In the space of only two years, our expectations of where and how people work have vastly changed. At the same time, mass resignations in some industries and geographies have led commentators to speak of the ‘Great Resignation’ or the ‘Great Rethink’ – signalling an ongoing debate about why people work. While the pandemic has been credited as a catalyst for these changes, it is better understood as an accelerator and enabler of workplace transformations that were already underway.
Technological innovation, increasing complexity, uncertainty and competitiveness in the business landscape, demographic shifts, and climate change are powerful forces that have been reshaping organisations, their workforces, and what is required of them for some time now.
What has perhaps been neglected in the heated debates about hybrid working is what workplace transformation means for corporate learning. The forces described above have shortened the lifespan of knowledge and placed a premium on upskilling and reskilling – whether to support digital transformation, innovation, the business transformation to sustainability, multigenerational working, adaptability to change, or leading in a hybrid workplace. 87% of executives report skills gaps in their organisation, according to research by McKinsey, and addressing that gap could result in a $6.5 trillion uplift of global GDP by 2030, according to the World Economic Forum.
At the same time, learning and development is a key tool for attraction and retention in a fiercely competitive talent marketplace. A 2019 study from LinkedIn found that 94% of employees said they would stay with their current employer if it invested in their development.
In short, high performance requires that companies attract and retain skilled employees and exceptional leaders capable of building and rapidly, continually evolving complex knowledge. Learning is a key strategic lever that organisations can pull in service of these goals.
In this report, which builds on CRF’s 2017 report, Learning – The Foundation for Agility and Sustainable Performance, we explore why learning is critical to today’s organisation; what the future demands of individual learners, teams, and organisations; and the implications for the learning function.
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