Tips to Survive Unprecedented Uncertainty from L&D Professionals

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Nearly two years after a global pandemic that dramatically changed how people work and learn, learning and development (L&D) professionals are taking stock of where they are now, and what the future holds.

In a recent panel discussion held at Inkling Iluminate 2021, we heard from L&D professionals who were not only able to weather the pandemic, but also solve old challenges in new ways due to necessity. They shared leadership tips with us that helped them remain agile and responsive during a time when chaos and uncertainty were the norm.

Acknowledge That Things Won’t Go Back to Normal

The panelists represented a wide range of industries including hospitality, non-profit, and education technology. All of them said a key to their success going into the pandemic was to acknowledge that things were changing and would continue to do so. Yet, business still had to get done.

A major shift had to happen quickly where frontline workers, students, teachers, and management all had to move from in-person environments to remote—while staying connected. This, in and of itself, brought new challenges: how to duplicate the same interactive, in-person learning experience when everyone is remote, how to keep employees safe, engaged, and informed, and how to make new employees feel connected to the larger organization.

Reimagine the Digital Learning Experience

While many panelists already had digital learning programs, they were still dated when it came to an immersive and interactive experience. Most involved employees or students watching a video or reading material on a screen and taking assessments.

All panelists agreed that a great digital learning experience was vital to how the organization managed the challenges of constant change, the success of remote working and learning, and the maintenance of customer satisfaction.

Tips to Survive Unprecedented Uncertainty from L&D Professionals

New tools and new ideas enabled these L&D professionals to collaborate on content to include more interaction, a variety of media, and microlearning. A modern operational learning platform meant that learning and training content was no longer static, it could evolve and be accessible anytime, anywhere from any device.

It all comes down to how agile L&D teams could be in creating, delivering, and tracking learning or training as one panelist put it, “lightspeed!” These L&D professionals discovered that a true digital experience was more than just putting content online. It was about connection, no matter where employees and students happened to be.

Track Metrics, Get Feedback and Apply Lessons Learned

Any L&D professional will tell you they constantly look at active users, the number of views, click rates, and time spent. The key difference is having dashboards that make sense of metrics and show true ROI. A few of our panelists said they tie incentives to the completion of training, which enables them to get those KPIs that executives want to see.

These panelists also all said that getting feedback from employees, students, and managers is key to continuous improvement. One panelist explained how his company applied lessons they learned from the pandemic to blend hybrid learning into more areas of the business.

The future doesn’t seem as uncertain for most of our panelists. They all have plans to continue to expand the digital learning experience as well as bring back in-person learning where it makes sense. But, they all feel more ready (and excited) to take on whatever the future may hold.

To discover more leadership tips, be sure to watch the replay of the session, Strategic Leadership Panel Discussion.