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Learning and Development | 4 Min Read

Top 12 Learning and Development Trends to Look Out for in 2020

Top 12 Latest Learning and Development Trends in 2020

We, at Mercer | Mettl, conducted a comprehensive survey to understand the recent learning and development trends in modern-day organizations. We collated responses from more than 300 organizations to understand the latest trends and challenges faced by them in undertaking learning and development initiatives.

0_Why Your Organization Should Care About Cognitive Assessment--11. Organizations Are Planning to Increase Their L&D Spend by 13%

Mercer | Mettl’s ‘Workplace Learning and Development Report 2020’ suggests that organizations globally are planning to increase their L&D budget by 13% in the year 2020. This indicates how organizations intend to lay more emphasis on their learning and development initiatives to retain the existing talent pool through engagement and training. With 60% of organizations planning to increase their L&D spend in 2020, the idea of investing in L&D among industry stakeholders seems to be gaining mainstream currency.

L&D_Budget2. 49% of Organizations Spend Their L&D Budget on Operations

Our survey revealed that 49% of organizations spend their L&D budget on operations. Operations is an essential function as it brings real business value for companies. As the competition intensifies across industries, there is a meager scope of arbitrage among various products. Thus, the seamless execution of business strategy has emerged as a unique differentiation, separating good from excellent companies.

0_core-function-across-industries3. Core Functions Are a Focus Across Industries

Almost all businesses spent their most significant chunk of financial resources in improving the skills of their core function teams. Whether it is IT, retail, healthcare, or finance, core functions remain a priority across industries.

0_mid-senior-level-training-programs4. Mid-Senior Level Is the Focus Area of Training Programs

76% of companies focus on training the mid-senior level workforce. Mid-senior leaders are multi-taskers who act as a bridge between subordinates and management. They are also the driving force behind the execution of organizational priorities and the ongoing organizational restructuring. Hence organizations invest in their training.

0_AI-DigitalReadiness5. AI, Digital Readiness & Learning Agility Emerged as Future Skills

Our research indicates the rise of blockchain, cloud, big data, IoT, digital readiness, and learning agility as future skills. With almost 37% of organizations agreeing on training their workforce on future expertise and digital readiness, the data indicates a common consensus among companies on bracing up to meet the changing demands.


0_360-Feedback6. Companies Use Technical Assessments and 360-Degree Feedback for Training Needs Analysis

Technical assessments help in measuring the functional training needs of the workforce since they are customized as per job roles and job level. Meanwhile, 360-degree feedback assesses gaps in the behavioral traits of an employee as perceived by other stakeholders. After the feedback is received and analyzed, it is then shared with the employees to further their personal development goals.

0_Gig-Workforce7. Gig Workforce Is Becoming Mainstream

New learning and development trends indicate that organizations have started strategizing their L&D programs to accommodate gig workers. With a growing number of millennials preferring to work from their homes and handling multiple projects simultaneously, organizations are adapting to the new-age workforce, also engaging with freelancers. With many people turning to the gig economy as an alternative to traditional employment, L&D teams are gearing up to train this new class of employee.

0_Companies-Undertake-Planning-18. Companies That Undertake Planning for Current and Future Business Skills Record the Highest Training Effectiveness

Our survey revealed how companies that planned for current, as well as future skill requirements, had 46% training effectiveness. Meanwhile, organizations that did not undertake any kind of planning had lower training effectiveness of 30%.

0_Skill-Simulator9. Skill Simulators & Assessment Centres Record the Highest Effectiveness of Training Programs

L&D experts, worldwide, agreed that using skill simulators and assessment and development centers has improved their training effectiveness to 46% and 45%, respectively. With training simulations, employees can receive immediate feedback on their efficiency and their use of platform, equipment, or guidelines. Corporates are also adopting blended assessment centers as they predict future behavior for decision making, analyze development needs, and assess behavioral constructs.

0_Learning-Ability10. Using Learning Ability and Skill Proximity Before the Training Improves Training Effectiveness

Our research indicates that 51% of organizations using scientific tools such as learning agility and skill proximity have more successful training programs. These tools provide an insight into the level of trainability of employees, along with easily trainable skills. This cumulative intelligence assists L&D departments in envisaging customized development plans that increase training effectiveness.

0_Digital-Training-Certificate11. Corporates That Issue Digital Training Certificates Experience More Engagement During the Training

Organizations that issue digital certificates have training effectiveness of 47% as online training certifications indicate achievement and expertise. They exhibit your employees’ commitment to growth and development. Online training certification programs can help employees meet company standards and expand their knowledge and skills to become more effective corporate assets.

0_Customize-Individual-Training12. Firms That Customize Training at an Individual Level Receive Better ROI on Their Training Plans 

Companies that customize training plans as per individuals have 48% training effectiveness as these organizations invest time to analyze the learning needs of their workforce. This approach offers employee satisfaction as employees feel valued, and a sense of engagement and appreciation allows them to remain associated with the organization for a longer duration.

These key insights from our latest report reflect on the churn in the L&D landscape. Our research that included insights from over 300 organizations provided some surprising results. Please click here to read the full report.


Originally published August 19 2018, Updated June 24 2020

Megha Singh

Written by

A writer at heart, Megha has been in the content industry for 4 years. Starting her career from print, her journey spans across IT, legal and consulting industries. She has been associated with Mercer | Mettl as Assistant Manager, Content Marketing for 2 years.

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