New technologies, the COVID-19 pandemic and the hybrid workplace environment have dramatically altered enterprise learning and development (L&D) over the past two years.  But is the transformation completed?

The remote workplace phenomenon has necessitated a makeover of the teaching of fundamental organizational concepts such as team building, communication, mentoring and others. The sequestered workplace of the pandemic drove change in L&D form, content and delivery. L&D had to be quickly re-concepted in order to accommodate the so-called “new normal”.

Another pandemic-influenced phenomenon, The Great Resignation, gave rise to the “generic job,” where the remote workplace environment made many employees feel disconnected from career satisfaction and corporate culture, leading to disloyalty and turnover. Studies show that L&D was and is one of the most powerful catalysts for keeping employees loyal and connected.

Now, as we emerge post-pandemic, is the “new normal” about to change again? As the remote workplace of the pandemic evolves into a hybrid one, will L&D transform yet again? Building upon the pandemic’s L&D paradigm as a foundation, the L&D program of the future will be the one that adapts itself to the hybrid workplace culture, while delivering results within the context of the corporate mission.

Consider these four key influences on enterprise L&D’s evolution post-pandemic:

1) The work from home mindset is still dominant even in the emergent hybrid work environment. This mindset leads to employees wanting a greater role in managing their own time because they have gotten used to more independence.  Even when working in the office itself, future accessibility to L&D will need to be more flexible, such that engagement and even some course selection, will take place according to the employee’s own direction.

2) The continuing influence of social media and that medium’s short attention span will lead to shorter learning sessions. Video will supplant live learning sessions. Legacy lesson plans will need to be broken down into a number of components delivered in brief video presentations.

3) The influence of The Great Resignation will make companies work harder to make each employee feel valued and connected to the enterprise. L&D will help make this happen with the creation of individualized programs, in collaboration with an assigned L&D professional, to guide each employee along their own customized career and learning path.

4) The influence of The Great Resignation will also enhance the value and priority of L&D as an employee benefit, to be branded as an exceptional and exclusive benefit from that company. To strengthen its perceived value in the eyes of employees, the value message to them will be more personalized such that they will appreciate L&D’s impact on their lives and careers because they will have available more options for self-improvement.

This evolution of L&D will likely provide a number of valuable benefits for the enterprise, including:

  • Improving employee satisfaction with their jobs will result in lower employee turnover.
  • Improving efficiency, because L&D and be delivered to a wider geography more easily.
  • Improving cost savings, from less need for L&D travel and facilities.
  • Improving return on investment (ROI) analysis from easier digital compilation of usage and testing data, providing results to leadership that reinforce L&D’s value to the enterprise.

As disruptive as the pandemic has been, it has shown corporate leadership the value of prioritizing L&D because of the degree it contributes to the long-term success of the enterprise.

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