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Last Updated on March 8, 2021

The training industry is continually evolving and developing and is shaped by a variety of factors. So, what are the latest training and development trends for 2021? Let’s take a look.

Learning and development trends for 2021

1. An Increase in Employee Training Online (Even After Staff Return to Offices)

As a result of so many employees and staff working from home during the recent pandemic, company employees have become far more familiar with the likes of Zoom and MS Teams for receiving training online.

Even when staff return to the office, whether it be this or next year, the recent pandemic has thrust us five to ten years into the future in respect of WFA (Working from Anywhere).

Companies have begun to realize that employing staff from anywhere in the world and allowing existing staff to WFA, is workable and is practical.

With staff working virtually and often globally, workplace training will match this trend.

With the increasing demand to WFA (Work From Anywhere) and with the realisation that staff can be trusted to work away from the main business location, hiring globally and finding the right employee for a given role is becoming easier. As a result, we are seeing an increase in what are known as ‘Distributed Teams‘ and with this, we are seeing an increasing trend for the need for real-time tutor-led online workplace training for work teams.

Dr Valeria Lo Iacono

2. A Continuing Trend for EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) Training

Many companies are aware these days of the need to integrate EDI Training (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) into the company strategy both for legal and ethical reasons.

Legally speaking, we have a duty of care to look after employees whilst ethically, it is simply the right and fair thing to do. We need to treat staff fairly, equally and well.

In the EDI area, we see a continuing upwards trend for the need and demand for training in topics such as:

EDI training is a long-term trend that we expect to see continue throughout the coming years.

3. A Move Towards Customized Bespoke Training for Employees

Business training trends

Expect also to see a growing demand for personalised online learning.

Online learning provides us with a vast range of options in terms of training and development, that we can provide employees with.

Furthermore, online training makes it easier to create micro-learning units that can be put together to create bespoke learning.

So, for example, instead of one specific training program that a manager can study online as e-learning, it is becoming easier to take individual lessons and to create a custom training package for the manager being trained.

Furthermore, where this online training is tutor-led, rather than relying on a trainer who lives locally, it becomes more possible to hire someone with deeper expertise in the training topic area even if the trainer lives thousands of miles away as they can teach online.

The term Blended Learning will be a term you will hear more and more as training and development becomes a combination of online learning combined with classroom training (in-person training).

4. Continuing Focus on Employee Wellbeing in Company Training and Development

Wellness at work

Similar to EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) training, wellness and well-being is an area that continues to trend and gather importance and we do not see this slowing down at all in the coming years.

Healthy employees mean happier and also more productive staff.

Happier staff have proven in studies to stay in their job longer, having a better working relationship with colleagues, and work more efficiently.

With this in mind, whether providing wellness training to staff because you care about them or because you see the long-term benefits as a business, it is an area we’d certainly recommend to consider.

Do consider also though that we do have a duty of care for our staff, particularly when it comes to wellness and mental well-being.

These topics are particularly useful and continue to gain in popularity:

5. Trend Towards Solving the 1st Time Manager Training Gap

First time manager training trend

One significant skills gap that still exists in so many companies, from our experience, is the lack of training for first-time managers and new managers.

From our own research, we have found that more than 55% of new managers fail in their role as a new manager and it is not hard to see why.

So many new and first-time managers have risen through the ranks of a business to then be promoted to a management role and for this reason, they have never been trained in essential management skills such as:

So many companies fail to provide new and first-time managers with the essential skills and training that they really need.

In terms of trends, this is changing as greater awareness of the first-time manager skills-gap is becoming better understood.

6. Training Trend to Help Managers Manage Virtual Teams and Employees

With so many workplaces now involving distributed teams (as discussed in point one), there is an increasing need to provide training to develop leadership skills to manage virtual teams

We are seeing a definite increase in the demand for team-leaders, managers and supervisors to manage staff on an everyday basis as staff WFA (Work From Anywhere) and WFH (Work from Home).

7. Teaching Managers Menopause Awareness

The word menopause is one that is becoming spoken more openly about these days and a trend we are also seeing in training and development in awareness training on this topic, to help better inform managers.

Whilst the initial thought by many is that menopause awareness training would be aimed at the female workforce, such training is taking places for all employees although particularly for managers and team-leaders.

It is male managers who often lack understanding on the issues surrounding menopause, the same male managers who manage staff absense and staff well-being.

The use of menopause awareness training is a non-medical way of bringing awareness of the general effects of menopause on women. This is a training area that is gradually increasing in popularity as staff-wellbeing is taken more seriously.

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Dr Valeria (Lo Iacono) Symonds

Valeria has been involved with education for over 16 years. She has taught in the UK at the University of Bath and Cardiff Metropolitan University (where she got her PhD), in addition to working as a researcher at Exeter University. Valeria additionally has several years of experience of also working with Ofsted and Cardiff University in management roles & is she is the founder of Symonds Training.

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