L&D Trends 2023: 7 You Have To Hear For The New Year

Gary Stringer
September 26, 2022
July 20, 2023
Learning And Development

If there’s one trend we’ve all overlooked, it’s that L&D teams have been massive hypocrites for a while now!

🤦 We’re telling people to learn but not doing it ourselves.

🙄 Encouraging people to use new tools but leaving them with legacy tech that isn’t up to scratch.

🤷 Talking about the power of culture and not listening or reading any of the warning signs around this issue.

This isn’t some flimsy, half-baked opinion either – it’s built on all the latest reports and research from 2022! So, this list of L&D trends for 2023 should provide a platform to end any bad habits and build places where your employees can flourish in the coming year and beyond.

Jump ahead to:

1. L&D teams to practice what they preach and really learn themselves in 2023.

2. Rebuilding people’s faith in company culture: A challenge L&D teams should welcome.

3. So long, legacy tech: Finding tools for today’s problems.

4. Making knowledge available when it can make a difference: On-demand learning to drive productivity.

5. Will L&D’s popularity finally stabilise? Possibly…

6. RIP compliance culture: It’s performance and impact’s time now.

7. Leaders to ditch legacy L&D approaches that are holding people and organisations back.

L&D teams to practice what they preach and really learn themselves in 2023

In short

Learning and development teams aren’t living up to their name, spending less learning than those in other fields.

Why are we including it?

According to the LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report 2022, L&D people spent 23% less time learning than active learners on LinkedIn and 35% less than their HR counterparts.

And ironically, L&D pros saw 15% more promotions than HR teams this year – although that does support the argument that learning isn’t a self-fulfilling prophecy when it comes to career progression.

The problem this does throw up is that there’s possibly a disconnect between the message L&D teams are giving to others and how they’re organising their own time and development – which is worth exploring.

How can L&D respond?

So, first of all, time spent learning doesn’t equate to knowledge gained – so there’s a fair chance L&D are spending less time learning but doing it more effectively to influence performance and behaviour change.

However, as any good researcher should do, we’ve got anecdotal evidence to support those hard facts. We asked industry experts this question at Learning Technologies London, and the consensus was clear – L&D teams don’t spend enough time on their own development.

But the answer is a fairly simple one. Lead by example and create your own positive feedback loops to offer evidence on how learning has helped your performance. If you can learn something that drives impact, you’re creating a micro case study of why others should do the same. And you’re showing that continuous learning, in small doses, can be more effective that infrequent, time-consuming training.

So yeah, maybe we spend less time learning than other departments, but it’s about you communicating why that time was impactful and showing others a pathway to learning that drives performance without adding loads of hours to the clock. Less can be more impact if you do it right…

Rebuilding people’s faith in company culture: A challenge L&D teams should welcome

In short

Relationships with managers and co-workers now sit DEAD LAST in the factors influencing job satisfaction (11%), while compensation tops the list by a distance at 43%.

Why are we including it?

People are disillusioned culturally – they’re not really that bothered about being buddies at work anymore. Let’s take a quick moment to mourn all the job descriptions that mention ‘we’re like a family here’.

63% of employees experiencing above-average turnover on their team agree that higher turnover has made it less worthwhile for them to socialise with and get to know their co-workers.

In the same study, we got those damning numbers that relationships ranked dead-last in factors influencing job satisfaction – as you can see below.

Capterra report

50% of remote employees even said they were ‘minimally’ or ‘not likely to’ attend employer-organised voluntary events in the future, failing to see the value in leaving the house.

And that’s because there’s been a paradigm shift in what people view as important, but while the overall culture has weakened, learning cultures have strengthened.

How can L&D respond?

For those yet to lose faith, opportunities to learn and grow were named the top driver of a great work culture – highlighting the long-lasting importance of career development.

And according to LinkedIn, 64% of L&D pros saw their organisation’s learning culture grow stronger in the past year.

87% of HR leaders also say that learning and development programs will be critical to retaining talent, according to Gartner.

The biggest issue for L&D teams seems to be winning over those hybrid and remote workers – ensuring consistent learning experiences and development opportunities regardless of where people work.

Only 24% of Hybrid and Remote Knowledge Workers Report Feeling Connected to Their Organisation’s Culture.

“Hybrid and remote work hasn’t necessarily changed our culture, it’s changed the way we experience culture,” said Alexia Cambon, director in the Gartner HR practice.

“While employers used to be able to frame their cultural values and hang them on the walls for employees to see, this no longer works today when hybrid and remote knowledge workers spend 65% less time in offices than before the pandemic.”

Organisations that succeed in connecting employees to their culture can increase employee performance by up to 37% and retention by up to 36%, and L&D can understandably play a huge role in the former to influence the latter.

So long, legacy tech: Finding tools for today’s problems

In short

Just look at the numbers below! People are frustrated with work tech, and legacy tools are one of the biggest bugbears. And, if that problem isn’t addressed, you might be saying goodbye to good people before you say sayonara to useless tech…

The cost of inadequate tech
Source: Freshworks

Why are we including it?

Despite businesses spending the equivalent of an additional $15 billion on technology to enable remote working each week, according to KPMG, 61% of business leaders still predict their technology will not be ‘fit for purpose’ and able to meet the demands of the business in 12 months.

The rate of change is too fast to be weighed down by old tech brought in to solve a problem from the distant past. And with that pace showing little sign of slowing, tools that can’t scale with us today simply won’t help us tomorrow.

How can L&D respond?

Those business leaders also identified challenges they faced when trying to get employees to embrace new technology and tools, which include:

  • Inadequate training provision – 66%.
  • New software is hard to use and has a high learning curve – 68%.
  • 69% of leaders feel that employees are not given sufficient time to learn to use new software.
  • And that the benefits are often not adequately explained to employees – 67%.

Quick lesson learnt: Learning tech needs to have a short time to value and should feel like the tools people already use so that they can be used intuitively and won’t need lots of training to understand.

At HowNow, we call them wow moments, those scenarios where learning can influence performance and create a positive feedback loop – encouraging people to learn again. Now, you’ll never get to those if systems take a lot of explaining or time to get used to! That’s why our LXP integrates with the tools people use every day and feels like a lot of them too.

But we’ve jumped ahead a little, the point was about how you prevent the tech you pick now becoming legacy tech. And it is simply a case of recognising which tools can scale with you over time – offering the flexibility to solve the problems you face now and those that crop up in the future.

Learning ecosystems over static libraries, integrated tools rather than standalone systems, curated content over purely created – and if that sounds up your street, book a demo today so we can show you how, in HowNow.

Book a demo today!

Making knowledge available when it can make a difference: On-demand learning to drive productivity

In short

More than half of employees (56%) have been unable to find digital documents while working remotely, a problem that also affects in-office employees to a lesser degree or in different ways.

Information confusion is damaging employee productivity
Source: Beezy

Why are we including it?

More than 70% of employees are currently working or want to work fully remote and hybrid, hence why this locating documents issue is such a serious one.

If people can’t tap an employee on the shoulder, it’s harder to find the answers they need. It’s even more challenging if the answers you have captured are scattered across platforms – a top two problem over the previous two reports and the biggest in the latest edition.

And this not only damages short-term performance, it hampers long-term career development.

Biggest employee challenges using workplace tech and tools
Source: Beezy

How can L&D respond?

Build a central brain that’s available on demand!

It probably is as simple as that. If people are working across timezones, in remote settings, and even on different days to their teammates, it’s vital that they can find resources in moments that matter. Which is made a lot more difficult when they’re saved in a bunch of different places.

But, if L&D teams can create a single place for learning and make that available where people already work, they’ll empower people to solve challenges when they arise. And ultimately, that’s how you influence people’s performance.

Updated knowledge sharing pillar header

Read our full guide on knowledge sharing in a fast-changing world

Will L&D’s popularity finally stabilise? Possibly…

In short

“Today, L&D leaders report that attitudes towards learning are at their lowest point in three years. Employees aren’t as engaged as they were during the height of the pandemic, and the appeal of digital learning is wearing off.” – MindTools.

Why are we including it?

How did this happen? Last year, all the data pointed towards L&D holding onto the seat it had finally pulled up to the table! 62% believed they’d got to that point in last year’s LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report.

Perhaps the novelty has worn off… During the pandemic, we were a crucial function, whether it was supporting a mass move to home working or responding to unpredictable changes to keep the business moving towards its goals, our stock was pretty high.

But in the same way last year’s Love Island contestants get forgotten when a new batch enters the villa, our emergence from the pandemic has seen us fade slightly into obscurity.

The thing is, a new crisis has reared its head since MindTools published that report. Cost of living, looming recession – however we dress it up, it’s having a massive impact on companies’ performance.

And for L&D, this is manifesting itself in the hiring freezes and redundancies that make it increasingly more likely we’ll need to do more with less.

How L&D Teams Can Do More With Less Thumbnail

Listen to or watch this episode

How can L&D respond?

Good question! It seemed like L&D would have enough post-pandemic credit in the bank for this not to be a problem by now…

The first thing you can do is listen to the podcast above, which will give you some great advice on doing more with less and providing value in these difficult times! That should rebuild our perceived value in the short term.

But perhaps it’s time to start focusing on future-proofing L&D, something that’s also discussed in the 2022 Annual L&D Benchmark report from MindTools.

The list of reported behaviours that future-proof L&D teams is hardly full of surprises but reading between the lines, we can more or less say they come back to adding value and communicating it to other stakeholders.

Supporting business performance, driving learning that delivers impact for employees, creating that culture of social learning – these are all behaviours that might ensure your popularity isn’t a flash in the pan.

RIP compliance culture: It’s performance and impact’s time now

In short

Formal qualifications and mandatory training are no longer the purpose for learning, with employees flagging personal development as the clear motivation in MindTools Learner Intelligence Report.

Source: MindTools

Why are we including it?

There’s no point going over old ground, we’ve covered a lot of the reasons already! People want learning that improves their performance and helps them apply information in critical moments..

Gaining a qualification is often detached from the scenarios where learning can be applied and compliance training rarely has anything to do with the challenges people encounter every day.

The numbers speak for themselves, people want to perform better, meet their ever-changing demands and support the organisation’s goals – compliance and arbitrary qualifications often have little impact on these three things.

Motivations for learning by age

How can L&D respond?

Design learning experiences to drive performance! And we’ve got a great three-minute video from our CEO, Nelson Sivalingam, that explains the importance of this cultural shift.

In a nutshell, it’s not about completing learning but improving the speed at which you learn and apply information. To do that, we have to change the way we learn in our organisations.

If we boil problems down to their first principles – the absolute basic building blocks that prevent us from building on assumptions – and build a solution with the North Star of driving an employee’s performance, we’ll build experiences around impact.

Leaders to ditch legacy L&D approaches that are holding people and organisations back

In short

In short, you really have to read these MindTools reports! As you can see below, traditional expectations of L&D, not encouraging new ways of learning and manager reluctance are big concerns on our ability to progress.

MindTools Learner Intelligence Report
Source: MindTools

Why are we including it?

Almost every other prediction, tip, or trend so far hinges on our ability to adapt and learn at speed. And close-mindedness or being too wedded to the old ways of doing things just aren’t going to help that happen.

The old ways mean top-down. The old ways mean a focus on output over outcome or completion over impact. Low value to employees, struggles to capture or find knowledge, limits on social learning – these are all symptoms of the root cause that is outdated thinking around employee development.

How can L&D respond?

Hopefully, all the content that’s come before this will help you respond in the right way – whether that’s winning over stakeholders or building a winning strategy that has the right impact.

But, if you want more advice and insights, join us for a special episode of L&D Disrupt Live.

2023 L&D Trends You Have To Hear For The New Year Event Header