Authors – Alejandra Jourdan, CrossKnowledge Academy Manager + Jan Rijken, Wiley-CrossKnowledge Learning Director & Visiting Professor at IE Business School.
We have never before faced this uncertainty as L&D professionals, but now must seize this opportunity to refocus and reprioritize key learning initiatives to make our organization competitive again.
Identifying challenges and offering support
Following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, CrossKnowledge experts around the globe got in touch with clients to find out how they were doing, what corporate learning challenges they were facing and where they needed support. It quickly became apparent that most L&D leaders were struggling to turn their formerly efficient L&D operations into a remote support unit, with digital learning as the only delivery channel for target employees.
In addition to the 1-1 support needs, it became clear that there was an urgent demand for articles and research on the impact of the pandemic on corporate learning. Clients needed a space to share and learn in a ‘trusted’ L&D community, so Crossknowledge responded with their Reboot Camp, a 4-week blended online journey designed by CK learning experts and supported by the CrossKnowledge Academy. Clients from all over the world helped contribute to the initiative through their active participation.
128 professionals 28 companies 76 countries
This post-containment initiative had clear benefits for participants – peer-to peer connections, access to premium resources and expert knowledge, and a forum to brainstorm practical ideas and solutions for use in their learning environment. The opportunity for support and collaboration was welcomed with great passion and openness. The Reboot Camp was the perfect opportunity to discuss challenges and lessons learned to grow as a community.
The Reboot Camp Itinerary
Team welcome: Introduction and pinpointing corporate learning challenges in an a-synchronous setting.
Team check-up: A facilitated VC-session with summary and prioritization of shared challenges, with interactive sessions on how to turn face-to-face training into digital formats plus identifying the skills that L&D needs to deliver to support business objectives.
Team oxygen: Use of curated resources (articles, research, data) for and by participants to encourage reflection on how to meet pressing new people development challenges.
Team action & exchange: A dedicated session to share best practices, lessons learned, and moving ahead.
Team resilience: Another facilitated VC-session focused on engagement, inspiration, and building a continuous learning platform.
Interesting insights from the Reboot Camp
Based on the richness of the exchanges and the zeal of the participants, we were able to draw many insights regarding how things will likely change for organizations and L&D teams, and the best way to meet corporate learning challenges and look to the future.
Impact on the organization and budget investments
It is now clearer than ever that the corporate workforce needs to be reskilled, upskilled or even outskilled. This is especially true in the case of organizations that need to lay-off part of their staff and want to prepare them for the labor market. Going forward there will be a higher priority to mix hard and soft skills to enable employability. But how can this be done when 50% of the organizations expect substantial impact on their L&D budget? One way to achieve workplace impact for learning investments is strong line manager support and recognition. Another priority for almost every organization will be developing true learning ecosystem integration.
In a more practical sense, the crisis is driving digital (learning) transformation, which means remote working is taking on a bigger role. This means that collaboration and conference tools will remain an essential part of training. All face-to-face learning will likely be put on hold for as long as limitations on large gatherings and travel remain. But there will likely be a more long term impact, as evidenced by the growth in demand, usage and appreciation of digital learning.
Impact on L&D teams and the learning offer
The current economy will likely guide the learning offer and approach, at least for the short term. The digital learning blend has changed in response to the pandemic. There is currently more demand for online coaching, online events and online collaboration. L&D needs to progress from transactional mode to transformational mode to stay ahead of the changes. Major impact is expected for L&D teams, their capabilities, and the make-buy decision for learning investments through the end of 2020 and maybe into 2021.
Access to learning, coupled with speed and agility to create just-in-time solutions are now vital to meet learner demands. Two new L&D focus areas that took center stage during the crisis are remote-digital working skills and health & wellbeing. In addition, there is an emerging focus on new skills in leadership development, empathy, trust, leading remote teams, resilience. There is coupled with an increasing demand for learner data, from usage to impact, to ensure learning outcomes and demonstrate ROI. These are positive advancements that will benefit employees and L&D well into the future.
How to ensure L&D remains a priority in your organization
Based on our findings from the Reboot Camp, we can assume that in the immediate future, L&D budgets will likely be redirected and/or reduced. There might even be an added pressure for companies to down-size their L&D teams. However, digital learning remains an essential part of an organization’s growth, so L&D is encouraged to collaborate with their IT department to explore how to optimize the use of existing learning technology and engage all learners. In parallel they will have to transition to a new learning solutions blend, with a higher degree of digital learning and a substantial reduction of classroom training. The key is to stay agile and anticipate or adapt to any changes.
Given L&D’s expertise and agility, they can make this transition to deliver new solutions based on business needs. The main concern in this phase is whether employees will have the time to learn, and whether line managers will create a supportive learning climate while the business tries to regain traction. In these challenging times for L&D, the Reboot Camp provided the participants with an environment to continue their learning journey, keep connected and benefit from a community of L&D expertise.