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How L&D Should Help with the Post-Pandemic Skills Gap

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Over the last two years, learning and development has experienced accelerated change, with many L&D teams adapting their onboarding and training strategies to ones that can be made more accessible for remote working and hybrid working conditions.

The issue, however, is that even before the pandemic, a high-level skills gap was already emerging.

Now, as we begin to crawl our way out of the pandemic, L&D teams need to reevaluate their role in organisations and adapt accordingly to help close the skills gap that was only made greater due to COVID-19.

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How L&D Can Help 

Developing and nurturing a diverse and high-performing workforce begins with committing to ongoing and comprehensive training. A few ways L&D teams can help do that in their organisation include:

1. Focusing on upskilling and reskilling 

It seems obvious that L&D teams should need to focus on upskilling and reskilling to help close the post-pandemic skills gap, but the fact is, it’s not that simple.

With a swift digital transformation over the past few years, employees not only need to reskill and leverage existing skills, but must also train and upskill on new techniques in alignment with new and emerging digital tools and technologies.

That being said, automation has the power to make a lot of workplace roles obsolete, however, when L&D professionals focus on upskilling their teams with a modern approach, they’ll set employees up for success as roles and organisations transform.

This also means that L&D teams should not only be upskilling and reskilling the employees from other departments, but from their own as well.

Professional qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), for example, are the gold standard when it comes to ‘best practice’ in the people's profession.

These qualifications allow learners to study flexibly while gaining valuable knowledge and skills that will help them stay ahead of the learning curve and lead organisations confidently into the future.

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2. Implementing more accessible learning 

With face-to-face training no longer being the norm due to the coronavirus pandemic, L&D teams need to push to take action and implement change in their learning strategies and processes if they want to be more accessible for dispersed teams.

This means meeting with HR, C-suite leaders, and chief learning officers about making an investment in workplace learning and budgeting for more online and digital learning.

Not only will this prove to be more convenient for remote and hybrid working teams in the long term, but it will prove to be more cost-effective while also enhancing employee engagement via personalised learning.

In addition, L&D teams should focus on trends such as microlearning to help make learning more streamlined and accessible.

Microlearning focuses on breaking training into bite-sized chunks of five minutes or less and helps boost knowledge retention by upwards of 80%.

In other words, it pays to invest in learning.

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3. Creating more opportunity 

L&D teams will play an essential role in creating more opportunities for employees - at any level - in the years to come.

Aside from personalising training programmes, L&D professionals will be at the forefront of building proactive, sustainable organisations by way of tailored training programmes that will help employees upskill, reskill, and ultimately elevate or advance their careers.

As training opportunities develop, so will the role of learning and development teams as organisations adapt and strategize for better business and happier, more satisfied employees moving forward.

Taking this into consideration, there are four key points for L&D teams looking to enhance their training programmes for the future of work. These include:

  • Encouraging employees to step out of their comfort zones to explore their potential
  • Launching programmes that enable employees to engage with and learn from their peers
  • Encouraging employees to collaborate across departments with a focus on working not only strategically but operationally, and
  • Empowering employees to take risks, lead by example, and foster a culture of change and innovation across the organisation.

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A Word from DPG 

To give you further insight, we asked our CIPD L&D programme facilitator, George Wallace, what he had to say about how and why it’s so important for L&D teams to help with the post-pandemic skills gap:

"If our organisation is working on developing better customer engagement (either face 2 face of online) in a current business cycle then the skills gap that may emerge from business analysis may be developing managers and staff who have the appropriate interpersonal skills and work in teams effectively (also has implications for leadership and management).

"As a country, we have been poor at equipping people with the relevant skills and the pandemic has exacerbated this problem, at the same time as having more vacancies than there are people to fill them.

"Any learning and development initiative should cover the following point:

"An effective L&D initiative should:

  • Be focused on the short, medium, and long-term business needs first and foremost as expressed in an HR strategy and identify the key deliverables related to the notion and, in this case, a diverse and high performing workforce
  • Reflect the objectives of the HR strategy in terms of the development of the philosophy of a high performing workforce
  • Reflect on the competitive nature of the industry in question and the supply and demand of people (i.e., competition for people and competitive advantage through people and the recruitment and retention issues and challenges as related to a high performing workforce)
  • Ensure that skill gap analysis is based on the above and is codified in a competency/behaviour framework that is agreed on with business managers
  • Involve managers in the development and delivery of the process where appropriate

"As a function, it's important that our HR and L&D initiatives are easily associated to specific business objectives and that we are able to demonstrate where we add value and performance through the use of metrics alongside our strategies.

"The pandemic has exposed our poor approach to skill development which as a function we must take some responsibility for historically. As we move forward, we have an opportunity to ensure that our activities are closely tied to business needs and that what we develop in terms of skills and competencies supports the businesses we work in, now and moving forward" 



Want to learn how to help close the post-pandemic skills gap? Enrol on a 100% online CIPD programme with us today to get started. 

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