How is the new normal shaping up for Learning & Development?

As the end of the year approaches, the country pendulums in and out of lockdown, further extensions are made to the furlough scheme, and everyone reacts to the hopeful news of a vaccine in 2021. In the workplace, it’s fair to say that things have changed and many of those changes place pressure on human resources teams: supporting the workforce to work from home, managers to do their job from a distances, and the building impact of furlough and redundancies on recruitment and the state of the labour market. Meanwhile, learning and development is likewise impacted as people’s essential job skills shift and change…

Here at Maximum, as a learning and development company, we’re seeing clear changes in what businesses need by way of training…

Less rigid

In a sense, the newly-scattered nature of the workforce makes organisation and structure more important than ever. But the organisation that’s needed must be flexible, able to respond to individual changing circumstances. For training, this means providing options that are more ‘just in time’, available for learning on the hoof.

Change Management and Resilience are everybody’s new super-skills

No doubt, working from home is more stressful on the individual – the change to a less-than-ideal environment, increased responsibility for self-management, and the lack of easily-accessible support. This means an expanded need for resilience, coping with change (constantly!) and other supportive L&D interventions that centre on employee wellbeing.

Delivery channels

It’s true that the dominance of face-to-face, so-called ‘classroom’ training events has been waning in recent years. The classic training course option might still be highly effective but it’s also time-heavy, resource-heavy, and cost-heavy. The increasing emergence of online learning options has been given a huge boost by the pandemic as people turn to shorter, focused online webinars for their group learning.

Support the new management paradigm

With a scattered workforce – or a workforce that is returning to the workplace after being scattered – management is more essential than ever to keep the show on the road; especially the role of line manager, directly supporting the people that deliver your products and/or services. If managers are to support your essential workers, they in turn need the skills and knowledge to do so.

This is happening…

At Maximum Performance, we conducted a snapshot survey of L&D and HR professionals in the summer, seeking to get a picture of the impact COVID-19 was having. Not surprisingly, the results support the future L&D priorities outlined above:

  • The top three short-term future development needs were 1) wellbeing (65%); 2) management and leadership development (45%); and 3) coaching skills (43%).
  • In the absence of ‘classroom’ learning, 84% of respondents have filled the gap with virtual training events. (And 90% see this trend as continuing).
  • Training sessions are getting shorter (61%).

For us, the result is a greatly expanded online menu of webinars offering shorter, bite-sized knowledge and skills ‘bombs’ better suited to the current working environment (including topics such as remote management, wellbeing & resilience, and even teambuilding) and we’re also shifting some of our flagship programmes (such as our Management Development programme) to include online options).


If you’re interested in online training and webinar options that directly address the impact of the pandemic, check out our website. Or just give us a call on 01582 463460. We’re here to help.

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