As with the start of every new year, we begin 2024 with an air of excitement and anticipation for what lies ahead. And the world of L&D is no exception, with expectations of innovations, opportunities and advancements continuing the key role of learning and development in shaping workforces and organisational growth.
How ready are you to make the most of 2024? Discover your L&D blueprint, key strategies and practical actions to prepare you and your team for success.
As with the start of every new year, there's an air of anticipation and ambiguity about what lies ahead. This sentiment resonates deeply within the realm of L&D, where both excitement and uncertainty pave the way for innovative opportunities and unforeseen challenges in the upcoming months.
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Each year, L&D’s star continues to rise. And 2024 will be no exception. As learning and development grows more central to organisational success, so will the expectations.
What kind of landscape awaits L&D teams in 2024?
Expect even more rapid, unprecedented and transformative change. While post-pandemic challenges are subsiding, organisations will face fresh ones in 2024 – driven by advancing technology, shifting markets, economic instability and geopolitical uncertainty. And let’s not forget, the constantly evolving workplace.
‘As we look forward to the year ahead, L&D teams will need to perform a strategic balancing act. One that goes beyond simply adapting to change toward anticipating it - even influencing it,’ says Kate Sullivan, British Council’s Corporate English Solutions Global Head of Services & Talent.
How can learning and development thrive in this complex landscape? Which L&D strategies will drive organisational success? We’ve crafted a 2024 action plan, so you don’t have to. Join us for a dynamic journey into the year ahead.
1. Revitalise L&D strategy and operations: Audit and refocus for success
The 2024 workplace outlook will demand greater efficiency and agility from organisations as they prepare for potential economic uncertainty and market shifts. What does this mean for learning and development? Organisations will increasingly require evidence of learning initiatives’ ROI to support budget decisions. How can L&D teams deliver business impact? Conduct a learning and development audit and revamp L&D strategy and operations.
Here is a suggested action plan for revitalising L&D strategy and operations. Prioritise the most relevant for your organisation so you can start stakeholder engagement now.
2024 Action plan for L&D teams
• Align L&D strategy and priorities with the organisation’s overall mission and objectives.
• Collaborate across functions to ensure strategies and goals are aligned and engage key stakeholders.
• Refine L&D strategies so they are more agile and can swiftly respond to unforeseen changes or disruptions.
• Adopt agile ways of working to ensure learning continuity.
• Revise L&D team structure and responsibilities to ensure you have the right knowledge, future skills and expertise to meet current and upcoming needs.
• Implement a data-driven approach to linking learning initiatives to business impact.
How will this audit and refocus of L&D strategy contribute to success in 2024 and beyond?
Demonstrate strategic value and relevance
Regularly aligning L&D strategies with organisational objectives can position learning and development as a central part of the company’s strategic direction. Particularly when backed by measurable results that demonstrate the direct contribution of learning initiatives to organisational success.
Drive strategic collaboration and agility
Gone are the days of a siloed L&D function. Successful L&D teams collaborate with other departments to drive a more integrated approach to achieving organisational goals. What does this look like in practice? Adapting learning strategies to meet the evolving demands of different functions, ensuring learning continuity and agility.
Deliver tangible business impact
Learning strategies may not always guarantee business impact. By linking them to key organisational objectives, they can directly contribute to the bottom line and overall performance. By taking this targeted approach (and having the data to prove it), L&D teams can secure their position as a strategic partner that delivers business outcomes.
2. Revamp technological strategies for L&D excellence
No longer a distant fantasy, technological advancement is transforming how we work (and learn). And this will only accelerate in 2024. Embracing the tech and AI revolution will be a strategic imperative – not an option – for organisations. Despite initial concerns of AI replacing workers, humans and AI will be working together instead. In fact, in a recent IBM report, 87% of senior executives expect roles will increase because of AI.
L&D’s strategic expertise can further drive this tech and AI transformation.
2024 Action plan for L&D teams
• Audit your current L&D tech strategy and stack to ensure alignment with your organisation’s overall tech strategy. Clearly document tech and AI solutions, including their intended use, effectiveness and efficiency. Do they meet strict data protection, privacy and ethical standards?
• Explore new technologies to evaluate how well they could be integrated into your existing tech stack. Actively learn about emerging tech and AI trends. How can they be incorporated into your L&D strategy?
• Map digital skills to all roles and identify which roles they are crucial to. Refine existing skills frameworks to integrate emerging tech skills. Then audit the tech/digital capabilities within the organisation (and L&D teams).
• Incorporate tech and digital skills development into upskilling and reskilling initiatives.
How will revamping technological strategies contribute to L&D success in 2024?
Cohesive technological alignment and integration
A comprehensive audit of your existing L&D tech strategy can lead to better alignment, cohesion and compatibility with your organisation’s overall tech strategy. Not only can it support a more unified digital ecosystem, but it can also maximise the effectiveness of technologies used for learning strategies.
Optimised learning effectiveness and documentation
Having clearly documented existing tech and AI solutions and regularly reviewing their effectiveness can enable L&D teams to streamline learning processes. This effort can also improve the ability to adapt to evolving needs when they arise.
Targeted skill development and future readiness
Keeping up with tech innovation is just one part of the equation. Knowing whether your organisation has the right digital skills is the other. Both approaches will position L&D teams to proactively prepare their organisation for an increasingly tech and AI-enabled future.
3. Future-proof through upskilling and reskilling
There’s another aspect of the 2024 landscape that needs urgent attention. The global talent shortage. According to a recent survey, 77% of employers are struggling to find talent with the right skills. And the skills needed to be competitive today are not the same as tomorrow. Upskilling and reskilling are critical future-proofing strategies, which allow talent and skill development from within. It’s a proactive approach that can encourage a continuous learning culture and prepare employees for the future of work.
This future-proofing process will inevitably need relevant, impactful and engaging L&D.
2024 action plan for L&D teams
• Cultivate L&D teams’ knowledge by actively seeking insights into emerging skills and competencies from industry experts, professional associations and colleagues. Map emerging skill sets to stay ahead and prepare your organisation for success.
• Review learning initiatives to ensure they align with future skills frameworks, focusing on the key skills that enable future career success and advancement.
• Map initiatives to career paths, including leadership and people management programmes to support long-term growth.
• Increase understanding of learner engagement through active listening and incorporating feedback into learning strategies. Offer a diverse range of learning solutions that incorporate the latest advancements in learning methodologies and technologies. Ensure these appeal to different learning needs, preferences and work patterns.
• Audit learning analytics and feedback and communicate ROI and tangible business impact to stakeholders.
How will this future-proofing strategy contribute to L&D’s success in 2024 and beyond?
Alignment of learning with future skills
By ensuring learning initiatives align with future skills frameworks, L&D teams can focus on building key competencies that drive future success. This strategic approach will support the continuous development and sustained growth of the organisation. And following up with robust measurement allows L&D to demonstrate tangible value of learning strategies. It will showcase L&D’s direct contribution to overall success.
Increased learner engagement
When learners have the autonomy to select from diverse learning solutions, it drives participation and boosts learning outcomes. This emphasis on learners’ various needs and preferences will enable a more effective (and engaging) learning experience.
Continuous L&D knowledge
By prioritising their own learning, L&D professionals can build the knowledge and expertise they need to adapt strategies and approaches. And ensure learning initiatives are aligned with the latest industry trends and advancements.
Preparing for a dynamic future
Within this dynamic landscape, developing impactful learning and development initiatives has never been more crucial. L&D success in 2024 will depend on prioritising these three strategies, tailoring them to your organisation’s unique needs. Looking ahead, it is clear that learning will be pivotal for agility, resilience and sustained growth.
How prepared is your organisation for the road ahead?
British Council has over 80 years’ experience of partnering with organisations and individuals in over 200 countries. Our four-step approach to skills gap analysis, learning design, delivery and evaluation, along with our consultative approach, supports L&D teams to navigate the upskilling process and empower teams with skills that make a difference.