Lessons from the great career reshuffle: L&D is more important than ever

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Written by

Hayley Hawthorne, Ph.D.

Call it the “great resignation” or the “great reshuffle,” 2021 marked a pivotal, and unprecedented, time in the American workforce. Millions of American workers walked away from jobs across all industries and geographic regions. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, more than 3.95 million workers on average quit their jobs every month in 2021.

This massive exit has left L&D leaders across organizations asking “why?” And based on the research, answers vary, but at heart for the vast majority is a lack of learning and development opportunities.

A Learning Culture Fuels Employee Growth

Curious about this trend, Duarte conducted a survey last year of learning and development leaders. We discovered that while many employees reported having periodic to regular opportunities to learn at their organizations, many lacked strong learning cultures where staff had substantial opportunities for growth. In fact, in our research, only 18% of respondents rated the learning and development culture as “high” at their organization.

This is a bar chart which shows how learning and development professionals rate the learning & development culture within their organization. Only 18% rate the L&D culture as high, 44% rate their culture as good, 30% rate their culture as moderate, and 6% rate their culture as low.

Note: 1% of respondents indicated “N/A I don’t know.” Results do not add up to 100 because rounding was involved in the reporting

But there is hope, as organizations are increasingly taking notice and committing to investing in L&D. We found that 76% of respondents predicted their learning and development budgets will either increase or stay the same in 2022.

Predicted 2022 L&D budget investment

This graphic shows that most organizations plan to invest in up-skilling their workers. 40% of L&D professionals expect their budget to stay the same, 35% feel their budget will increase, 15% did not know how their budget would change, and 9% of L&D respondents said their budget will decrease

Invest in Talent to Accelerate Performance

Developing a culture of learning and development is an investment, not just into individuals and their skill development, but into the organization as a whole. With organizations struggling to retain and fill roles, competition for top talent will become fiercer. According to PwC’s 2021 “Pulse Survey: Next in Work” report, companies should expect potential candidates to “negotiate hard” for “expanded benefits such as career growth and upskilling opportunities.”

See how your 2022 L&D spending compares to other companies in by downloading our learning and development and power skills report

As organizations leverage L&D to attract and retain workers, more opportunities become available for learning in online and hybrid formats. PwC found that at least 56% of employees prefer to work remote some to all of the time. Additionally, Duarte found that 79% of L&D professionals say the future of work will be hybrid, with 71% reporting the future of corporate training will be hybrid.

Graphic which shows 79% of L&D professionals feel the future of work will be hybrid, and 7!% feel the future of training will be hybrid

Duarte also asked L&D leaders where they plan to spend their training dollars in 2022, which offered revealing insights. When asked to select all that apply, we found many plan to invest in online training options.

Which types of training does your organization plan to invest time and money into in 2022? Select all that apply. (Other=0%)

This bar chart showcases the answers L&D professionals provided when asked to identify which type of training their organization planned to invest time and money into in 2022. 58% indicated live online training, 58% indicated blended and hybrid training, 57% answered self-directed online training, 45% indicated webinars and recorded videos, 36% stated live in-person training, 24% said apps or other digital tools, and 11% did not know.

Similarly, when asked to identify which training modality L&D planned to invest in most in 2022, there was a clear preference for online training – as evidenced by the top 3 answers to the above question. Specifically, it appears that more investments will be made in blended or hybrid training, along with live online training.

Which training methods do you predict your organization will invest in MOST in 2022?

This horizontal bar chart showcases the answers L&D professionals provided to the question which training method to you predict your organization will invest in most in 2022? 29% stated blended or hybrid training, 27% indicated live online training, 20% said self-directed online training, 12% chose live in-person training, 5% selected apps or other digital tools, 5% did not know, and 3% selected webinars and recorded videos

Note: Results do not add up to 100% because rounding was involved in the reporting

With the global corporate training market “projected to reach $417.2 billion by 2027,” according to Allied Market Research, and with workers wanting training opportunities, it is critical to get training right.

This comes down to providing the right training opportunities that meet employees where they are: in a digital setting.

Yet, not every organization can invest at the same level to build L&D capabilities in house. In fact, Duarte found that 42% of organizations outsource power skills training to third-party vendors. When choosing the right training vendor, it’s essential to look for high-quality training content, skilled facilitators, and a knowledgeable and professional staff.

When choosing a training vendor, how important are the following factors? (0-10)

This vertical bar chart shows the most important factors L&D professionals consider when choosing a training vendor. From most important to least important, these are: 1) vendor content quality, 2) skill of vendor's facilitators, 3) knowledge and professionalism of vendor staff, 4) expertise in soft skills, 5) proven success in similar projects, 6) vendor alignment with culture and values, 7) customization of training to meet client needs, 8) vendor offering live interactive online training, 9) providing post-training reinforcement opportunities, 10) low and/or affordable pricing, 11) vendor use of cutting edge delivery methods, 12) offering of self-paced online learning options, 13) providing strong reporting and/or data, 14) financial stability of vendor, 15) vendor offers live in-person training options, 16) vendor is recommended by a contact, 17) vendor has geographic reach, and 18) vendor provides training in a variety of languages

As organizations continue to adapt to the ever-changing world of work, it is important to elevate learning and development opportunities for employees. Adopting a high learning culture, meeting learners where they are at, and choosing the right training vendor are good first steps to improving talent attraction and retention.

Learn which power skills are needed for success in 2022 by downloading our learning and development and power skills report