Deep Thoughts

Decoding the 2022 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report

Firstly, 56 pages! really? That was a struggle for my poor eyes.

Ok, so this is my unsolicited and unauthorised breakdown of the latest workplace learning report from the folks at LinkedIn.

Historically I have provided a somewhat tongue in cheek sarcastic review of these reports, but this one did all right. I’m not saying it’s the Mona Lisa of learning reports or anything but it did well.

The purpose of this is not to regurgitate what’s already in the report but rather to pull out the bits I feel are interesting to share and give you a bit of commentary in my own words.

Essentially just sharing my thoughts – I mean this newsletter is called Steal These Thoughts ya know!

The Great Reshuffle?

Props to the LI team playing it safe with the title here. I’ve heard this movement called all sorts of things from resignation, reset, retaliation (my personal favourite) and many more.

Whatever you call this societal movement the outcome has all been about transformation. And, more specifically, how can we get better at embracing transformation on a more frequent basis?

Above are the takeaways that the LI team found. Number 2 is of great interest to me as a big chunk of my thinking is around building T-shaped HR professionals (more on that in future thoughts).

I’ve always championed the interoperability of skills of the modern-day learning professional across the full range of the HR/People world and beyond. Today it’s not about your job titles, but your skills. To thrive, we must embrace skills, mindsets and ideas that have not been associated with the walled garden of the learning world in order to best serve others

So, for me, thinking beyond the historical skills in our world and looking to develop our own talent stack will be essential to longevity in this industry.

What’s hot on the agenda

Ok, so these are the top 4 areas that organisations are pouring their often minimal L&D budget into.

Firstly, it’s great to see the focus on skills. Not really surprised by that as you’ve heard me bang on about being skills-focused vs chasing titles.

With pandemics, metaverses and the changing landscape of how we work. All of us in some way will be adapting what we do and how we do it, so new and evolved skills will be on the agenda for each of us.

Secondly, leadership and management training just never seems to budge, does it?

The more I reflect on the last few years, the more I understand just how complex the role of a people leader has become. It’s such an important position to be in, and it’s by no means easy.

I know many who would rather take on complex projects than move into the realm of supporting other humans and navigating through the very challenging field of emotions.

We have to remember that being responsible for others is not for everyone. Hence why, in my opinion, most career models are broken as they force everyone to take the same path to the management role.

From my POV, the pandemic created an awakening where we all demanded each other to be more human. Essentially, to care more for each other and do this not just on a professional level, but on a personal one too. We expect managers to genuinely mean it when they say, “how are you doing?”. Not the throwaway gesture it has been for decades before.

Saying all this, I’m seeing some good, bad and of course ugly approaches to development in this area.

In my own world, I’ve been getting really excited about experimenting with new tools like the Emotional Culture Deck to promote real human conversations. I find that everyone has good intentions, but our industry can easily make the simple rather complex with poor design.

Being a good leader just like being a better human is a continuous journey. So, I don’t see this ever leaving the top of mind lists for our industry.

Last but most certainly not least, we have the DEI (and we can probably include wellbeing here) entry crashing in these last few years. I love that organisations are doing more in this space but am also frustrated that they expect learning teams to be the answer to this.

I could write another post just on this topic alone but I’ll save you the rant.

The long and short of it is that our learning teams cannot do this alone. We’re part of the solution, yes. But not the silver bullet. This is a cultural shift that needs support and co-creation from all areas of an organisation.

L&D functions are not going to change anything on a DEI and wellbeing front alone.

Intrigued to see how this evolves over the next few years and how organisations as a whole will approach this together. Watch this space as they say.

Getting nerdy with our own skills

Let’s talk about skills, shall we?

Specifically our own skills in the industry. I find we don’t do this enough as a community. We focus on everyone else so much that we forget ourselves and make sure we’re up to the level needed to deliver awesome work.

Below is the view from LI on what they think will be added to our profiles from a skills perspective over the next 12 months.

I hope that a lot of this is wrong as it’s not exactly revolutionary for the skills we really need. The top 6 are basically expected and have been part of the core we’ve worshipped for decades. The two in learning tech and analytics at 7th and 8th place are the ones that I hope actually end up placing higher by year’s end.

Building on this, we get some tangible data on where people in our industry feel they need to grow in the future. This data comes courtesy of the amazing team at Redthread Research, whose works I love so much.

The research was crafted from the responses of over 300 fellow L&D professionals to the question “What 3 skills do you feel L&D functions will need for the future”. These responses were categorised into 30 individual skills and then categorised further into groups of skills.

I think we have a good set of focuses here and very encouraging to see that more of us are thinking about building more t-shaped skills vs siloed ones.

My favourite quote from the whole report comes from Dani Johnson, Co-Founder at RedThread Research, who said: 

And that’s it from my commentary on this year’s report folks.

Of course, the report contains much more content but none that I feel is out of the ordinary from previous reports and those from other companies. These as always are my takeaways and thoughts. I’m sure you have your own, and I’d love to hear these too. 

You can share these with me in the comments below ⬇️

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