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Flashback to when Leo won his first Oscar, Pokemon GO was a thing and when we started HowNow. These three phenomenons are completely unconnected but they did happen in the same year.

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‍The moral of the movie would be better learning builds a better world. Coming soon to a screen near you.

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Want to build a better workplace in 2024?

Of course you do, that’s why you’re here!

And to do so, you’ll need to overcome some big challenges and tap into the latest trends…

📈 People want to stay and grow, but a lack of development is driving them out the door.

😟 Employee stress is at a record high and there’s ways to tackle that.

🤝 Bringing intentionality to our productivity and flexibility approaches is a must.

Everything you’re about to read taps into 2023 data, empowering your decision-making without wading through reports! 

So, strap in, because we’ve got some scary numbers and honest conversations in these 2024 workplace trends and the future of work.

1. People are leaving companies because they’re not learning, but they’d prefer to stay and grow

What a sad state of affairs…

At a time when people really don’t want to leave companies, most aren’t giving them the biggest motivator to stay.

🌱 Growth 🌱

LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report shows the big five factors people consider when pursuing new roles, and three of them come back to development.

Offering progression and purpose retains your best people. (Source: LinkedIn).

And what pushes them to this point? Not getting it in their current role!

Three in four employees told Betterworks they’d prefer to advance at their current company in the 2023 Global HR Research Report

This screenshot from the report sums it up personally!

People aren’t feeling vulnerable to outside offers but there’s a huge priority shift towards growing inside the business - hence why it's one of our 2024 workplace trends.

People don't want to leave, but they do want to grow! (Source: Betterworks).

Good news? We’re coming back to these numbers and tackling career path and performance conversations later.

But here are three things you can start doing today to develop people more effectively.

1. Connect people’s goals and roles to business priorities

People want roles with purpose, so if the tasks they’re doing or skills they’re building don't feel like they’re for the sake of it, you’ll tick that box.

And when the company reaches that goal, there’s a tangible story about their part in the journey.

2. Build skills profiles and close skills gaps

If you know the company’s goals, you can work out the skills needed. If you measure the skills you currently have, you’ll know the gap between the two.

And then you can give people meaningful development by upskilling them in areas that are truly needed and have impact.

3. Bring learning to the flow of work

Too many people feel disconnected from their company’s L&D offering. It either drags them out of the workflow to do something or pushes out content to them when it’s not relevant - both make learning feel like an interruption.

Work out the problems people face day to day and where they face them, then bring learning to them in formats they can find and apply in those situations.

Learning that's useful and applicable in typical work environments and the tools or situations people typically encounter also build credibility around learning.

2. Employee stress is affecting engagement and retention

Employee engagement has never been higher!

Or at least it’s at its highest since Gallup started measuring it in 2009.

23% said they were engaged in the latest Gallup State of the Global Workplace Report.

So, we’re popping the champagne, right?

Not quite, one metric doesn’t make a summer, and there are worrying signs when we dig a little deeper…

Daily stress and quiet quitting are also on the rise

Employee stress also reached an equal record high in 2022.

😰 44% said they’d felt stress A LOT the previous day, on par with 2021 levels.

😞 And 59% described themselves as quiet quitting.

That teaches us that we can’t get hung up on a single metric or take every workplace trend at face value.

And it's a reminder that engagement doesn’t always mean happiness.

It’s also reinforces that one emotion often influences another, as you’ll see from the two charts below.

Engagement influences employees in other ways. (Source: Gallup).

People’s engagement was influenced by their stress levels, and their stress or engagement level influences how likely they are to seek new roles.

And with 51% actively watching or applying for new roles, keep two things in mind:

☝️ Try to drive engagement but always make sure it’s channeled in the right way!

Someone might be really engaged in their job but at the expense of wellbeing and work-life balance.

✌️ Ensure you have the feedback mechanisms to capture stress and the causes, then try to make small daily changes that lower them and improve your culture.

3. Productivity, flexibility, fairness and happiness are key pillars of employee experience, but the balance has to be right

Like all things in life, employee happiness is all about balance!

Yes, they want flexibility in how and where they work, but recognise some things are best done in collaboration.

And of course they want to be productive, but this shouldn’t be at the expense of employee happiness.

Productivity culture is piling on employee pressure

Let’s take these two productivity numbers from Slack’s The State of Work in 2023 report:

Productivity culture and the option to always be online in some way are clearly pressuring some people.

To the extent that they’ll probably have a worse work-life balance and potentially poor mental health.

We need flexibility with the guard rails up

Slack’s report also revealed that 52% of employees say a flexible work schedule is the best way when it comes to productivity, however:

“The issue is far more nuanced than giving people free rein over their schedules and specific working locations. The key is to create workplace policies with intention. 

"Is it useful to be in the office when no one else on your team is there? Are there certain tasks that benefit from an office setting?”

And employees are self-aware enough to know this! Just look at the numbers below:

Productivity is a complicated subject that needs clear guidance. (Source: Slack).

Brainstorming and collaboration are still viewed as a positive in-person activity, while they also recognise it’s sometimes just a case of being available at the same time as those you work with - not necessarily being there with them in person.

The good news is that, according to a recent survey of 1,000 UK employees by Lattice and YouGov, almost 50% of employers are delivering flexibility.

Whether or not they’re following Slack’s advice of being intentional with it is a grey area, but that’s something we can all aim for as we tackle these 2024 workplace trends.

4. People don’t want to leave, but they need the right reason to stay

No point sugar-coating this one…

There seems to be a significant gap between what keeps people at companies and what companies are offering.

Here's a reminder of the numbers we shared earlier, before we unpack what all this means.

Only 9% of people said they were vulnerable to poaching in 2023, down from 22% in 2022.

While the likelihood of leaving’s gone down, the value of purpose and career goals has gone up

According to Betterworks’ 2023 Global HR Research Report pay, company culture and flexibility were high in importance, but career goals and purpose saw the highest-growth on 2022 numbers - jumping by 15%!

Development saw the most growth in employee priorities. (Source: Betterworks)

And the rest of the report is a goldmine for numbers around what’ll get your best people to stay.

It was essentially beating us over the head with a big inflatable hammer that says:

People want to stay and grow at your company - give them learning and development opportunities.

  • Three in four employees would prefer to advance at their current company.
  • While 61% cited pay and benefits as a key reason to stay, 41% named career growth.

Where are people teams currently falling short?

Access! The career conversations and paths to progress just don’t seem to be there right now.

Only 48% see a path for advancement in their current company, and a similar number (46%) feel supported in their career aspirations.

And it could be a case of what HR and people teams are choosing to prioritise.

Coming back to that Lattice and YouGov research - the report that asked which benefits were offered by employers - which showed that while flexible working, wellbeing support and bonuses were high up the list...

Development opportunities, pathways and conversations propped up the list - something we need to do as we tackle our 2024 workplace trends.

Career growth and development aren't frequently offered. (Source: Lattice).

Now that we’ve given people flexibility and support for the things outside their role, we have to shift focus to their career goals.

Especially in a period of talent shortage, where hiring skills externally becomes more expensive and less sustainable. Building skills from within and setting people on purposeful career paths go hand in hand.

5. Revamping performance reviews and management could drive trust and engagement

Here’s the issue in just 32 words:

“Only 1 in 3 employees say the performance management review helps them perform better… And employees who have confidence in their performance management review process have much higher trust in their organisations.” - Betterworks: 2023 Global HR Research Report: The State of Performance Enablement

Trust in performance reviews and management has hit rock bottom:

  • 37% of workers said performance management is an outright failure in their company.
  • And 64% view their performance review process as always or sometimes a waste.

But when you hit a low, the only way is up!

So we’re reframing this to a positive: How do we rebuild performance so it works and people love it in 2024 and beyond?

This is how performance management should be done now

The goal is to gear employees towards adding maximum value.

The foundation should be our review process.

And the problem is often a lack of structure or people trying to do too much in those sessions.

In a fast-changing world, there are five simple, universal questions you can use:

1. What does success look like for our team and company?

2. How does our employee contribute to that goal every day?

3. Which skills and knowledge would they need to do that?

4. Do they have it, and to what extent?

5. How are we measuring progress towards those skills and goals?

Congratulations, you’re not only driving the conversations towards impact, you’re creating consistency and transparency.

Something that’s missing right now and undermining people’s trust in performance reviews.

😰 Only 1 in 3 employees view their performance reviews process as fair and equitable! 

And feelings of belonging are up to 60 percentage points higher when people see their reviews as fair and equitable.

Fair performance reviews are crucial. (Source: Betterworks)

The answer is not simply adding in more check-ins

Ever heard of the idea of scaling your problems?

An example would be hearing your company doesn’t have a good feedback culture and just adding in more surveys.

But that won’t work if we’ve not given people the skills of giving clear feedback and being open to constructive criticism.

Instead, the wrong thing is just happening more often.

In a world where the current performance review process is the problem, more of the same is more of the stuff people don’t like.

So the answer comes in enabling managers to build out the right framework and skills, and here’s where Betterworks discovered they need help:

Enable managers, drive better performance reviews. (Source: Betterworks).

Rounding up these five 2024 workplace trends with actions you can start taking today.

Let’s recap these top five 2024 workplace trends and give you the gist of where good action starts and strong improvements follow.

1. People who don’t learn leave companies: They want challenging work that develops them and has purpose. So try connecting people’s goals to business priorities, building skills profiles that help close skills gaps and delivering learning in the flow of work.

2. Employee stress is at an all-time high: And with more than half of employees describing themselves as quiet quitting, it’s time to gauge how and why this might be a problem in your organisation.

3. People want productivity and flexibility with the guardrails up: There’s a pressure to always be on that needs addressing, meanwhile employees recognise certain environments work best for different tasks - so provide flexibility but with intentionality to support it.

4. Just 9% believe they’re vulnerable to poaching: And the biggest reason they stay is career development and progress, the trouble is that many companies don’t do this well enough. It’s time for an honest assessment of your development offering.

5. Performance reviews and management are lacking trust and engagement: Which you can tackle by gearing conversations towards performance and creating a sense of consistency in how each employee accesses these types of conversation.

Workplace Trends 2024: HR & People Teams, You Need To See This

From ensuring productivity doesn't pressure people to always be on to creating clearer career paths, there are a few workplace trends people teams needs to address in 2024.
Sep 12
5 min read

2024’s looking like a big year for HR pros!

You ready? If not, it’s time to get ready because…

😞 People have lost faith in performance reviews.

🤷 HR teams have built hiring skills for the last 12 months, but we’re now in a talent shortage.

📈 Engagement’s high, but it’s not what it seems, and career conversations don’t happen enough (but more of them isn’t the answer either).

Oh, and to top it off, we’ve got a cost of living crisis that really needs a human touch, empathy and a healthy dose of HR magic.

Good news? These are all solvable problems, and this deep dive into 2024 HR trends will give you all the context to go away and work it all out in your business.

1. HR to harness the power of employee engagement to reduce stress, quiet quitting and turnover levels.

Our employee engagement score is on the rise 🥳 job done, right? 

Not quite!

It’s an easy pitfall for companies to fall into, and one the latest Gallup State of the Global Workplace Report could have the whole industry slipping into if we’re not careful - hence why it’s here as a HR trend for 2024.

23% of employees were engaged at work, the highest level since they started measuring it in 2009.

However, employee engagement is like that duck gliding across the water.

Everything looks calm, but below the surface, a struggle is definitely at play…

The struggle: Engagement’s high but so is stress and desire to quit

If we stop at engagement, we can give ourselves a nice big pat on the back.

But we don’t solve the other problems affecting our people. 

And if you’re reading these 2024 HR trends, you’re probably looking to go beyond the bare minimum!

  • 44% of employees surveyed said they’d felt stress A LOT during the previous day. Equal with 2021’s peak, and before 2020 (43%), that number had never gone into the 40s.
  • 59% describe themselves as quiet quitting, with 23% thriving and 18% loudly quitting.
  • More than half (51%) of employees expressed some level of intent to leave their job.

The big lesson here is that engagement isn’t happiness.

Engagement isn’t productivity.

It isn’t even enough to get people to stick around.

The best business and HR leaders understand the nuances and differences between these things and are really intentional about what each one means.

The good news: Engagement does influence these other things

There is a correlation between engagement and all these other metrics! 

As you’ll see below, when engagement is high, things like stress and desire to quit are less likely to be present.

This is all about reframing engagement from the only metric that matters to something that works with other workplace factors to create a better experience and drive employee retention.

Engagement influences employees in other ways. (Source: Gallup).

Take these three actions today and get on right side of this 2024 HR trend 

1. Start with your quiet quitters

Gallup make a few interesting recommendations in their report, and one is that these quitters offer a quick-win for productivity gains.

Look at some of the reasons people quiet quit. Lack of purpose, lack of stimulation, lack of opportunities to grow - these are all solvable things.

And given half of employees sit in this category, this offers the fastest route to moving more people to the engaged column.

We asked Pauline Taylor, HowNow's Head of People, for her thoughts on tackling quiet quitting:

"Quiet quitting is just a new word for lack of engagement. This can be attributed to poor management and not understanding your people's engagement drivers - which might typically look like..."

1) Clarity of expectations with the what, why, and when are important but giving people autonomy on the 'how'.
2) Opportunities to learn and grow - that could be with new skills or tasks/projects.
3) Feeling cared about - It's no surprise that people are motivated to go the extra mile for those who show them gratitude, praise, and support.
4) Lastly - they must see what they do has a strong connection/correlation to the organisation's mission or purpose.

2. Enable your managers! So much of this comes back to them

70% of team engagement is attributable to the manager, but if they’re stressed, quiet quitting or lacking the tools to address employee concerns, we’re not going anywhere.

Check in with them!

What’s influencing their engagement, stress and desire to leave? 

And what are they lacking when it comes to dealing with employees in all these areas?

With every HR trend for 2024, take a wider view beyond the employee - these issues might also be impacting your leaders, C-Suite, CEOs and investors.

It’s easy to end up with a narrow view of leadership development but we all have skills gaps, things we never learned and struggles we face every day.

3. Listen to your people (or start with these general responses)

When asked what would improve their job, 41% of Gallup’s respondents said engagement or company culture, and there were some interesting themes in their recommendations of how to crack that nut.

Recognition for contributions, more autonomy in how they worked, learning more, doing less repetitive work, and fairness/respect were the top level responses.

These might even be a great starting point for you to survey your people and understand where you are right now.

2. HR skill building to shift away from recruitment and towards employee development/upskilling

Let’s face it, in a world where there are six open roles for every qualified person, the harsh truth is…

🤯 You can’t fill every skill gap by hiring external talent.

Buying or borrowing talent is becoming increasingly more difficult, hence the shift we’re seeing towards upskilling, internal mobility and looking more at skills needed than job roles to be filled.

The trouble is, nobody seems to have told the HR departments and people looking to upskill themselves.

The top 7 surging skills for workplace and human resources were dominated by recruitment and hiring, according to Udemy’s 2023 Workplace Learning Trends Report 👇

In plain terms, what HR professionals spent the past year learning seems to be at odds with the latest data and one of the biggest 2024 HR trends. 

HR pros might need to shift their focus away from hiring skills. (Source: Udemy)

We’re in a talent shortage, meaning we simply don’t have enough skilled humans to fill our roles.

A lack of skills makes it harder to meet customer demands, execute our strategies and get the work done to reach our goals.

Winning the talent war isn’t about bringing in all the skills you need (time-consuming and expensive), it’s about helping people build the skills that matter in the shortest amount of time (cost-effective, engages employees and sustainable).

So, before you take another course on talent spotting or recruitment, think about the internal talent that could fill skills gaps and recruiting the right skills to reach your goals, not just the job titles you think you need.

3. Career conversations and development opportunities need to be more regular and available

Let’s caveat this by saying there are a lot of things organisations are doing really well to support people right now.

A recent survey of 1,000 UK employees by Lattice and YouGov showed that more than a third of employees have access to flexible working, mental health support and flexible time off.

This was arguably on HR trends lists for the past few years and big credit to people teams for delivering what their people needed.

Companies are nailing the flexibility and employee support benefits. (Source: Lattice)

But if you’re looking for signs of career development and growth conversations, strap in! 

👇 We’ve got a long scroll to the very bottom of the list.

Propping up these 14 factors are professional development budgets, career growth plans and regular growth conversations - with 15% or less response rate in each.

But career development is right at the bottom. (Source: Lattice).

Why on earth is this happening? And how can we tackle this HR trend head on?

Maybe, just maybe, it’s a flawed perception of why people stick with companies

  • 78% of companies have lost talent because of a lack of growth opportunities (Aptitude Research).
  • 45% of employees told Glassdoor a lack of growth opportunities was the top reason for a lack of job satisfaction.

There are things that make a company a nicer place to work, and there are things that fundamentally make people’s day-to-day job more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Right now, it seems the benefits offering leans too far one way…and there’s one way to fix it 👇

4. While we’re at it let’s revamp performance management and reviews (making them our secret sauce for trust and engagement)

This 2024 HR trend can be summed up in 32 words:

“Only 1 in 3 employees say the performance management review helps them perform better… And employees who have confidence in their performance management review process have much higher trust in their organisations” - Betterworks: 2023 Global HR Research Report: The State of Performance Enablement

The faith in the performance management and review system has been shattered.

And we really are looking at rubble here:

  • 37% of workers said performance management is an outright failure in their company.
  • And 64% view their performance review process as always or sometimes a waste.

But when something gets taken apart, we can rebuild it! And create employee experiences that truly work.

And this is why we’re including it in our 2024 HR trends - this is a huge chance to drive real change from both a process and performance perspective.

More impact, here we go 🚀

This is how performance management should be done now

Performance management is about gearing employees towards adding maximum value, and the review process should set the foundation for how we get there.

People can create all the flywheel graphics and fancy flow charts they want, but in a world that’s changing fast, you’re better of having these five simple, universal questions:

1. What does success look like for our team and company?

2. How does our employee contribute to that goal every day?

3. Which skills and knowledge would they need to do that?

4. Do they have it, and to what extent?

5. How are we measuring progress towards those skills and goals?

Not only are these questions gearing our conversations towards impact…

They’re creating consistency and transparency, and that’s currently undermining people’s trust in the whole damn process.

😰 Only 1 in 3 employees view their performance reviews process as fair and equitable! 

But when they do perceive it as fair, productivity and engagement are both higher, meaning this 2024 HR trend can make a huge difference to your culture.

Fair performance reviews are crucial. (Source: Betterworks)

In addition to this, feelings of belonging are up to 60 percentage points higher when people see their reviews as fair and equitable.

Shall we pop in more check-ins! No, hold your horses…

Fancy another HR pitfall you might be falling into?

Doing more of something isn’t useful unless we set the foundations and give people the right skills for it to work.

If people don’t feel like you have a good feedback culture, more feedback surveys isn’t the answer… yet. 

We need to give people the skill of providing clear and constructive feedback, as well as being open to receiving feedback and processing it effectively.

And in a world where people have lost faith in performance reviews, more of the same is more of the stuff people hate.

The solution for this HR trend lies in enabling managers for 2024 and beyond, and here’s where they need help:

Enable managers, drive better performance reviews. (Source: Betterworks).

5. Supporting people through the cost of living crisis (and what comes next)

The only certain thing over the past five years is that more uncertainty is on the way.

If you look back on any of the HR trends lists for the past half decade, you’ll spot the theme that continues into 2024.

Between Brexit, COVID-19 and the cost of living crisis, it’s impossible for the conditions of the outside world not to influence how we’re feeling and performing at our companies.

The CIPD explain this 2024 HR trend in their Good Work Index 2023: Survey report:

“Notions of ‘good work’ in 2023 have been shaped by the events of the last five years… which have seen inflation hit record levels. Businesses and institutions have had to try and find a way forward in a world where uncertainty has become endemic.”

The latest in that list of challenges, the cost of living crisis, offers another opportunity for companies and their HR teams to put their people first.

And there is a precedent, 78% felt their company responded to COVID appropriately, while 80% feeling leadership were proactive in actions to protect them.

Where do employees need cost of living support?

  • Just under half (48%) said they were meeting bills and commitments without any difficulties, meaning more than half are experiencing some issues.
  • 16% were signalling severe social distress, with 12% saying it was a constant struggle.
  • 3% of workers said they were falling behind with some bills and commitments, and 1% said they were having real financial problems.

Some of those percentages might seem small, but “nearly one in six in serious difficulties translates into more than 5 million people in work.” - which is a significant figure.

If you read the full report, you’ll also find that groups of people are affected more severely - like those in lower-income households.

HR trends lists tend to be statistic-heavy, leaning into percentages, so this is your reminder to try and think in human number terms and the context of who is affected.

A percentage is easier to digest, but it’s certainly not the full picture.

How can HR teams help?

There won’t be one silver bullet! In fact, the best thing is try and open up a conversation about how much your people are struggling and where they need support.

However, here are a few suggestions:

  • Flexibility around office days and times: If a lot of people are commuting, this might help them cut down the days they’re paying fares or travel outside peak hours.
  • Offer food and drink on the days people do come in: Whether that’s snacks or providing a meal, this is one way to save an expense for people.
  • Help those with childcare: If being more flexible allows people to save on childcare costs, look into how you can support that.
  • Review your benefits package: A cost-of-living crisis really means we should cut the fluff. Is what you’re offering right for the context? Free cinema tickets might have appealed when you launched them five years ago but could that be swapped out for something more helpful…
  • Launch and improve mental health support: We might not be able to solve the problem but we can support the symptoms. A solid mental health support scheme can provide people with an outlet to discuss or work through financial stresses.

Rounding up these five 2024 HR trends and actions you can start taking today.

Let’s recap these top five 2024 HR trends and give you the gist of where good action starts and strong improvements follow. 

1. Harness the true power of engagement: Go beyond the surface level of looking at how many people are engaged, bringing in the likes of stress and desire to quit to build a better picture.

2. Build the skill of upskilling others: In a talent shortage, we can’t hire our way to closing skills gap. HR teams can help by thinking in terms of skills needed, not just roles to be filled.

3. Workplaces need to provide balance between nice-to-have and makes-my-life-better benefits: Lots of workplaces are offering flexibility and strong time-off policies, but career growth is lagging far behind.

4. Make performance reviews fairer and more impactful: People have lost trust in their performance reviews and it’s linked to a desire to do meaningful work - bring the two together and you’ll retain people who are genuinely driving impact.

5. Support people through the cost-of-living crisis: In such a difficult time, it’s inevitable that personal struggles blend into our professional lives, and our employers can make a big difference with their support. Reconsider how you view and support work-life balance for the current context.

HR Trends 2024: Make These Changes, Drive More Impact

Learning And Development
September 11, 2023
5 min read

2024 could be a make or break year for learning and development (L&D) and people teams.

⚖️ We’re keen to drive business impact but we’re not aligning with goals.

🤔 We’re concerned about budgets but don’t know our current spend.

🤖 AI still dominates conversations but needs to move beyond gimmicks.

Oh, and we’ve got tech stacks that limit learners, classic challenges like time or engagement, and a need for clearer career paths.

These 2024 L&D trends are all based on the latest reports and research.

And the steps outlined here will make sure you’re on the right side of all this over the next 12 months and beyond.

1. L&D teams to realign with organisational goals in 2024

What happens when our aspirations meet reality?

Some pretty disappointed L&D pros!

Despite all the chatter around aligning to business goals, L&D teams are in a worse position than they were just a few years ago.

“Compared with two years ago, L&D strategy is less aligned with organisational and people priorities (67% agree in 2023 versus 77% in 2021) and leaders are less likely to recognise the impact that L&D has on those priorities (67% versus 81%).” - CIPD.

The Learning at work 2023 Survey also showed clarity in how L&D delivers business value has diminished, hence why it made it onto our list of 2024 L&D trends.

L&D teams are less aligned to organisational goals. (Source: CIPD)

A move away from vanity metrics might help, here’s why

A wise man (our CEO, Nelson Sivalingam) once wrote that if what you’re measuring doesn’t tell you how it improved performance, skills, or knowledge then change what you’re measuring!

🔥 And LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report dumped a whole of vanity-metric fuel on that fire.

Half of what we’re measuring for L&D success falls into the vanity category.

Half of L&D's metrics fall into the vanity category. (Source: LinkedIn).

That’s not to say there’s no value in metrics like satisfaction with employee training and learning content or how they performed in post-learning quizzes.

It’s to say that the business will be far more interested in how that learning translates to performance and progression towards business goals.

Here’s a five-step process to better alignment and problem solving:

2. Budgets aren’t on the chopping block but L&D needs a better handle on them!

It’s fitting that at such a financially uncertain time, L&D is sending some seriously mixed messages around budgeting!

🤷 We’ve got people who don’t know how much they spend.

🚀 People who expect their spending power to stay the same or increase.

📉 And economic struggles influencing how much we’ve got in real terms.

And yet almost half of L&D pros don’t know how much they spend

According to the CIPD, 46% of L&D pros “still do not have a handle on how much they spend per employee in the organisation.”

The report provides some interesting context about where this is coming from:

  • 53% feel their workload has increased, so it might be that they’re swamped!
  • Practitioners reported a decrease in external suppliers, so that shift might be behind the lack of clarity.
  • A quarter say their reliance on in-house expertise has increased, which is more difficulty to put a price to.
  • Close to a third say their increased workload had a negative impact on their physical and mental wellbeing - so it could be that they’re struggling.

The positive? They don’t feel their funding will decrease

The same CIPD report showed that 69% of respondents had seen their learning/training and development budget increase or stay the same (24% net increase and 45% stayed the same), while just 20% had seen a decline and the remaining 11% were unsure. 

That confidence is supported by LinkedIn research showing that 41% expected to have more spending power, lower than last year but the third-highest response in the past seven years.

L&D pros don't expect huge reduction of budgets. (Source: LinkedIn).

It’s an economic downturn, so how much is our budget really worth?

A recent Mind Tools report offered a brilliant insight into how much is spent per employees alongside the impact of recent economic struggles on that amount:

“In 2017, organisations were spending £681 per employee on learning and development. In 2020, when the index dropped, organisations were spending £639.

“Today, the budget per employee is around £705, but, in real terms, L&D teams are working with a lot less (around £131 per employee) than they were seven years ago.”

Organisational L&D spend per employee dropped in 2020 and increased in 2023, yet L&D teams are actually working with less than they were in 2017 - in real terms.

The answer: Understand current spend/budget, gear it towards impact 

There are three obvious steps to take here:

1. Audit how much you’re currently spending on L&D (collectively and as individuals).

2. See how that compares to overall L&D budget.

3. Try to ascertain how much of that spend is driving impact.

This will give you a sense but it’s what you do next that matters!

Build a commercial mindset and combine that with better organisational alignment 

“I think it's really important as an L&D professional, if you want to be a strategic business partner, to develop your own business acumen.

"Being able to think and speak the language of a business person is as important as being an expert in your field.” - Danielle Dziurun.

The goal is to gain insight into the financial side of the company; where is it profitable? Which areas offer growth opportunities?

We often talk about the ROI for L&D, and knowing how the business makes money will help!

Especially if we properly diagnose the paint points when people come to us with learning requests:

1. What’s the real root cause of the problem?
2. What’s stopping you getting there?
3. What financial implications does that have?

Understand those three things and learning isn’t only solving problems, it’s contributing to the bottom line.

3. Tech stacks are still too messy making knowledge hard to find (and L&D can remove the pain)

Is it fair for people to wait days for information they need?

If they’ve time-travelled back to the 1950s, maybe.

But in 2023, when the world is changing faster than ever, the answer is a firm no.

Sadly, that’s the case for almost A THIRD (29%) of employees.

Strap in because that’s just one of several worrying numbers in Appspaces’ 2023 Workplace experience trends & insights report.

The Learner-Tech Dilemma: Tools are adding too much friction

➡️ If the information is scattered in multiple places, it’s hard to find when you need it.

➡️➡️ If you can’t find it, you have to ask and wait for a reply.

➡️➡️➡️ If you have to wait, the moment of need has passed by the time you get it.

That’s how easy it is to build friction into the search for knowledge, damaging the perception of learning and the likelihood people will do it again.

And it’s stemming from a couple of key problems: Consistency in the tools we use and perception of the tech stack’s value overall.

🤯 67% of people “aren’t completely satisfied with their company’s current workplace tools and technologies, and they experience challenges with available solutions.”

35% think we should reduce the number of apps and tools needed to do their work.

Just look at the numbers below, the biggest employee challenges come from a lack of centralised tools and a failure for those tools to integrate with each other.

We're held back by inconsistent tools that fail to integrate. (Source: Appspace).

Create a central place for knowledge: start by mapping your tech stack

If we can bring everything to the end of a single search, people will search.

If we incorporate more of the tools people use everyday, they’re more likely to apply information.

🚀 This one is not going in the rocket science column.

Your first step? Mapping out your current tools and tech stack

“From an L&D perspective, it’s super important to have sight of what sits where within your organisation’s digital landscape because your learning ecosystem lives across multiple platforms - not just the ones designed for learning.”- Danielle Dziurun.

Danielle hit the nail on the head, it’s not just tools designed for learning - like your LMS or learning platform - that people use for learning. There’s a whole ecosystem!

Our goal should be to speak with people and understand where they go now when they have a problem?

This chat should also highlight the blockers they face when finding information.

If we can audit our tech stack and map that out too, we can visualise which tools fail to connect or duplicate the same things and therefore add friction.

Use more of the tools people already love and use

If there’s a tool that you’re trying to drive top-down adoption for but people organically use something else, consider that as you build a central home for learning.

Just look at the graph below, people are sharing information through Slack, social media and word of mouth!

L&D teams should harness existing tools. (Source: Appspace)

Our goal should be to tap into existing behaviours as much as we can to drive learning and knowledge sharing.

According to Mind Tools, “Social networking sites like YouTube, LinkedIn and WhatsApp consistently took the lead as the most popular platforms for learning at work”

If people are already engaged in those places, we can improve access to learning resources and, as Mind Tools word it, “make them more proactive learners… more willing to experiment and take risks.”

4. The AI chatter won’t stop, and L&D teams need to be more intentional around how and where they use it.

If you look at the number of Google searches for AI Learning, AI Content and all the variations in between…

📈 They all look like this!

The pace is not slowing down, L&D teams are more and more curious about how AI can help them.

However, at some point on that graph, we’re going to hit a key moment:

When the AI movement shifts from gimmicks to intentionality.

L&D needs to stop using AI for the sake of it, and start using it to solve real problems

Just because you can use something, doesn’t mean you should…

Yes we can use AI to create more content, but what if our people don’t need more content.

And this needs us nicely to the crux of the issue.

💡 If you don’t get the fundamentals right, AI will just scale your problems.

"If your team is lacking the right skills, and you don’t have the right strategy, using AI will just exacerbate all of your flaws. So you can create more problems rather than solving problems.” – Filip Lam.

We need the principles of identifying problems, delivering solutions and defining what outcomes or success look like to be in place.

That way, we know what activities drive impact.

And then we can say, well, I don’t have the skills or capacity for that part, could AI help?

Whether that’s by allowing us to be more data driven if we lack that skill or deliver personalised learning where we lack capacity.

5. L&D needs to solve the classic problems: I don’t have time and our people aren’t engaged are still roadblocks

Historians reckon the oldest example of writing dates back to Ancient Mesopotamia in 3400 B.C., and you know what that clay tablet said?

🤯 People don’t have enough time to learn.

Not really, but it might as well have.

The oldest barrier to learning is somehow STILL making its way into research on L&D challenges.

Alongside another classic, the lack of learner engagement…

Why are time and engagement still such huge barriers to learning?

The CIPD Learning at work 2023 Survey is the bearer of bad news on this occasion.

The report names time and engagement as the two biggest blockers for L&D in supporting organisational and people goals.

And it seems the biggest reason is a lack of support or buy-in from the right people, typically those higher up the organisational food chain.

Time is still a big learning barrier (yes, seriously). (Source: CIPD)

⏳ Time is an issue because most companies aren’t bringing relevant learning to the flow of work.

If you encounter an issue and you can find relevant information that helps you solve the problem, it doesn’t take long to learn and apply it for better performance.

👎 The lack of engagement often happens because L&D teams prioritise content.

They create, distribute and are often surprised when nobody engages with it - despite it being the wrong content at the wrong moments.

If it’s not immediately relevant, it feels like an unwanted interruption.

L&D teams should be focusing on problems to be solved and skills needed to reach goals.

We won’t repeat what we discussed in trend one but this really comes back to diagnosing problems, understanding where friction exists and building relationships.

The good news is that CIPD’s research shows positive movement in this direction:

“There has been an increase in the number of L&D professionals who are proactive in understanding a performance issue before recommending a solution (57% in 2023, versus 32% in 2021.”

Ultimately, there’s a company-wide mindset shift that needs to happen too…

❌ Learning isn’t something done at set times and disconnected from the workflow.

✅ It happens in the flow of work, in moments that matter, to help improve performance.

And if that’s happening, those engagement struggles should soon become a distant memory.

6. Clear career paths are needed and L&D can pave the way.

People want to stay at companies, IF there’s fair pay and opportunities for growth!

While 22% of employees said they were vulnerable to poaching in 2022, only 9% said they were in this boat in 2023.

And Betterworks’ 2023 Global HR Research Report revealed a few other interesting insights into what keeps people at their companies.

Pay, culture and flexibility were high on the list, but career goals and purpose saw the highest-growth on 2022 numbers - jumping by 15%!

Development saw the most growth in employee priorities. (Source: Betterworks)

And this theme was evident throughout the report! Here are two numbers on the same lines:

  • Three in four employees would prefer to advance at their current company.
  • While 61% cited pay and benefits as a key reason to stay, 41% named career growth.

So, people want to stick around and grow - all good news, right?

Not quite, because their expectations aren’t currently being met when it comes to growth, upskilling and reskilling.

People want progression paths, they’re just not getting them

Employees aren’t getting the access to the career paths and conversations they’d need to fulfill this ambition.

Only 48% see a path for advancement in their current company.

And only 46% feel supported in their career aspirations.

Betterwork’s findings are supported by A recent survey of 1,000 UK employees by Lattice and YouGov 

The report uncovered what’s needed for businesses to take better care of their workforce and look at the bottom three - lack of development opportunities, pathways and conversations are the lowest on the list.

Career growth and development aren't frequently offered. (Source: Lattice).

The irony is that we’re in a talent shortage, meaning it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for companies to plug skills gaps with external talent.

So if companies are going to harness people’s desire to stay and grow, and tie that to performance objectives, they need to rethink the current approach to employee development.

Rounding up these six 2024 L&D trends with actions you can start taking today

Here’s a quick recap of these six 2024 L&D trends with the key things you’ll need to remember and act upon for an impact-filled year.

  1. L&D teams need to align more closely with business goals: Which starts with better problem discovery and measuring more than vanity metrics.
  2. We need to get a handle on our budgets: Lots of L&D teams don’t fear budget cuts but plenty also don’t understand how much they currently spend - which needs to change in 2024.
  3. We need to remove friction for our people: Right now, they spend too long looking for information and feel the number of tools used by their company is a big part of the problem.
  4. AI and L&D has never been a more popular buzzword: But harnessing its power means moving beyond gimmicks in 2024 and using it intentionally.
  5. Old challenges keep popping up: The bread and butter challenges of time and engagement are still present in lots of research and need to be tackled once and for all.
  6. Current career paths aren’t clear enough: Which is a shame because people have never been more willing to stay and grow at a company.

L&D Trends 2024: 6 Big Problems You’ll Need To Solve

Learning And Development
September 11, 2023
5 min read

We analysed HowNow’s top 50 customers with the highest engagement to identify how elite L&D teams drive impact. Check out what we learned.

Why aren’t people engaging with our L&D efforts? 😤

Nobody’s logging into the platform. And our content’s going down like a lead balloon because hardly anyone’s looking at it!

😱 And if they’re not engaged, we can’t help them or the business achieve their goals.

We’ll stand little chance of making a big impact.

So we can kiss goodbye to the budget and buy-in we need for L&D to work.

It’s a tale as old as the learning management system (LMS) – which has really struggled to get people on board for years, let’s be honest.

But engagement is the primary requirement for L&D to work, so how can we get it?

Here are three things high-performing teams do, based on data from real HowNow customers.

Who the heck are HowNow?

We’re the learning experience platform (LXP) making learning a part of everyday work, nice to meet you 👋

And we know a thing or two about engagement too! Our LXP gets 5x more of the stuff than a traditional LMS.

You can learn more about HowNow here.

Lesson 1: High-performing L&D teams keep content relevant and up to date

We’ve all been there! Searching through the learning equivalent of a landfill site and sifting through loads of resources helpfully-named:

Pricing, New Pricing, Updated Pricing, Pricing 2022…

We’re looking for an up-to-date needle in an outdated haystack.

🦸 Not in high-performing teams!

They ensure their content is regularly checked, updated and removed where appropriate.

On average, HowNow customers with the highest engagement boast 80% content verification – meaning it has been reviewed for relevance and continues to add value, solve challenges and develop people.

And this means that when people encounter challenges in their moments of need, they are more likely to find content that helps them solve that problem!

High-impact L&D teams verify content is up-to-date

“The fear that their learning space will become a mess is a big fear that stops L&D teams from crowdsourcing content. And we get it, people are busy, they might not always remember to revisit and update resources.

“That’s why we enable HowNow customers to set verification intervals for each piece of content. An automated reminder to check it’s all still relevant and updated, allowing customers to refresh and remove content as needed.

“For things that are going to change often (like processes) shorter verification intervals allow you to edit and delete before employees access inaccurate information. Longer verification intervals help you with that much-needed spring cleaning for content, to ensure your ecosystem adds value.”

— Lulu Dermeche, Head of Customer Success at HowNow.

Lesson 2: Elite L&D teams empower their internal experts to create content

Have you got a Leaky Bucket when it comes to knowledge?

This is when we fail to capture the knowledge that’s either shared each day or lives in one person’s head. It drips through the holes daily and comes spilling out when someone leaves the company.

That’s why knowledge capture and tapping into internal experts are so crucial, and it’s something all high-performing teams do 👇

High performing LD teams use learners for content creation

✍️ 40% of their content is created by people outside the L&D team.

🤝 The average number of collaborators across Courses is 6, while for HowNow Nuggets (informal ways to capture microlearning-style content) it’s four.

As Kasper Spiro, Easygenerator Co-Founder explains:

“If somebody in your company has a question, somebody else probably has the answer. And if somebody has a problem, somebody else probably has the solution. And that’s what you want to achieve.”

This helps you build a bank of relevant and contextual content that only solves business challenges, it can be understood and applied in the flow of work and those moments of need.

Lesson 3: Top L&D teams create content that can be consumed in the flow of work

We already mentioned Nuggets, but it’s important to understand what these are before we dive into the numbers.

From a learner perspective, they’re informal, accessible, micro-learning-style resources that help people learn and apply information when they encounter problems and moments of need.

For your L&D team and internal experts, they’re a frictionless, simple way to capture and scale content creation. They look like this 👇

🙌 More than a third (38%) of content created by high-performing L&D teams comes in the form a Nugget 🙌

That means internal experts, sharing knowledge on solving business problems in a format that allows others to tackle similar issues as they happen. Problem solved! ✅

More than a third of high-impact content uses an informal format

By tapping into Nuggets and internal experts, these companies are creating content that’s relevant to and can be applied in the context of work!

People who’ve solved business problems are sharing their wisdom with others in a format that allows them to apply it when they encounter it themselves.

And this is reinforced by the average time spent on SCORM & Courses (46 minutes) and Nuggets (17 minutes).

Free Checklist For High-Impact L&D

Banner Free Checklist For High-Impact L&D

Analysis of HowNow’s 50-most engaged customer (based on monthly active users over 6 months from 1 August 2022 to 31 January 2023).

3 Things Guaranteed To Improve Your L&D Impact (According To Data)

June 2, 2023
5 min read
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