April 2021
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TD Magazine

It’s Time for New Ways to Approach L&D

Thursday, April 1, 2021

The pandemic has changed the workplace—and that includes how you deliver training.

The business world remains in flux as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to fuel unprecedented changes in the workplace. To get a sense of the effects on the business world, CEMS—an alliance of learning institutions and organizations—surveyed more than 1,700 professionals from 70-plus countries and compiled the findings in its Leadership in a Post-Covid-19 World guide.


Respondents identified four major business changes: expanded markets, new communication methods, new work life, and changing attitudes toward work in general. And researchers concluded that organizations have an opportunity to examine their development programs for senior leaders and young professionals. By coupling survey responses with qualitative data they obtained through additional panel discussions and stakeholder interviews, researchers offer recommendations for a learning ecosystem that matches today's pandemic-influenced business needs.

"The traditional approaches to learning in large lecture theatres and leadership based on staid and inflexible ideas are dead," Greg Whitwell, CEMS chair and dean at the University of Sydney Business School, notes in the guide.

Instead, the guide recommends that companies provide leadership development training programs that focus on success in hybrid workplaces. Participants should leave equipped with tips on digital communication, resilience, and empathy and trained to use tools that will help them remain agile. Another recommendation is for employers to guide leaders on ways to help their teams succeed at remote work and manage their well-being.


Researchers also advise companies to create mentoring avenues where young professionals can learn from senior executives. According to the guide, young professionals can both learn via mentoring and ensure senior leaders are hearing their voices. In addition, companies can offer experiential learning opportunities, where young professionals can shadow leaders and take an active role in the problem-solving process.

The guide also advises democratized learning and encourages companies to offer increased skill development opportunities and use an L&D system that promotes autonomy and empowers employees to take control of their own development.

About the Author

Derrick Thompson is a former writer/editor for ATD.

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