New research highlights the potential benefits of community-based learning, with learning and development professionals reporting higher levels of employee engagement and belonging as a result. 

Research conducted by LinkedIn Learning reflects on L&D and how this will evolve following the pandemic, including the most important skills for employees to harness and the benefits to community-based learning.

Three-quarters (75 per cent) of UK Learning and Development (L&D) professionals say that community-based learning is more important to their businesses today than before the global pandemic.

These professionals have also reflected on the numerous benefits that accompany learning with others. Over four in five (84 per cent) believe it improves employee engagement whilst almost all (94 per cent) agree that teams that learn together are ultimately more successful.  

When surveyed on the workplace learning agenda for 2021, over half of professionals (52 per cent) identified upskilling and reskilling as a focal point. A similar number (51 per cent) felt that leadership and management training would be a priority over this year.

A third (33 per cent) cited diversity and inclusion as a key part of the learning agenda whilst just over three in 10 (31 per cent) said employee wellbeing would be a primary focus for their organisation within L&D.

With COVID-19 forcing many companies to rethink how they operate and steady the pace of external recruitment, executives are looking to L&D programs to help develop the skills their organisations will need in the future.

Over two-fifths (41 per cent) of L&D professionals say that business leaders are concerned that they do not have the right skills within their organisation to execute business strategy. Almost two-fifths (38 per cent) recorded that the skills gap has widened since the onset of the pandemic.

As such, almost half (43 per cent) of L&D professionals are working closely with their organisation’s executive team to align skilling programs to revised business strategy.  

The top 5 most important skills that employees will need for the future of work according to L&D professionals are: adaptability (56 per cent), digital fluency (41 per cent), communication (31 per cent), leading through change (30 per cent), and emotional intelligence (28 per cent).

Janine Chamberlin, Senior Director at LinkedIn, said:

Many of us have spent the last year being physically distant from friends, family and colleagues, which can feel lonely and isolating. Humans are social creatures and crave community, and this is top of mind for companies as they consider employee development given the current circumstances.

Our research finds that UK organisations are encouraging employees to learn skills together which can have a positive impact on engagement and foster a sense of belonging. L&D programs are also crucial to helping organisations overcome the burgeoning skills gap. We know that reskilling employees is often less costly than hiring new talent, and the investment can spur internal mobility, boost retention and improve engagement.

* LinkedIn Learning’s ‘2021 Workplace Learning Report surveyed 150 Learning and Development professionals at UK organisations. The survey was conducted in November 2020.