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Key corporate training trends to apply in 2023

  • 5 Min Read

Creating a business that can prosper in the face of growing global uncertainties requires a fresh approach to employee training, explains Bill O’Shea, VP, EMEA at Udemy

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Bill O’Shea, Udemy

2022 was a year of fundamental change for many employees with people finally beginning to adapt to a revised, hybrid way of working. Unfortunately, a new wave of global uncertainties has started to take hold and as a result businesses and employees worldwide are once again being forced to adjust.

Organisations of all sizes are therefore approaching 2023 with caution and a renewed commitment to prioritise the development of their workforce to remain agile and competitive. This is critical to help companies keep pace with innovation during a time of widespread hiring freezes and redundancies. This not only helps address skills gaps, it also builds and maintains employee engagement and productivity. 

So if learning and development are key to success in 2023, then what strategies should companies consider implementing? Udemy’s newly released 2023 Workplace Learning Trends Report identifies three key focus areas that will be essential for organisations over the coming year: culture, agility and delivery.

Create a culture that reinforces learning

Building skills to broaden knowledge and expertise should be ongoing but to maximise its benefits employers need to create an ethos that reinforces the importance of flexible and continuous skills development. To create the right learning culture, there are three main things to consider:

  • First, assess whether your values are embedded in core HR processes. Integrating them into key activities, such as hiring, onboarding and talent management, will create opportunities for increased cultural reinforcement.
  • Before starting employees on a training programme, map out the skills you’d like them to learn and how those skills map to the strategy and culture. It’s critical that managers discuss what types of support they need to maximise the benefits.
  • Each employee learns differently, so ensure your organisation has deployed the right learning platforms that can be personalised to meet what they need as well. 

Recent research suggests that 70% of employees worldwide have recently contemplated a career change. Deploying the three-step approach above could prompt these people to instead learn new skills and advance their careers with current employers.

The benefits of innovation and training 

Even before the pandemic, finding the right talent to help keep pace with the speed of innovation was a challenge. The past two years have intensified that need as the pandemic accelerated most companies’ digital migration. As a result, many organisations are faced with a major problem – how to improve business agility to keep up with digital transformation despite job and budget cuts.

The good news is, it can be done. If we look back at the 2009 financial crisis, organisations that continued to prioritise innovation outperformed the market by an average of 30%. The key is to turn enforced change into an opportunity. Adapting new skills during times of upheaval helps employees and organisations come out ahead of the competition. At Udemy, we saw a 49% annual increase in the amount of time Udemy Business customers spent learning technical skills in 2022, a number we expect to increase this year. 

Here’s three tips to help make an organisation more agile:

  • When organisations and employees are clear about their role and responsibilities, work gets done faster and more effectively.
  • Organisations have become increasingly focused on cross-functional global objectives, which has lengthened the decision-making process. To help tackle this, it’s important to identify stakeholders at the beginning of a major project and refresh this list as priorities shift.
  • Finally, regularly review the effectiveness of communication across teams. These simple but important practices help organisations increase their workforce agility without burning out employees.

Get the most out of learning

Effective learning is grounded in context, preference and the situation. It is therefore essential for organisations to provide a mix of training styles, both online and in-person, to ensure employees have access to the learning modalities they need. 

Here are some things to keep in mind to embed and promote learning as part of the company culture:

  • Employees need to be guided toward the learning methods best suited for their needs. To do this successfully, managers need to sit down with staff to map out a learning path aligned with their short- and long-term goals and that offers opportunities to practise new skills in their daily work.
  • When developing learning paths, ensuring employees use a mix of methods with an emphasis on applied learning as real-world context is a powerful way to reinforce employee development. 
  • Finally, group learning is often the most beneficial for developing leadership skills. A recent study led by The Conference Board identified that an online team leadership development programme can deliver higher returns than the traditional in-person approach.

The number of skills required for a single job is increasing by 10% year-on-year. Workplace cultures will need to reflect this upward trend if learning and skills development programmes are to deliver the results required to get through today’s challenges and also build a strong foundation for future success.

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