Podcast | 5 Realistic L&D Trends For 2024

Gary Stringer
November 15, 2023
November 15, 2023

Backed by the latest research, Nelson and Gary take you through 5 realistic L&D trends for 2024. No gimmicks, just proven tactics for more impact in the year to come.

From using AI intentionally, aligning with your organisation’s goals and upskilling people for the future, you’ll want to hear this conversation.

Download The 2024 L&D Trends Report here

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Five takeaways that'll help you prepare for L&D impact in 2024

1. L&D teams need to get closer to company goals.

Between 2021 and 2023, the number of L&D teams who said they were aligned to the organisational and people priorities dropped from 77% to 67%.

And we can absolutely empathise with busy L&D teams who are jumping from dealing with drastic change or a big fire to be put out.

But is that causing us to focus on easy output rather than business impact?

“So I think that, under the pressure, we're leaning on doing the easiest things to do rather than the things that are going to have the biggest impact. 

“And that's actually making the problem worse because the company looks at it and thinks you're not adding any value. And therefore we're either going to cut your budget or we're going to push your budget.” - Nelson Sivalingam. 

2. Skills-first L&D works, just ask Deloitte.

Nelson shared a recent story from Deloitte, who moved from content-first learning to a skills-first approach.

“They saw a 37% increase in employee retention. Why? Because what employees want to know is whether they are building the skills they need to be able to progress in their career? 

“And the reality is you talking about content completion and time spent learning doesn't answer the question they need to answer. Skills, however, allows us to align directly to the business objectives.” - Nelson Sivalingam.

Why? Because we can look at the business objectives and ask these questions: 

  • Does the business have the skills required to achieve that business objective? 
  • Which skills are missing? 
  • And now how do I align that learning to the skills that we need to bridge that gap?

3. If you don’t help people build skills, they’ll do it elsewhere - even at their own cost

In a tight economic market, we’d normally see higher unemployment rates but that hasn’t happened this time.

We’re actually seeing some of the highest demand for talent we’ve ever seen.

So, if people aren’t growing and progressing at your company, they’ll take their talents elsewhere.

“Now is the best time for the people with the right skills if you're not supporting their career growth. Because they can keep walking until they find a company that is going to support their growth. 

“And because there's so much opportunity out there, it really puts the pressure on companies to help them build the skills they need.” - Nelson Sivalingam.

And if you don’t help them grow, get out the way because they will do it themselves:

In the last 12 months, 57% of employees paid for external learning content out of their own pocket (edX).

“How can it be that we've got to a situation where employees are spending outside of the organisation to build their skills and go elsewhere?

“McKinsey found that only 12% of employees reported using any of the skills they got from internal L&D, and that shows a lot of wastage. 88% didn't acquire any relevant skills as a result of what was on offer. 

“So, as L&D teams, we really need to ask ourselves some serious questions about whether what we’re doing helps people build skills and drives impact!” - Nelson Sivalingam.

4. Forget about ROI, think about COI = the cost of inaction

By not doing anything and not helping your people build the skills they need, you might find your best talent leaving. 

We can put a cost to that!

If those people leave or we haven’t helped them build the right skills, there’s the cost of missed opportunity.

What about the cost of lost knowledge? Or the cost of re-learning that?

“Picture that cost of not doing anything versus the cost of getting a solution in place to solve that problem, the cost of the solution is going to be a fraction. 

“Many L&D professionals tell me they sometimes find it hard to build an ROI story. Well, what I recommend to get your business case through the organisation is to talk about the cost of inaction to the business.” - Nelson Sivalingam.

5. Time is still a barrier to learning, here’s why…

Employees aren’t saying they don't have the time to learn, we know they’re learning outside of work.

They’re saying that they don't have time to learn for the sake of learning.

“They just haven't got the time to learn because you say it's important. And they want to understand what's in it for them…” - Nelson Sivalingam.

If they understand that, they’re more likely to be engaged.

If you start creating content with that skills-first approach and context in mind, you’ll deliver learning experiences that feel relevant and can be applied in the flow of work - breaking down time as a barrier.