The rate of change in the workforce sped up dramatically over the past two years. These changes are presenting both opportunities and challenges for training professionals in the coming year, according to data from Omnipress’ 2022 Training Trends Report.
The Impact of COVID on the Workplace
Change is inevitable, but it usually happens gradually over time. Major disruptors tend to speed up the rate of change in macro trends such as consumer and employee behavior. In the span of just one year, the COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed the workplace.
While the concept of a virtual workforce is not new, it was not widely adopted or accepted until millions of us made the abrupt shift to work-from-home in 2020. As we emerge from the pandemic, we are seeing increased demand for remote work, schedule flexibility, and work-life balance as a permanent reality.
During this time, record numbers of employees changed jobs, switched professions, or exited the workforce altogether. This is creating an increased need for re-skilling and upskilling workers who are in new roles or are taking on new responsibilities due to staffing shortages.
These changes are affecting more than just employers. They are having a direct impact on the training and professional development programs provided by associations, corporations, and other training organizations.
Top Challenges for Training Professionals This Year
Since 2016, Omnipress has been tracking the evolution of training programs and the delivery of educational content through data collected from an annual survey of training and education professionals at associations, corporations, and other organizations.
Each year, we ask respondents about the challenges they are facing in the coming year. In 2021, training professionals were most concerned with how to best navigate the increased shift away from in-person courses to online delivery, as they established best practices for replicating the benefits of a classroom environment within a virtual course, getting trainers to adapt to the new format, and maintaining the same level of perceived value for learners.
This year, however, focus has shifted dramatically. An overwhelming percentage of respondents are most concerned with these three areas (all tied for first place in the data):
- Attracting new course participants
- Adapting course content to keep up with industry changes
- Adapting course design/delivery to meet the preferences of future learners
This change in priorities is a direct result of workplace and industry shifts that have occurred because of the pandemic.
How Workplace Changes Will Affect Training Programs in 2022 and Beyond
Training programs are growing
Because of the increased need for re-skilling and upskilling workers, training programs are going to grow in 2022, according to data from the Omnipress 2022 Training Trends Report.
In 2021, 50% of respondents added new courses and programs to their training portfolio. In 2022, 75% expect that number to increase again.
In addition to expanding training programs, content will need to be changed or adapted as industries evolve and workforce needs shift in a post-pandemic world.
Learner preferences are changing
Coming out of the pandemic, employees want more flexibility in how, when, and where they work. They also want this same level of flexibility in how, when, and where they learn. Training professionals will need to offer a wider mix of content formats, incorporating opportunities to access live and on-demand training, in-person and virtually.
The Great Resignation has created participant gaps
Over the past year, record numbers of employees changed positions, changed professions, or exited the workforce altogether, which has affected the pool of prospective participants. To continue to reach more learners, training organizations will need to look beyond their existing industry database, attracting participants from new audience segments.
While the past two years have caused disruption to the training industry, the performance of professional development programs has and will continue to remain strong. The demand for training continues to increase, and programs are growing. The focus in the next year will be how to evolve our delivery of educational content to meet the current and future needs of learners.
Read the Full 2022 Training Trends Report
Interested in the full results of the 2022 Training Trends Survey?
Download the complete 2022 Training Trends Report by Omnipress.