Employers hope program participation will grow

Soft Skills Are Learning and Development Strategy Targets in 2020 - Talent Intelligence More than a third (37 percent) of learning and development professionals expect their budget will rise this year—and globally, increasing learner engagement is the top priority, according to a new survey.

Specific employee learning and development goals vary somewhat by country. In Canada, evaluating the impact of learning is the highest priority.

Enabling self-directed learning through online solutions is the No. 1 learning and development goal in Germany, India and Australia. In the U.K., L&D professionals say identifying, tracking and closing skills gaps is their main priority.

Manager Support is Critical 

Although 24 percent of L&D professionals currently don’t measure learning engagement, ones who do define it in different ways. Most gauge engagement through the amount of course completions; followed by learner satisfaction surveys and minutes spent per month learning.

A number describe the manager’s role in employee training as something that can present a challenge. Learning and development professionals say getting managers to make learning a priority, creating a culture of learning and increasing learner engagement are central objectives this year.

Manager encouragement can be particularly influential for some age groups, according to the survey findings. Forty-four percent of Gen Z workers say they’d spend more time learning if it was recognized by their manager. Thirty-six percent of millennials and 28 percent of Gen X employees feel the same way.

How Employers Establish Educational Topics

Regionally, L&D professionals turn to different sources to determine their employee learning and development strategy. In the U.S., Germany and Canada, professionals rely on recommendations from business leaders and managers to identify which skills are the most important for employees to learn.

In the U.K., learning and development professionals tend to monitor business KPI and key metrics. In India and Australia, they pinpoint potential skills instruction topics by identifying emerging industry trends.

Nearly half — 43 percent — plan on reskilling a portion of their workforce this year; more than half (51 percent) intend to offer upskilling programs.

Soft skills appear to be more in demand than more technical ones. L&D professionals say leadership and management are currently the highest priority skills. Creative problem solving and design thinking, along with communication abilities, are also crucial skills, according to respondents.

For more information about the employee learning and development findings, download a copy of the report on the survey results from LinkedIn.