2020 was a whirlwind. L&D was hard at work helping organizations navigate the coronavirus’ impact on businesses across industries, whether by rolling out a new health and safety course or shifting in-person programs online.

As we begin a new year, we spoke with Tiffany Poeppelman, director of LinkedIn’s business leadership program, and Amy Contreras, head of L&D at Uber Freight, to reflect on the learning trends we saw in 2020 and what to expect in 2021.

Listen to this new episode, sponsored by Kaplan, to learn more on: 

  • The rise of remote learning. 
  • 2020 L&D trends that are here to stay. 
  • The skills leaders need to develop successful teams in 2021.

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The transcript for this episode follows: 

Speaker 1:

Welcome to The Business of Learning, the learning leader’s podcast from Training Industry.

Taryn Oesch DeLong:

Hello, and welcome to The Business of Learning. I’m Taryn Oesch DeLong, Managing Editor of Digital Content at Training Industry.

Sarah Gallo:

And I’m Sarah Gallo, an associate editor at Training Industry. This episode of The Business of Learning is sponsored by Kaplan Performance Academy.

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Taryn Oesch DeLong:

2020 was a whirlwind. L&D was hard at work helping organizations navigate the coronavirus’ impact on businesses across industries, whether by rolling out new health and safety programs or shifting in person training online. As we begin a new year, we’re speaking with Tiffany Poppelman, director of LinkedIn’s business leadership program, and Amy Contreras, head of L&D at Uber Freight, to reflect on the learning trends we saw in 2020 and what to expect in 2021. Tiffany, Amy welcome to the podcast.

Tiffany Poppelman:

Thanks Taryn. Thanks Sarah. Lovely to be here.

Amy Contreras:

Thanks very much. Looking forward to the conversation today.

Sarah Gallo:

Perfect. Well, to get started, why don’t you break down the L&D trends you saw increase in 2020? Tiffany, let’s start with you.

Tiffany Poppelman:

Sure. Absolutely. So L&D trends, 2020 … what a year. A couple of trends I would say that I particularly saw, and Amy I’m excited to hear what you have to say as well, [but[ two things stood out to me. The first, I would say, is that mental health and employee well-being were absolutely critical areas of focus for L&D teams. And I think that expansion really showed how L&D became the strategic linchpin of employee resiliency, agility [and] productivity. I mean, for many of us, and I’m sure those listening can attest, it was a challenging year and [some of] our teams struggled navigating a lot of personal and professional challenges. And so some of us, myself included, became a full-time remote working employee just trying to figure out our work environments and how to be productive. And I think there’s a lot, too, on feeling the weight of the pandemic and the impacts it was having on people around us. And so one thing I noticed in specific examples at LinkedIn, our L&D team was incredible at really standing up sessions to help our teams focus on mindfulness, stress management [and] how to work in a remote world. So it really demonstrated to me just this powerful change agent that L&D has been and can be when it comes to supporting our employees with our mental health and well-being. So that was definitely one that immediately stood out that was wonderful to see. And then I’d say the second is really around employee mobility and how, I don’t know if you ladies observed this, but it just feels like learning has really started becoming a key accelerator for employee mobility inside companies. And so this was already happening pre-COVID, but I think COVID made it a must have and accelerated it faster than we could have predicted. So specifically, I’ll give you an example, one of our customers, Verizon, they had a lot of retail employees [and] when they were faced with store closures in response to COVID, they had to quickly mobilize and figure out how to support employees where they were. And so what they did is the leaders gave very clear trainings and online learnings to help take those brick and mortar employees who were working from home to help contribute to roles like tele-sales and customer service. It was such a beautiful example of how quickly employers are mobilizing to give their employees the best advantage and also to help reskill them. And genuinely, I think the more companies do this moving forward, it’s going to be a huge competitive advantage for them too. So that was definitely another top trend I saw when it came to just helping retain talent and creating employee mobility opportunities.

Sarah Gallo:

That’s great. Amy, do you have anything to add on to that?

Amy Contreras:

Yeah, absolutely. And Tiffany, it’s exciting hearing your responses because some of the things you mentioned around the topics of mental health and well-being and employee mobility are absolutely trends we saw Uber Freight as well. I do think, in addition to those super central themes really coming out of the pandemic, some of the trends that we saw that we’re really excited about, these trends that have kind of come to the forefront in 2020, have been around self-paced and quick hit, just-in-time learning. And it’s been interesting because at Uber Freight, we virtualized 98% of our learning programming in six weeks, which was huge kudos to our learning team at Uber Freight, who just was in a dead sprint to get our employee base equipped to continue learning at home. But one of the places where we just saw engagement skyrocket was more in these self-paced learning environments where it’s much more about that quick hit [learning], not having to step away from the work because that feeling of being overwhelmed, trying to navigate work and home life and kids and burnout and all those pieces, we really saw employees consuming that self-led learning in a deeper way. And, oftentimes going back and reutilizing it as they needed it, which was a trend that we frankly didn’t expect to see such an uptick in, which was very exciting. Another place that we saw [a focus on] was getting deeper into this peer-led learning with leadership and morale, especially. And I think because 2020 was just such an unprecedented time, what we heard over and over again is yes, people are still looking for that guided learning and that more formal learning, but more than ever, people want to hear that they’re not alone in their learning journey, especially as leaders and managers in terms of how to engage employees, how to bring up morale when there are so many other factors outside of just the regular workday that influence the employee’s life. And we’ve seen just huge positive gains around that peer-focused learning, even in this remote environment where people can share what they’re seeing, what they need help with and really coming back to those outcomes. So the self-led learning, [we saw] huge positive gains there [and] especially around leadership, wanting to think with other leaders and drive forward, especially on topics like morale and navigating leadership in this remote environment have been two of our biggest trends we’ve seen at Uber Freight.

Tiffany Poppelman:

That is incredibly powerful, Amy. I just wanted to jump in because what you were observing we were measuring and it was really incredible, we saw on the LinkedIn learning platform, when you talk about peer to peer helping each other and sharing some people probably don’t know, but if you have a LinkedIn learning membership, you actually can share a course for free if there’s something that you want one of your professional context to have, we saw a 255% increase in courses being shared, which was crazy. It was just incredible. So anyway, just wanted to sort of double click on that and say yes, we saw it too, it was happening. And it was powerful. It really was powerful people supporting each other.

Sarah Gallo:

Wonderful. Thank you both for breaking down those trends for us. I know Taryn and I have definitely seen an increase in remote learning and also, like you mentioned, that emphasis on employee well-being and mental health, which is obviously always important but definitely [even more important] in a global pandemic like we’ve seen in this past year. What, if any, of these trends you both see continuing in 2021? Amy, do you want to start us off with this one?

Amy Contreras:

Yeah. Happy to. I mean, being candid, in terms of the examples that I shared, I certainly think [they will be] continuing into 2021, especially as we have the horizon of the vaccine, that potential of what going back into an office may someday look like, in 2021 though, very candidly, Sarah, I do think we are going to continue to see those self-led learning tools be a really critical aspect of our learning strategy. And this is everything from that one pager, we’re continuing to lean really deeply into digital adoption platforms and workflow learning. So surfacing quick hit learning in the flow of the employee’s work, really see that trend continuing. And there’s a lot of momentum just around these alternatives around the self-paced, more curated content as needed. And so I actually think that momentum is really going to continue. Frankly, along with the peer-to-peer learning and sharing, people have run out of the social capital that they had at the start of the pandemic from when we were all in the office. And people continue to require, especially leaders who are struggling with this unique work environment, they need to continue to lean on each other to share those lessons and resources. And I do see both of those continuing to be a strong trend at the very least through 2021, if not beyond, depending on what the future of work looks like for varying companies, as they make their post-pandemic work environment decisions.

Sarah Gallo:

And Tiffany, do you have anything to add on?

Tiffany Poppelman:

Yeah, no, Amy you’re hitting the nail on the head. I definitely love the [idea of] quick hit learning, peer to peer learning, all of the nuggets that you shared. I think the one [trend] I’d probably add is related to reskilling the workforce. And so, as we saw through the pandemic, we had a lot of impacts on people’s jobs, layoffs, furloughs, hiring pauses, not just only in the U.S. but across the world. And so it really became clear where the skills gaps were. And I think that this is something that we have an obligation as an L&D function, as professionals, to really help with filling those gaps.

Taryn Oesch DeLong:

Those are great points, thanks. I think, yeah, 2020 was definitely a game changer for learning and development and for many other things. So with that in mind, how do you both see remote learning in particular impacting the future of learning and development not only this year, but even beyond?

Tiffany Poppelman:

I can jump in, Amy, if you’d like?

Amy Contreras:

Sure.

Tiffany Poppelman:

Alright, yeah. I just was thinking about this one. It’s really interesting, I mean, Amy, you already said it, but online learning, right? We’ve seen massive growth [in online learning] this year, and I think we’re only going to continue to see massive growth in this space and how we blend online learning and virtual learning. And so I think that’s going to be a critical role that L&D can play as we move forward. We’re seeing across every industry companies that are standing up to say, “We’re going to shift a permanent work. We’re going to give our employees more flexibility to work from home full-time or part-time.” And so how, then, we meet these employees where they are means we have to be flexible in where and how we deliver content and teach them and train them and support them. And so there was a lot of unfortunate things that happened this year. One of the silver linings, I think we can all agree on, is that we were all thrown into the deep end; we all had to figure out how to support employees in new ways and do it in a cost-effective, fast approach. So I think online learning is just only getting started in terms of the growth we’ll see in this space, and it was probably good timing. I think it was due to happen, but a couple of data points I thought were really interesting that you ladies may have saw, but in our LinkedIn Learning Report, we saw virtual instructor-led training went up 66% this past year and online learning went up 60%. So these are just massive shifts in the industry and we’re seeing it and feeling it. But I just love when I see the data to support showing that it’s happening.

Amy Contreras:

Tiffany, that is so interesting. I love the LinkedIn Learning Report by the way, it’s one of my favorite industry publications. So I love that you brought that up. But one thing I think you said that was really compelling was about meeting employees where they are in that flexibility piece. And as I think about that future of remote learning, of course, with that increase in virtual instructor-led [training] and online learning, the two words that really stick out to me about that are flexibility, but also curation or customization. And for us, when we think about that future of remote learning, one of the things that really excites us is [that] we’ve actually seen these dynamic channels, things like Slack or G Chat, Degreed, Zoom, whatever tools you use within your organization, have actually built these spaces where more employees can learn from each other. And there’s more flexibility of when and how to learn. So it’s not just the one approach anymore, it’s not just classroom learning. It can be that video, it can be that virtual instructor-led, it can be that peer-to-peer and at all different hours and times of the day because in a global organization, that flexibility is so key. And really seeing these various remote channels level that playing field and create more comfort for participants. Someone who might’ve never raised their hand or spoken up in an in-person training is all of a sudden responding to all these different Slacks and really coming to life in a breakout room which really has, I think, opened up the playing field for learning, specifically in terms of how remote learning impacts the future of L&D, things like just [having] more options. When you have only a single person delivering a training in person in this specific room, the logistical challenges, the laundry list of things that can happen is really long. But all of a sudden, we can open up scope, we can share recordings, we can do more engagement without having this huge, additional logistical lift, which is really powerful. And there’s also this great space to customize the content for the unique learners. Coming back to what you said, Tiffany, about meeting the learners where they are, taking a high level topic but curating it for the different audiences in a way that is most relevant to their roles and to their future impact on the business. So that flexibility and customization component [is key], but also just really leaning into the tools that enables remote learning to level that playing field.

Taryn Oesch DeLong:

I love those examples, Amy, so powerful, especially the different examples of how learners are showing up differently in environments that are probably more comfortable. So I just love it, [what a] great example. That’s really great. And we at Training Industry have done some research and found that the more modalities you offer training in, the more learners you reach … and so the more impactful your learning can be. That’s a great point that these virtual platforms really enable organizations to do just that. So with that in mind, are there any specific delivery methods that you predict will take center stage this year?

Amy Contreras:

Yeah, so as we think about the delivery methods, and I’ll speak to Uber Freight specifically, but then highlight how I think this will play out in the broader learning and development space, especially as we continue to work remotely, for sure in 2021, if not beyond that. Self-paced learning [will be a] really big piece of it. But also as we think about that peer to peer, really leaning into buddy programs and mentorship programs for delivery methods. A way that we talk about this at Uber Freight is “each one teach one.” So every person who has a nugget of knowledge is responsible for sharing that and creating less of that formal, must be in the classroom, must be pulled off the floor, must be online at this time, and much more of that, these are the things that we’re asking you to learn to either invest in yourself or to equip yourself to do your role well and give that flexibility of when and where and how you choose to consume the content. So the multimodal learning, that self paced, the buddy to buddy, peer to peer approaches. And then at the end of the day, really diving into workload learning wherever possible. So instead of asking our employees to step away from their core responsibility, whatever that is, whether it’s sales or customer service, or engaging with vendors, allowing them to learn where they live in their day to day [lives]. And so that’s especially important during this remote environment where people are already feeling pulled in a million different directions and bringing learning to the learners so that they’re not having to go seek it out and go on a journey, I think are some of the ones that we really see strongly playing out at Uber Freight. And that as we think about other industries who have had to change their approaches really heavily engaging into those creative methods of learning, especially while we stay remote.

Tiffany Poppelman:

I love it, Amy. I love the “each one teach one” [philosophy]. That’s so clever. I may have to leverage that with my team.

Amy Contreras:

Please do.

Tiffany Poppelman:

Yeah, for sure. Hopefully all of the listeners are going to leverage that. That’s a good one. Amy, all great examples. Honestly, when I think about what will take center stage for me, I’ll go on the peer-to-peer [learning] side, Amy, that you discussed. I think the social learning that we’ve seen will easily be what I predict will take center stage. I’m with you on that one, and I’ll also add a little bit to it. When I talk about social learning, it’s like online learning groups, Q&A, and just how we get content to our teams with other people. So there is a learner to learner, but I think it’s more multifaceted than that. I think when we talk about community-based learning, it’s really having learners being connected to experts, their colleagues, their network, we are truly allowing them to get in touch with their instructors and other people very quickly. And given that we’re in a time of social distance, we’re all craving more human connection right now. And so I think the more we can do as L&D professionals are in this industry, it’s creating ways for people to learn from each other with each other and connect online will be incredibly important and powerful because it’s just a great method in itself.

Sarah Gallo:

Thanks for those examples, both of you. I think, especially when a lot of people have been working remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, we’ve definitely leaned on those social collaboration tools to both learn from our social networks and also just to stay connected with everyone during an isolating time. Alright. So with that in mind, now that we know some of the delivery methods we should be looking out for, do you have any tips for learning leaders who could adopt new delivery methods in the new year?

Tiffany Poppelman:

Definitely. When I think about anyone that’s listening, if you are adopting new delivery methods right now, I think two tips that come top of mind for me first is when it comes to mixing online and in-person training formats, I’d be really, really mindful not to mix them. I think it’s just always best if you can leave those formats to be consistent for everyone, for your learners. And so when organizations and companies start to shift back to in-person, we’ve been working where a lot of companies, it’s 100% online 100% virtual. I would really encourage not shifting to mix those two but keep them separate. So that’s one. The second I would say is, and this is really not anything to do with COVID, [as] it was happening before COVID it’ll come after COVID, is just how do we drive engagement? So I think then from a psychology perspective, it’s really like, how do you keep your learners guessing? So whether it be a new onboarding and creating pre- and post-work and learning champions, gamifying, all these things we know work really well, all the rules still apply even in a virtual setting. So I would say keep an eye on all the tools and technology shifts that are happening in the industry. And I know at Training Industry, you guys do a phenomenal job highlighting the top leading vendors; you make our lives easy [and] you produce that content for us. So how can we try out new tools to keep our learners guessing? And I think that’s going to remain as important as it’s always been in the future.

Amy Contreras:

Tiffany, that’s such helpful tips. And especially around that engagement piece. Engagement’s hard whether or not we’re in the middle of a global pandemic when it comes to lots of roles in learning and development, especially. But I think both of those tips are super relevant. One other addition I might make to your tips that, again, to the point you made before that this was a pre-COVID item that’s super critical and will be a super critical recommendation long after, but when it comes to being a learning leader, and as we think about trying to adopt new methods or new technologies, change management can just be a brutal process, especially when the organizations we’re working with by and large have a lot of burnout in them just due to the nature of 2020. But my recommendation around adopting new delivery methods really actually starts with aggressive and intentional partnerships with the leadership teams at your place of business or at your organization. And really as a learning leader, before going down that path of, what are the new delivery methods or what are the new tools or tech I want to bring in to hit these things, really intentionally aligning on [the most important business objectives]. Which [business objectives] are most relevant to the learning roadmap? Reflecting with leaders on what learning and development can and cannot influence and positioning you and your team as partners, really there for the whole employee journey, and making yourself available to leaders and managers, and really focusing in on that enablement piece [will be critical]. And if and when you align with your leadership on what should be the top priorities and on the spaces that L&D really can influence, then as you pick tools that will best help those specific priorities move across the finish line, again, coming back to that partnership mentality, to create evangelists for your tool to help with the change management process of whatever new delivery method you utilize. And I’ll give you an example of how we’ve done this at Uber Freight. Uber globally implemented Degreed this year, which is a learning experience platform. We actually have access to LinkedIn Learning through Degreed. It’s a wonderful resource for our learning population. But what we had to do because we saw at the beginning that the uptick was really quite slow because it was one more thing. And even though Degreed has all these incredible resources such as LinkedIn Learning for our organization, we weren’t seeing the adoption. What we did was we set out to create a team of evangelists, people who would get other folks on the tool, people who would share resources within the tool, people who would bring it up in their team meetings. And as we’ve done that, we’ve seen this incredible uptake in participation and engagement in this resource. And same thing with other delivery methods. If you want to convert to a self-registration process where you’re virtual instructor-led, but it’s new and different and people aren’t getting it, having that group of partners from the business who can evangelize for you to really drive that new delivery method forward I think is just a critical tactic that any learning leader needs to take.

Taryn Oesch DeLong:

Thanks to you both. Those are great tips and Tiffany, thanks for mentioning our Top 20 vendor lists. We’ll definitely link to those in the show notes. Alright. So we’ve discussed lots of trends from last year and [ones] looking toward this year. So with those trends in mind, what skills do leaders need to set up the organization for success this year? And how can learning and development help them develop those skills?

Amy Contreras:

I’m happy to hop in on this one, Taryn, and gosh, it’s a big question, but I think if we were to narrow down on really what is going to be at the crux of setting leaders up for success for their organizations in 2021, it starts with communication and communication is always key whether not we’re in a pandemic or whether or not we’re working remotely, but really helping business leaders and managers especially instill a culture of transparency, which also leads to collaboration, better feedback to really break down silos in 2021 and beyond. And really, you can think about equipping business leaders and managers by starting by playing into their strengths, thinking about how people like communicating and what types of communication methods folks are already strong at. So whether that’s written feedback while others prefer to talk it out, really L&D can play a role in that by engaging and enabling managers through learning resources, coaching and again, peer-led roundtables sharing resources and approaches but then also helping leaders understand the role that communication plays in change management. And 2020 has really been an exercise in change management for organizations all over the world and we will continue to have to navigate that. So as we think about setting organizations up for success, coming back to focusing in with leaders on communication, what matters most, how people receive communication and the role that plays and navigating change and uncertainty. And there are so many resources out there, of course, both in terms of on this call, we’ve got all the resources that you have through Training Industry, there are some great classes, I’ve even had a couple of my managers take those. LinkedIn Learning is another tool. But any organization who has a manager group really focusing in on what communication looks like during times of change, uncertainty and how to lead the business forward, holding onto a vision using communication.

Tiffany Poppelman:

I love those, Amy. I think I agree with everything you said wholeheartedly, especially one of the areas you really tugged on for me was engaging and enabling our managers. When I think about how L&D can enable what you just described, I think it really comes down to the continuous activation of our managers to inspire our teams to not only help them learn but invest in their well-being, right? So I think managers have always been and will continue to be change agents for companies and L&D and critical partners. So I think we just have to continue investing in them and their skills. To your point, Amy, it’s about communication skills. It’s about change management skills; it’s the leading through turbulent times, which does not come easy, right? [It’s having] resilience. So I think that’s something that I personally seen at LinkedIn. We’ve done an incredible job [at developing our leaders], and I’m extremely grateful for the investments we continue to make in our teams and our managers. And I think that’s the area I would encourage any leader to be successful in 2020, it’s just keep investing in your managers, keep investing in creating change agents out of them because that’s really, I think, where we’ll see the most success.

Sarah Gallo:

Great. I love that you referred to L&D professionals as change agents, Tiffany, I think we really seen in 2020 L&Ds role in being really just such a critical business asset in leading organizations through change. Amy, you mentioned alignment earlier. What advice do you have for creating and delivering impactful business align training programs in 2020?

Amy Contreras:

Yeah, this is something that I’m really passionate about Sarah. So I’m happy to answer the question. It really starts with the senior leadership partnerships, so making sure that you are connected and communicating on a regular basis with the business. And that means too, as a learning and development leader, stepping into spaces that might be less comfortable for you in terms of the business knowledge, metrics and priorities. And I’ll give an example of what this might look like at a company like Uber Freight. We are constantly launching new products all the time. Obviously, Uber Freight is part of Uber, and we’re a tech company. So we’re constantly releasing new tools both internally and externally. And so technical learning can become really overwhelming when the roadmap is constantly rolling out new products. So what we have to do is as an L&D team, we have to work hand in hand with our product teams. And that includes having ongoing one-on-ones with the senior product leadership attending team meetings, being tagged in on the roadmap. And we are tagged in sooner rather than later because that allows us to build our roadmap with the business. And sometimes what I’ve seen from working at other companies and even to talking to other peers in the learning space, is that L&D can feel like they have a hard time getting access to those items. And when we explain sometimes repeatedly why it matters that L&D is looped in earlier and often, and then showing the results of the outcome of what a training looks like when L&D is tagged in from the beginning versus at the very end, that is how you continue to get that buy-in from the leadership. And so when it comes to really getting that alignment, I can’t stress enough the recommendation that L&D asks for that seat at the table. And if they get declined, keep asking. It’s not a one and done question but making sure that as you work with your various stakeholders and subject matter experts in whatever business organization you’re in, that you come back to why it matters that L&D is aware of the things that are coming down the pipeline or aware of the roadmap or aware of the business priorities. Because when we do those things, our roadmaps can serve those priorities directly and ultimately create bigger return on investment for the business and bigger shifts in behaviors for the employees who are ultimately responsible for delivering the output of whatever your business is trying to achieve. So I think if I could stress anything, it would be keep banging on that door for a seat at the table and being looped in on those priorities early on and often.

Tiffany Poppelman:

I love that, Amy, and I just want to bring in an interesting finding recently on having champions at the executive table. In our recent report, we noticed there’s 159% increase in CEOs championing learning. So it’s great that I think we’re seeing that we’re getting that seat more often and especially during COVID, it became so apparent how critical and important the L&D function is. So it’s great, everything you said I completely agree with, and it’s great we’re seeing that momentum already. And that, to your point, we have to keep beating on that door or that table, right? Or we don’t have a seat at table or chair, like when I always say that, just being the chair with you. But yeah, love those points. The only thing I would add around creating and delivering impactful programs and Amy, I think we’ve already touched on this but just reinforcing, building in the social learning, right? So really making sure we find best practices and ways to get people and employees engaged with each other. And then I would say, keep content short and impactful, right? We like short and sweet. A lot of folks can attest that Zoom fatigue is real right now, and so we have to be really careful with how we use our time and not exceed excessive amounts of hours spent on online channels but rather finding quick bursts of content and ways to get people the information they need at the right time. So I think that’s going to become more important as well as we shift word.

Amy Contreras:

Yeah. And Tiffany, it’s funny that you say those short bursts of content. One thing we’re experimenting with right now is TikTok-style learning where it is 30 seconds or less hyper-specific and it’s been really popular and really well received. So obviously 30 seconds doesn’t work for all types of training, but I couldn’t echo more that quick hit burst learning has been really highly engaging for our learning population, especially in the last couple of months.

Tiffany Poppelman:

I love that, TikTok training learning challenge, 30 seconds. Can you deliver a nugget? It feels like a really healthy exercise where people to say, “Can you succinctly tell us what we need to know in a short TikTok fashion?” I really love that, Amy, please share examples if you don’t mind.

Amy Contreras:

Yeah. Happy to, we’ve got some fun ones.

Taryn Oesch DeLong:

That does sound like a fun way to engage learners.

Sarah Gallo:

All right. Well, before we wrap up, are there any other best practices or tips that you would like to leave our listeners with before the end of the episode?

Amy Contreras:

I don’t know if this is necessarily a best practice but more of a tip and a mindset moving forward. I think we all, in 2020 especially, learned about the power of resilience through just an incredibly challenging year, but I would advise all learning leaders to keep agility front of mind for themselves and for their teams. We are not at the end of this change cycle. There’s more coming, who knows what it will look like. And we tend to hold tight to the things that are familiar. And I would just encourage that ability to remain flexible, remain agile as the world continues to evolve as business priorities continue to shift. Similar to how many companies quickly sprinted to work from home in 2020, many companies may sprint back to being in an office in 2021 and they’ll require our learning teams to shift quickly and accordingly. And so I’d say keeping agility and that flexibility front of mind and still planning but planning with the knowledge that change is absolutely going to come and that there’s probably going to be more surprises that pop up in 2021. [That] will set you and your learning teams up for success in a deeper way than rigid roadmaps and timelines might otherwise do.

Tiffany Poppelman:

Amy, were saying we can expect more change ahead that we need to be prepared for?

Amy Contreras:

I mean, I hope not … I hope I’m wrong. But I think 2021 is still going to serve up a couple more nuggets of what does the future will look like, especially as companies navigate how they’re going to come out of the pandemic.

Tiffany Poppelman:

You bet. Absolutely. I think so many folks, even on my team, myself, we’ve all built a stronger muscle around resilience and change, and it’s been great. I think we all will be better in the future because of this. We’ll take the silver linings. I’m going to end on that positive note. But one thing I was going to call out, Amy, love your points, couldn’t agree more. I would offer just something for Taryn and Sarah for the audiences is just thinking about a trend that I think we need to be prepared for. So when I look at the hiring and other types of efforts that we’re thinking about for BLP or for other companies I’ve spoken with, hiring employees will continue to focus more on the skills learned than their previous positions or whatever formal education they’ve received. So I think the effects of the pandemic really did ripple through the workforce and they shook up the labor market, meaning people are looking for new jobs and companies are now starting to look at well, how can I look at what they maybe learned, the skills learned as opposed to some job they’ve done or some education or degree.  And so with that shift in hiring, we all know what happens. That will be a shift onto our L&D teams as well. So I think learning leaders need to be prepared for still having that agility and adaptability to Amy just talked about, but like, how do we develop the different talent? How do we prepare our companies to make that shift? So just want to kind of say, I think 2020 really reinforced the importance of adaptability and I think the companies who figure out how to take a skills-based approach to hiring will remain competitive and have the edge. So that’s just something I wanted to call out that’s been really interesting to see in the industry.

Sarah Gallo:

Perfect. Thank you both for those tips, Tiffany, I love that you mentioned that companies will value employee skills more than maybe just a job they had in the past. And I think we’ll definitely see more employers, not only this year, but in the future of work, continue to place an increased value on certifications and bootcamps and things like that. So I think for L&D, it’s definitely great to see that employers are recognizing those skills. Alright. Well, for now that concludes this episode of The business of learning. Amy, Tiffany, thank you both so much for speaking with us today.

Tiffany Poppelman:

Yeah. Thank you. Thanks Taryn. Thanks Sarah, Amy, it was a pleasure, really loved all the points and I’ll look to connect with you on LinkedIn.

Amy Contreras:

Yes. Thank you so much, Sarah and Taryn for hosting us, Tiffany, it was so fun hearing your perspectives and chatting back and forth. It was very educational for me as well so excited that we got this opportunity today.

Taryn Oesch DeLong:

Great. For more resources and best practices, check out the show notes for this episode at trainingindustry.com/trainingindustrypodcast.

Sarah Gallo:

And if you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to rate and review us on your favorite podcast app.

Taryn:

Until next time!

Speaker 1:

If you have feedback about this episode,

or would like to suggest a topic for a future program, email us atinfo@trainingindustry.com or use the contact us page at trainingindustry.com. Thanks for listening to the Training Industry podcast.

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