2022 L&D Survey Findings

90% of businesses say agile learning cultures are ‘important’ or ‘extremely important’

New research from global learning and development (L&D) experts, Hemsley Fraser, and learning and communications platform vendor, 5App, reveals that agility, better business and talent strategy integration, and soft skills development will be key concerns for the function this year.

Why are agile learning cultures important?

Key findings include: 

  • Building an agile learning culture is crucial. 90% of L&D and HR practitioners think it is important or extremely important
  • Overall talent strategy is now the biggest driver for L&D activity
  • Soft skills development tops the wish list for what L&D and HR would like to see going forward

In the 2022 Learning & Development Impact Survey, 90 per cent of organizations revealed that building an agile learning culture is extremely important or important to them.

The research, which surveyed 462 L&D, HR and talent professionals, also showed that L&D activity is now foremostly driven by the need to better deliver for the overall talent strategy. 

In addition, the function would also like to see more innovation in the area of soft skills development: highlighting demand for talent that can operate successfully in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world) and increasingly hybrid world.

Lynsey Whitmarsh, Managing Director UK, at Hemsley Fraser commented: “What this year’s survey highlights is that the challenges for L&D have evolved and changed since the peak of the pandemic – but the function does seem to understand how it should move forward.”

“With L&D and learning providers surmounting difficulties over the last two years, they did so by being more digital, something few expected to do so quickly, and delivering learning in bite-sized and blended ways, so learners could access what they needed to overcome pandemic problems as they arose.”

“Now – and this is great to see – many are expecting to get more backing to further evolve their L&D offering: looking to take their first steps in creating agile learning cultures, which deliver for both the individual and the organization, and give learners soft skills that will be crucial for success in a pandemic-changed world.”

Whitmarsh’s comments align with a key finding of the survey: that L&D is now being driven, primarily, by the strategic business needs outside of the function.

This means it has to deliver for talent retention, acquisition and onboarding as well as understanding what its function is within the wider organization – as well as being able to deliver skills needed for ongoing organization and capability transformations.

Whitmarsh added: “For L&D this means the pressure is on. With our research indicating that talent retention, acquisition and onboarding is the top driver for learning strategy, the function will need to understand how to deliver, and show, outside of its own priorities.”

“Positively, many seem to understand that creating agile learning strategies – which have in-built flexibility and balance both organizational needs and structures with the needs of the individual – are one way to be able to deliver, even if they haven’t implemented them yet.”

These changes could logistically be possible: the survey results showed that many more firms expect to have access to more budget than they did during the peak of the pandemic. 

And with many firms citing a need to get better at integrations and delivery, and working more closely with the business as a whole, it is clear that L&D will need to look at what technology and learning structure design it uses to deliver this.

Stuart Mason, CEO at 5App, commented: “It's refreshing to see the importance placed on partnership working. Collaboration, quality of minimum viable designs, a constant focus on the business value, and technology as an enabler will all be essential to reap the benefits from an agile learning approach.”

Download the complete 2022 Learning and Development Impact Survey to find out more.