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Learning and development rises up the agenda during coronavirus

UK employees are being encouraged to learn new skills to promote team-bonding during COVID-19, according to a new report from LinkedIn.

Three-quarters (75%) of UK learning and development (L&D) professionals said community-based learning is more important in their businesses today than it was before the pandemic.

A further 84% believed it improves employee engagement, and 94% agreed that teams that learn together are ultimately more successful. 

LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report also found that employee development has become a higher business priority since the outbreak of the pandemic, as 63% of L&D professionals said their CEO has become an active champion of workplace learning.

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The report also highlighted 66% of L&D professionals agreed learning and development is focused on rebuilding or reshaping organisations this year, after remote working created gaps in communication between teams.

Janine Chamberlin, senior director at LinkedIn, said HR professionals know that skills development is not only good for employees, but good for businesses too.

Speaking to HR magazine she said: “While many companies have slowed the pace of external recruitment due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, many are looking inwards to find talent for new roles.

“This presents excellent progression opportunities for employees that want to develop new skills and benefit from a new experience within their organisation.”

Chamberlin said HR and L&D professionals are also seeing a clear benefit of skills development when it comes to employee engagement, particularly as people continue to work remotely and may be experiencing loneliness and isolation.

She said: “By encouraging teams to learn together, people feel more motivated and committed to investing their time in shared learning experiences and benefit from a ‘hive mind’.”

HR can promote the importance of skills development by curating or helping to create learning courses for employees, Chamberlin said.

She added: “Making skills development part of performance reviews, spotlighting stories of employees who have chartered their own path internally or done brilliant things with their skills outside of work, and celebrating those who embody a growth mindset, are also ways in which HR can promote the importance of skills development.”

Over half (57%) of L&D professionals in the UK agreed L&D has shifted from a 'nice to have' to a 'need to have' in 2021.

The top priorities for L&D professionals globally were identified as upskilling and reskilling (52%) leadership and management (51%) and virtual onboarding (33%).  

LinkedIn surveyed 150 L&D professionals at UK organisations in November 2020.