Why L&D will be a C-suite value post-pandemic

How can HR help employees take charge of their own futures?

Why L&D will be a C-suite value post-pandemic

There’s no denying that the past few months have been anything but easy. COVID-19 brought about cataclysmic changes to both our private and our professional lives – acting as a catalyst for disruption and upheaval.

Looking ahead to 2021, employers are hesitant about what skills will be needed in order to thrive in this ‘new normality’. What trends will we see coming to the fore? How can employees take charge of their own futures?

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To that end, HRD spoke to Pamela Stroko, VP, HCM transformation & thought leadership at Oracle – sponsor of HRD’s upcoming L&D Summit. Stroko began by talking us through some of the key themes organizations will see emerging in the coming months.

“The first trend will be learning playing a larger part in overall organizational strategy,” revealed Stroko. “People have always craved development - they want a clear career path. The pandemic meant a switch to remote working – which in turn led to a decline in personal development. People felt like if they weren’t physically in an office then they simply weren’t being seen.”

Stroko believes learning will play a big role in skills development – particularly for senior executive roles. Currently, C-suite leaders are having a talent crisis – one which could threaten to impact the next generation of leaders.

“Companies report not being able to find the right talent,” she told HRD. “This is only going to intensify.”

In order to combat this talent gap, senior executives have been considering what skills they’ll need to perfect in order to thrive this year. The shift from a physical office to a WFH situation meant that leaders had to think seriously about how they could lead remotely. 

“Does anyone really know when we’ll be heading back into the office?” mused Stroko. “Some people are saying July, some August, some even December. As such, we really need managers that can lead people through this disruption and uncertainty – but from a distance. One of the aspects executives need to focus on is building relationships with employees when they’re not in the same space. And this applies to customers too. How can leaders continue to engage with clients from a remote point of view? How do we plan for the growth that's coming? How do we prepare for employee upskilling? There’s lots to consider for the C-suite.”

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A renewed focus on individual, self-sufficient, employee development is something that lost momentum thanks to COVID-19. Prior to the pandemic, people were taking charge of their own learning, in a sort of Netflix-style approach to development. However, as we entered emergency mode, priorities shifted more towards ‘survive’ than ‘thrive’.

“Companies have to assure their people that there’ll be opportunities for development in the future,” added Stroko. “Upskilling your workforce is a 51%-49% proposition. The 51% responsibility falls to the company, to make sure that learning opportunities are available to employees – that they have the resources on hand. The 49% is the job of the employee. After the organization provides them with the necessary tools, it’s on the individuals to grow their own skills and take charge of their futures.”

To hear more from Stroko and other leading industry professionals, sign up to HRD’s upcoming L&D Summit here.

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