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A large percentage of the global workforce is transitioning to remote work in 2021, finding methods and technologies to perform in-person tasks from behind a screen. Throughout the rest of the year, we want to examine how Learning and Development teams can maintain a new normal in a constantly evolving, mostly digital workplace. As we move forward, let's use the ups and downs of 2020 to discuss the trends we believe you should embrace this year.

As our world becomes increasingly digital, access to learning and development opportunities continues to improve. Today, it’s possible to learn more about almost anything online, and companies are taking note. Here are five learning and development (L&D) trends to be aware of this year.

1. The Continued Transition to Online and Remote Work

This one should come as no surprise—many companies shifted to remote work models during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a boom in online and remote options. Many employees realized that they prefer the work-life balance that remote work allows and have since switched companies to avoid returning to an office. Expect online and remote work to continue at least into the next few years, if not permanently. Read the best practices for productive Zoom meetings here.

2. Upskilling and Reskilling 

The beauty of the Internet is that it’s easier than ever to connect with or learn from an expert in a given space. Whether you choose to do that by watching YouTube videos, reading articles, taking online courses, or just reaching out to the best of the best in your field, there’s never been a better time to fill in the gaps in your skills. Plus, many companies are emphasizing continued education and industry expertise over time, so it’s a win-win. 

Here are some websites you can visit to help grow your skills and encourage your employees to do the same:

LinkedIn Learning (previously Lynda.com)

LinkedIn Learning (previously Lynda.com) is one of the best-known platforms for professional and personal development. It offers over 6,000 video-based courses in business, technology, and creative skills.

Coursera

Coursera offers over 2000 courses from some of the top universities in subjects like business, computer science, and data science. There is a 7-day free trial and then different monthly fees depending on the courses you choose.

Udemy

With 65,000 courses, Udemy offers the widest variety of topics to choose from. Courses are taught by industry experts who set their own rates and curriculum. Courses range in price from free to $100 (you can get your first course for $14.99). 

3. Workplace Well-Being and Mental Health

Thankfully, another trend we see in the L&D space is a focus on workplace well-being and mental health. L&D teams are often responsible for keeping employees informed about how they might do or feel better at work, and today, that includes a conversation around mental health and burnout. Hopefully, we’ll see most companies take this one step further and create policies that directly support employees’ mental health. Find out how you can promote mental health awareness in your workplace here.

4. Increased Focus on Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

In recent years, companies have been held accountable for their diversity and inclusion practices—or lack thereof. Many organizations that did not prioritize diversity in the past are changing their ways, and part of the process is Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) training. Expect to see even more of this in the future as companies correct their biased practices. Read about the top diversity and inclusion training programs for 2021 here.

5. Rise in Talent Development as a Part of Company Culture

As we navigate a work revolution, we see companies shift their focus to talent development. Talent development initiatives allow companies to benefit from the strengths and abilities of their employees more than ever. By incorporating this into their company culture, businesses have strengthened their team through retaining quality employees and promoting workplace growth. Talent development initiatives offer employees an opportunity to learn and expand in their areas of interest, producing happier and more productive employees. Learn how Merritt Business Solutions can help your business with talent development through co-employment here.

As you can see, L&D is an exciting space to keep an eye on in 2021. These trends are only the beginning of what we’re likely to see in the coming years and decades. If you’re missing out on the benefits of these five developments, take some time to brainstorm a process to bring these trends to your team. We can’t wait to see what you accomplish.

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