By Linda Jingfang Cai
In today’s talent market, uncertainty reigns. Some sectors have seen big cuts while others have more open roles than their candidates. Across the board, there is a rapid evolution of skills, with the pandemic accelerating digital transformation and with the rise of remote work fundamentally changing how we work together. Developing a workforce that can adapt to continuous change is a top priority for CEOs.
Leaders recognize that success requires organizational agility, and learning is the fuel to do that. In fact, 89% of organizations agree that proactive skills building will help them navigate the future of work, says recent LinkedIn data appeared.
Speed Building Skills
However, large-scale skill development and innovation initiatives are progressing at the speed of molasses. Amua 2023 Workplace Learning Report shows that 40% of companies are still in the early stages, selling their program to stakeholders and forming their teams; 54% are in the middle stage, developing and activating programs; and only 2% said they had completed a program. Four percent have not yet started.
This is not meant to discourage anyone. The unprecedented number of employee resignations in the past two years has taught all companies a valuable lesson: only organizations that understand and prioritize what their people want will thrive. Companies that ignore the importance of employee growth risk having a workforce that is anxious, fearful, and unable to resist change.
But there is a path to unlock faster learning and create a culture that fosters continuous change and innovation. To facilitate skill building, organizations need career-oriented learning at the individual level.
This method uses strong motivation: the desire of each employee for professional growth. The Workplace Learning Report shows “progress toward career goals” is No. 1 reason employees want to learn.
Three Moves to Spark Agility
The chaos of the pandemic has opened everyone’s eyes to the reality of constant change. Employees themselves see the need to expand their skills to grow or stay relevant. Companies can power this growth with lighter-weight cultural changes that open new paths for more people. Here’s what we tested on LinkedIn:
- Celebrate career transitions. That goes beyond promotion—it can include learning a skill or taking on a project. Organizations should provide time and space for employees to invest in personal and professional development, such as through mentoring programs and an internal career roadmapping tool. LinkedIn hosts an annual Super Learner Campaign that celebrates those who are at the forefront of learning and growth.
- Cultivating collaboration in employee development. In talent reviews, executives need to lean in as functional leaders to promote their people, get feedback from peers, and collaborate on development plans, including networking, shadowing , and rotations.
- Replace haphazard career guidance with fair, thoughtful resources. Talking about your career aspirations with your manager can be intimidating. LinkedIn has created resources for its managers and employees to have high-quality career planning conversations, and for each of its employees to understand the expectations for their role and how they can continue their career.
The job is a long journey, but we’re already getting good feedback from employees, and more than 80% of LinkedIn employees have clear career goals for the next two years, according to our engagement survey .
The C-Suite Seeks Solutions
These transitions require planning and action from company leadership. And the work is just beginning. Only 16% of surveyed employees said their organization helped them create a career development plan, and only 15% said their organization encouraged them to move into one. new role.
The good news? The C-suite is paying attention. The top priority of workforce executives is “keeping employees motivated and engaged,” according to a LinkedIn-commissioned YouGov survey of C-level executives. Their second priority is to “provide employees with opportunities to move into different roles within the business.”
Internal mobility is a sign of agility and critical for sustainability. An employee who makes an internal move by their two-year mark has a 75% chance of staying with the company. For learning and development (L&D) leaders, mobility and retention represent opportunities to align programs directly with business objectives—a top focus for L&D leaders for 2023, according to our Report on Learning in the Workplace.
Create Agility in Holistic HR
But building an adaptable and resilient workforce is a bigger challenge than any department can handle. To do this, every team within your HR organization needs to be cross-functional.
Fortunately, this shift is ongoing, and L&D is at the forefront: 77% of L&D pros have become more cross-functional in the past year. In particular, they deepen relationships with talent management partners; employee engagement; and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as well as a variety of department heads.
Leaders must work together to overcome any cultural stigma around “sourcing.” It should be easier for employees to discover internal job opportunities. That signals an employee-focused, future culture—one where people want to stay and build their own agile careers.
Let Learning Lead
Many obstacles stand in the way of large-scale initiatives. But a career-driven culture of continuous learning empowers individuals to take great strides. An immediate advantage is an organization that can respond quickly to challenges and opportunities. And the ultimate value is the long-term success of the business—no matter what the future holds.
Check out the 2023 Workplace Learning Report to learn more about how to meet this opportunity with agility, including insights and actions to help L&D lead the way.
Linda Jingfang Cai is LinkedIn’s VP of talent development.