, managers are constantly adapting their leadership styles to become more adaptable and resilient while also practicing transparency in communication. By coaching employees, managers can prepare employees for digital transformation and other disruptions, in addition to increasing retention and engagement. Achieving these goals begins with the evolution of leadership development offerings. As drivers of the employee experience and organizational learning, training managers must develop their own leadership skills to support the business of learning.
3. The linchpins in the digital transformation journey: Digital transformation efforts have been proliferating as organizations play catch up with technological innovation. COVID-19 accelerated the pace of digital transformation, however, as organizations pivoted to become “digital-first.” L&D teams provided support to this massive change of operations and mindsets in 2020. The digital transformation of business processes and technology is a journey, and artificial intelligence (AI) will automate several operations in the process. Training managers play an important role in preparing employees for this change and in adopting AI into the overall L&D ecosystem. This adoption process requires training managers to conduct systematic needs assessments for the processes that can be automated, reevaluating the right vendors, and assessing their current L&D technology stack. The most critical role of the training manager in this process is communicating with transparency and data-informed insights the impact of AI on training and development initiatives.
4. Implementation of L&D programs using innovative approaches: The training manger’s capabilities are evolving from the traditional instructional designer-like skill sets to that of an entrepreneur who designs programs to train diverse learners using customized delivery modalities. Using design thinking, rapid development tools and following an agile methodology can help to ensure an iterative design.
L&D helps people to develop the skills and capabilities they need to be successful in their current and future roles. As business continues to evolve, L&D is shaping and influencing widespread culture change and elevating the employee experience. By building the capabilities above, learning leaders can set their organizations up for success in 2023 and beyond.