top trends for 2023 in learning and development

The Top Learning and Development Trends for 2023

Change is coming, whether you’re prepared or not. The World Economic Forum has set a goal to reskill one billion people by 2030 to meet the changes ahead. As a leader, it’s crucial to stay on top of the shifts your organization will need to make to remain competitive. Identifying the top learning and development trends for 2023 can help you implement those that will benefit your employees and company most.

Give yourself the space to pause and consider what changes are happening in your industry and how your company may need to adapt. Most importantly, ask yourself if you’ll have the talent you’ll require to meet the future needs of your organization.

Which companies stand to gain the most from their centering learning in their talent development strategy? The ones who understand that “people first” isn’t just a buzzword. It’s a mindset shift that can guide your learning and development planning and impact your preparation for the future.

In this blog post about learning, talent, and development trends, we’ll explore:

  • Why learning and development is critical right now
  • 8 top learning and development trends for 2023
  • How L&D strategies are tied to growth in your organization

Why learning and development is critical heading into 2023

Companies face a host of HR challenges as they begin a new year. More than 19 million people in the U.S. have left their jobs. Companies have started shedding their workforces. And yet there are tens of thousands of jobs open. How can workplaces recover and shift to developing their top talent?

Let’s start with the reasons people quit jobs. Over 40% of respondents in McKinsey’s 2022 Great Attrition, Great Attraction 2.0 global survey said they left their previous job due to a lack of career development and opportunities to advance within the company. It was the top reason for quitting, beating out inadequate compensation.

Building learning and development strategies that meet the needs of both your organization and its employees can help boost retention, increase engagement, and make for a happier, healthier workforce.

We know organizations need proactive strategies to hold onto their best employees and prepare for the future. Creating learning pathways that meet the needs of both the company and its employees can drive significant benefits, and paying attention to trends that affect these plans is vital.

8 Top Learning and Development Trends for 2023

Figuring out how to deliver meaningful learning experiences in an increasingly complex world of work will challenge HR leaders throughout the year. We’ll see more strategic action that supports employees in their current roles and helps prepare them for future roles.

Monitoring the trends taking shape across multiple industries can help you navigate the changes to come and prepare your organization for the future you envision.

Let’s look at the top learning and development trends for 2023 and, more importantly, why they matter to your business.

  1. The future of work

    In a constantly changing landscape, predictions are tricky. But talking about the future of work is necessary when anticipating future talent needs. Where do you see your organization in five or even ten years? Addressing your immediate hiring and training needs is essential, but being strategic means looking much further ahead.

    When you connect your learning and development strategies to your other business planning, you can ensure you’ll have the people you need ready to accomplish your broader organizational goals in the coming years.

  2. Developing your leaders

    Your leadership team is likely made up of confident, accomplished leaders with deep expertise in their fields. Yet, many senior-level staff need development themselves to be sure they are the strong leaders your organization needs.

    Why is it imperative to develop your leaders? In a recent McKinsey survey, 75% of respondents said their immediate boss was the most stressful part of their job. Strong leadership affects retention, and those who regularly demonstrate behaviors such as coaching, listening, and being accessible to employees can help you retain your best talent. Employees often leave bad managers, so adding leadership development to your strategy is a smart bet.

  3. Upskilling your existing workforce

    Companies need to be more strategic about assessing skills gaps and filling them from within. This requires upskilling employees to meet future needs, but doing so proactively can help you avoid high turnover.

    The skills gaps facing many organizations are dramatic. According to Gartner, 64% of managers don’t think their employees have the skills they’ll need in the future, while 70% of employees report they do not have mastery of the skills they need for their jobs.

    When HR leaders can build capacity across teams to gain the skills needed by the organization for future growth, both your employees and your company benefits.

  4. Redefining workplace learning

    Creating a learning culture in your organization will take more than just a cookie-cutter approach to training. You must embrace ongoing learning, with employees continuing to build essential skills.

    Personalized learning incorporates what and how people want to learn. For employees to value learning experiences and put them to use in their work, they need to learn skills relevant to their work and useful in the future they envision in the organization.

    Retention will depend on your company supporting employees’ development and helping to prepare them for future roles. HR leaders will need to consider the career pathways of their employees and how they move through the organization over time.

  5. Skills-based hiring

    Another interesting trend that’s developing is hiring for existing skills and potential, rather than following entrenched patterns of hiring people with certain degrees or academic qualifications. Employers seem to be lowering degree requirements across a variety of disciplines, with reductions seen in 63% of occupations.

    In the past, many organizations made assumptions about capabilities based on education, and those hiring practices lingered in many industries. Today, companies are more likely to hire based on applicants’ skills rather than their schooling.

    There are also shifts in hiring for human skills, which are now highly sought after, over technical skills. In a recent study of labor market trends across the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and Australia, five power skills were identified as most desirable by employers: leadership, collaboration, communication, attention to detail, and customer service.

  6. Delivering training to a hybrid workforce

    Where and how you offer learning experiences will need to change in a virtual and hybrid work world. Larger companies may find little use in sprawling corporate training facilities in a single location. Distributed teams and virtual workforces will have different needs when offering ongoing development opportunities, and personalized learning is still vital for these employees.

    You must embrace new delivery systems to bring learning to your people, and online platforms can deliver remote training that is customized to each individual on your team. Ideally, the learning structure follows that of the work, which may mean online or hybrid programming. Exploring options for blended, virtual, or on-demand learning, pop-up training campuses, and streaming technology should help make learning more accessible to your employees.

  7. Digital transformation

    The need for digital literacy in our workforce is no longer optional. Most companies need their employees to master these skills and routinely use new technologies in their jobs. It’s relevant to nearly every department and role in your organization. For this reason alone, it’s a trend to monitor closely and address when setting goals for learning and development.

    The flip side of digital transformation is changing learning in the workplace and opening up new avenues for delivering training to employees. HR leaders have new options to create learning journeys for employees that are tied to their roles and career pathways. More data can help HR pros develop better training programs that more closely align with the needs of the employee and company goals.

  8. Supporting employee wellbeing

    Your organization may go beyond professional development to explore how you can support employees personally as well. This might include wellness programs to keep your team mentally and physically healthy, or proactive conversations about work-life balance (and policies that support it).

    Keeping employees happy at work can contribute to better engagement. Creating a caring culture where people feel supported can ensure your best employees feel valued enough to stay with your company.

Learning is Tied to Organizational Growth

Perhaps one of the more significant shifts, as we head into 2023, is recognizing that learning often equals growth. Organizations with ambitious goals for the latter should consider how they support the former.

Learning and development can help create a better employee experience with enhanced career opportunities and proactive learning pathways. But it also can help your company achieve its goals for growth and future success by supporting other key business priorities.

These top learning and development trends for 2023 underscore why learning and development is so closely tied to business success.