Introducing the 2018 Workplace Learning Report: Talent Development’s New Role in Today’s Economy

February 27, 2018

See LinkedIn's 2018 Workplace Learning Report for talent developers and learning and development pros.

In today’s economy, talent developers are increasingly being asked to play a central role in strategic workforce planning, as learning is at the core of the employee experience and can transform organizational outcomes.

The problem? Widespread best practices for accomplishing those goals have yet to be set. Here are just a few questions many talent developers face today

  • How are savvy talent development leaders adapting to the pace of change in today’s dynamic world of work?
  • Why do employees demand learning and development resources, but don’t make the time to learn?
  • How do executives think about learning and development?
  • Are managers the missing link to successful learning programs?

For answers, look no further than our 2018 Workplace Learning Report, which just went live this morning. For this report, we surveyed more than 4,000 professionals: 1,200 talent development professionals, 2,200 employees, 200 executives and 400 people managers. The report also includes interviews with industry experts who provide a holistic view of modern workplace learning.

Noteworthy findings from the report are that talent developers must:

1. Balance today’s challenges with tomorrow’s opportunities. As the shelf life of skills shrinks, business leaders worry that talent developers are focused on training for today’s skill demands, at the expense of preventing tomorrow’s skill gaps.

Our research shows that in 2018, talent developers are prioritizing the employee development needs of today. Yet, executives and people managers say that talent development leaders should prioritize identifying the skills that will be most important to build for the future. Savvy talent development leaders will find balance in their efforts to support the employees of today and tomorrow.

2. Soften the impact of automation. All parties agree, the number-one priority for talent development in 2018 is training for soft skills.

Each group in our survey – from executives to managers to talent developers – identified ‘training for soft skills’ as the number-one priority for talent development in 2018.  In the age of automation, maintaining technical fluency across roles will be critical, but the pace of change is fueling demand for adaptable employees who are critical thinkers, communicators and leaders.

3. The rise of digital is transforming talent development. Talent developers are depending more on online learning solutions to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse, multi-generational workforce – and there’s no turning back.

Fifty-eight percent of employees prefer opportunities to learn at their own pace, 49 percent prefer to learn at the point of need. Talent developers know that they need to rely on digital learning solutions to cater to varied learning needs. A recent ATD report found that almost 90 percent of companies offer digital learning today. Our survey shows that talent developers depend more on online learning solutions than ever before—not only to deliver content, but to measure learning success.

4. If employees can’t find the time to learn, reduce the friction. Meet them on platforms they are already using with messages that align to their on-the-job needs and professional aspirations.

Each group in our survey identified ‘getting employees to make time for learning’ as the number-one challenge facing talent development in 2018. Yet, 94 percent of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development. The modern organization needs to meet learners where they already are – aligning development opportunities with employee aspirations, and engaging them through the platforms where they are already spending their time.

5. Magnify Your Manager Relationships. Manager involvement is a critical ingredient to increase employee engagement with learning.

Fifty-six percent of employees say that they would spend more time learning if their manager directed them to complete a specific course in order to gain or improve their skills. Talent developers name “increased manager involvement” as the number-two challenge they face. Getting managers more involved in employee learning is not the only way to see increased learner engagement, but data shows it will likely make an impact. For example, 56 percent of employees said they would spend more time learning if their manager recommended courses to them.

And that’s just the beginning. To learn more, including actionable playbooks for solving some of the biggest problems talent developers face today, read our full report.

Click here to read the 2018 Workplace Learning Report, for free.