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Personalisation should be the main driving force in the revamp of learning and development programmes, says Juliane Sterzl, SVP EMEA at CoachHub

Hybrid working’ was a phrase that entered the popular lexicon in 2021, but it certainly isn’t one that will be leaving us anytime soon. The number of days worked from home has increased fivefold on pre-pandemic levels, with many employees and businesses favouring a hybrid workplace.

There is a myriad of reasons for this shift, with the ongoing uncertainties around the COVID-19 pandemic being an obvious, yet perhaps sometimes overstated one. The pandemic was what initially propelled us to work remotely, but the appeal of blended working is what has kept it thriving. Employees are requesting a work life that fits around their personal life – increased demands for flexibility were the most commonly cited issue to have occurred within organisations in the past 18 months by HR leaders.

At the same time, hybrid working is not always an easy ride. Employees have less direct face-to-face contact with their colleagues and managers and upskilling in a digital world can be more complex. At the start of a new year, now is the perfect time to reassess learning and development programmes for the hybrid world and set staff up for success in 2022.


The developments we have seen to the world of work in 2021 have been astronomical. In the space of 12 short months, we’ve moved from viewing remote working as a temporary stopgap, to implementing it into our long-term strategies. Alongside this we have seen the Great Resignation, with many people not only changing job roles, but sometimes even changing career paths entirely.

Despite these great transformations in the world of work, learning and development programmes have in many instances not been adapted in line with the times. Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of learning and development professionals have employees who are disappointed with the training and development made available to them, in a year when employees need access to high quality support more than ever, to deal with the rapid changes in their professional lives. Employers have now had ample time to digest these transformations, meaning that now is the time to implement strategies that accept change and adapt development plans accordingly.


A vast majority (92 per cent) of leaders expect their budget for employee training and development to increase in 2022. This is positive news for employees and leaders alike, as an increased resource pool means that many more opportunities are open to companies to support their employees. Leaders must take this opportunity to reassess their existing plans, accounting for new needs that have arisen due to the rapidly changing world of work, and planning for a new and improved offer.

However, this process may not be as easy as it seems. The learning and development programmes currently on offer in many organisations have not seen radical transformation since their conception, rather minor tweaks in the content offered in accordance with new trends and requirements. At present, it is not only changes to content or delivery methods that are required, but a complete overhaul in how employees are supported by their employer.

Personalisation should be the main force driving the revamp of learning and development programmes. Hybrid working, the great resignation, and demands for flexibility all share one thing in common: the way they impact people differs vastly from person to person. Individual circumstances define how we work more than ever before, and people development programmes should be adapted to account for that. Right now, such programmes do not reflect this reality, with less than half (39 per cent) of learning and development experiences currently adapted to the individual. For organisations to build truly effective strategies, personalisation must be high on the priorities for 2022.


For personalisation of people development programmes to be truly effective, leaders should be leveraging the latest in digital technologies to support their mission. For almost two years now we have been relying on approaches that use technology to imitate the physical office, as much in learning and development as in daily business operations. Now that we have said goodbye to fully present working for good, we must too say goodbye to digitally adapted approaches to work and hello to digitally native strategies.

As learning and development programmes become increasingly personalised, companies should take take the opportunity to revise the technology they are using to implement them. Our research found that two thirds (67 per cent) of leaders are still relying on e-learning platforms for their training and development offers, which largely imitate the physical classroom and encourage passive information consumption. Now that the latest developments in AI and AR are coming to the world of business, it is time that HR leaders implement these technologies to create a more interactive, personalised platform for learning and development. Building a strategy that combines personalisation and immersive technologies in perfect harmony is the most effective way to start the new year strong and invest in your people’s success.

About Sarah OBeirne

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