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Organizations are struggling to keep pace with the new skills needed in their workforces, thanks to large-scale trends such as the shift to digital business models and the increased adoption of workplace automation, AI, and advanced analytics. The pandemic accelerated those trends, putting an increased premium on learning and development (L&D) as a means of equipping companies to handle both long-term challenges and short-term crises.
To understand the implications of these changes, we recently engaged in more than 60 in-depth conversations with CEOs, chief human resources officers, chief learning officers, chief operating officers, and other senior HR and business leaders across six countries. We supplemented that research through surveys of more than 250 professionals worldwide about their approaches to L&D. The results show that relatively few organizations had strong L&D programs in place before the pandemic.
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Those companies offer a model of how learning and development makes companies more responsive and agile. In studying their practices, we identified seven core principles that other companies can implement to improve their L&D efforts and equip themselves to thrive in both the short and long terms.
The Case for Investments in L&D
We conducted our quantitative survey in 2019 and found that few organizations had a strategic, forward-looking approach to L&D. Only 4 in 10 respondents to our survey identified preparing for the future as a high or top priority for their organization, and only 30% of respondents were confident in their ability to meet future skill needs.
Before COVID-19, technology was already changing employee and customer behaviors in dramatic ways, but the pace has now increased.
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