By Corporate English Solutions

08 January 2024 - 06:31

Future readiness: Skills L&D professionals need to succeed in 2024 and beyond

Staying ahead in the dynamic world of L&D requires an equally dynamic set of skills. In 2024, L&D professionals will need to prioritise their own skill development to successfully drive learning initiatives in a complex environment.

Which critical skills will set L&D professionals apart in 2024 and beyond?  We identify the top skills you’ll need to succeed in an evolving L&D landscape. 


Reading time: 5 minutes

Calling all L&D professionals. Are you prepared for another transformative year ahead?

Expectations for learning and development will be even higher in 2024. You’ll need to stay ahead of fast-moving tech and AI trends. Drive engaging learning initiatives for an ever-evolving workforce. And prove that your team’s work is making a business impact. 

Then, there’s the crucial question of skills development: your own. Do you have the crucial skills to drive L&D initiatives in a dynamic and complex landscape? 

Knowing which skills will be important. Prioritising developing them can position you to anticipate changes, adapt faster, innovate – and ensure your learning and development strategies remain relevant. You’ll also be able to assess whether your team has the right competencies, identify skills gaps and plan targeted upskilling or reskilling.

While L&D professionals understand the significance of upskilling, prioritising which skills to focus on can be challenging. Especially with rapid changes in learning methodologies, new tech and shifting workplace needs. Plus, your L&D responsibilities have grown significantly these last few years. Juggling daily operational tasks alongside long-term strategic initiatives leaves less time for continuous learning.

We know prioritising your own professional development can be challenging, so we made it easier for you. Read on to discover which skills and capabilities are crucial for L&D success in 2024 and beyond.

Skill #1. Strategy, planning and operational excellence 

Agility and speed will be an absolute must to guide organisations through economic fluctuations and market shifts in 2024. That’s why you’ll need future ready skills, like strategy, planning and operational excellence These skills will enable you to align L&D strategies with organisational objectives, efficiently implement learning initiatives, quickly respond to emerging needs, optimise resources and streamline processes.

Cultivating these vital skills will position L&D as a strategic business partner, future-proofing your organisation to effectively face challenges and seize new opportunities.

Which key skills in strategy, planning and organisational excellence do you need?

Skill Critical Capabilities
Strategic visioning and planning
  • Forecast and analyse trends, plan scenarios for future challenges
  • Collaborate with HR and business functions to set and align strategic L&D goals and metrics and obtain budget
  • Create an optimal learning team structure to deliver effectiveness and efficiencies
Project Management
  • Mitigate project risks
  • Allocate and manage resources and budget efficiently
  • Facilitate clear stakeholder communication
Change Management
  • Develop effective change communication strategies
  • Build employee resilience during transitions
  • Address cultural differences for successful change navigation
Agile methodologies
  • Plan and execute sprints
  • Foster adaptability and flexibility in L&D and project teams
  • Cultivate a culture of continuous improvement
Time management and productivity
  • Link own and team tasks to objectives and goals
  • Prioritise and schedule tasks
  • Delegate tasks

 Þ Now, let’s explore which L&D skills will be essential to thrive in 2024.

2.  Essential L&D skills 

How do you remain relevant as an L&D professional? You must continuously develop your L&D skills. 2024 will require multifaceted L&D expertise. One that caters to a diverse workforce with diverse skill sets – within globalised, flexible environments. You’ll need skills that cultivate an agile learning culture, create inclusive learning programmes and continuously optimise learning strategies to meet evolving demands. 

Which L&D skills you prioritise will depend largely on your organisation’s needs. But identifying the right mix will help you innovate and deliver impactful learning initiatives.

What key L&D skills do you need? 

Skills Critical Capabilities
 Skills mapping, framework development and gap analysis
  • Define core competencies for roles
  • Develop structured competency frameworks
  • Identify skills gaps and needs 
 Learning design and delivery
  • Develop curricula and build or select learning initiatives to bridge targeted skills gaps
  • Maximise engagement and impact of learning experiences through adept facilitation or efficient supplier management
  • Leverage data analytics and learner feedback to iteratively update and enhance learning content and delivery methods for continual improvement
 Learning operations
  • Procure, curate, manage and maintain learning content to ensure relevance and alignment with needs
  • Efficiently allocate and manage logistics, resources, budgets and infrastructure for effective learning delivery
  • Gather and analyse data to assess the effectiveness and engagement of learning content 

Quality assurance and continuous improvement
  • Implement checks and measures to ensure quality of and best practices in learning content and delivery
  • Report learning ROI to business stakeholders
  • Identify quality improvement areas and implement strategies for ongoing enhancement
Strategic learning advocacy and support
  • Cultivate a culture of continuous learning by advocating for widespread learning initiatives and knowledge sharing
  • Empower and support managers in fostering the growth of their team members by providing guidance in career path planning and development
  • Engage in cross-functional projects, Employee Resource Groups (EGGs) and working groups to offer comprehensive support for learning initiatives.

 Þ Let’s shift focus to the soft but powerful skills you need to bring your initiatives to life.

3. Critical soft skills

Soft skills are indispensable for L&D professionals. They supercharge your ability to innovate, adapt and tackle complex challenges creatively. And they do wonders for building rapport and fostering relationships. Much needed for influencing key stakeholders, gaining support for new ideas and the resources needed to drive learning and development strategies. All in an increasingly globalised and hybrid workforce.

What key soft skills do you need? 

Skills Critical Capabilities
 Critical thinking, creativity and problem solving
  •  Analyse complex situations systematically
  • Generate innovative solutions to challenges
  • Apply creativity to enhance L&D strategy, initiatives and engagement
 Communication and collaboration
  • Communicate clearly, concisely and coherently for shared understanding and goal achievement
  • Align with multiple stakeholders, diverse skill sets, and interdependent tasks
  • Build trust to enhance relationships, cohesion and engagement
 CQ and diversity awareness
  • Understand, communicate with and engage diverse stakeholders
  • Advocate for DEI initiatives and actively contribute through learning initiatives
  • Embed inclusivity in all L&D programmes
  • Demonstrate empathy and rapport to build trust
  • Manage emotions adeptly during challenging situations
  • Cultivate an emotionally supportive environment within the team and in learning initiatives 
Influencing and persuasion
  • Champion learning through business alignment and ROI reporting
  • Effectively negotiate for resources and support to accomplish L&D goals
  • Inspire and motivate learner engagement through compelling and impactful content delivery

Þ Finally, let’s dive into the essential digital skills for the future.

4. Top digital skills for L&D pros

The L&D landscape is undergoing a digital revolution. One that requires a digital skill set to make the most of new technologies. From boosting learner engagement through personalised, adaptive learning experiences to automating administrative tasks to optimise learning delivery – your L&D initiatives can achieve greater impact. 

L&D professionals will also need to navigate digital threats. Which will make protecting sensitive learner information, minimising cybersecurity risks and ensuring data privacy compliance a high priority.

What key digital skills will you need? 

Skills Critical Capabilities
Digital literacy
  • Use online collaboration tools
  • Communicate effectively online
  • Understand and evaluate digital learning platforms and tools
Data analytics and interpretation
  • Use data visualisation techniques
  • Use data analysis tools for statistical analysis
  • Interpret data sets for reporting and decision-making 
Using AI tools
  • Use AI-driven tools in own role
  • Understand how AI applications can be used in learning
  • Understand and evaluate AI-powered learning platforms and tools
Digital enablement
  • Enable the adoption and integration of digital and AI-powered learning solutions
  • Evaluate, select or develop digital learning content
  • Facilitate employees’ digital skills development
Cybersecurity awareness
  • Identify and report common online threats and risks
  • Implement data privacy best practices
  • Recognise, avoid and report phishing attempts


Future-proofing L&D skills – today

Are you ready to future-proof your L&D skills? Which skills top your list for 2024? Don’t wait until it’s too late. Identify the critical future ready skills you need to stay relevant within an increasingly agile and dynamic landscape.

British Council has over 80 years’ experience of partnering with organisations and individuals in over 200 countries to upskill their workforce in key skills for success. Our in-depth understanding of organisational learning and development supports you to implement initiatives that make a difference.

Our Professional Skills and language programmes develop your critical soft skills to make the most of opportunities, tackle challenges and engage stakeholders in 2024. 

Contact us to find out more.