The graph reflects how this group rallied commendably in the real world and were able to put immediate plans in place to rapidly respond to remote learning challenges through offerings like webinars, eLearning courses, and resource packs.
Happiness rallied too as plans seemed to be working and it has been a broadly upward trend since with a few understandable hiccups along the way and plateaus associated with further lockdown challenges and the emergence of niche challenges. While digital learning is here to stay for this group, there are elements of the previous offering that will still make a return when circumstances allow so happiness hasn’t fully recovered to that pre-2020 high.
One important note, however, is that while healthy, we have seen a decline in the latter stages of the year which we will touch on in our next section.
Senior Leaders / C Suite: While this group were not unhappy with the learning offering of the organisation at the start of 2020, it was perhaps by exception that they focused significantly on it, so our graph shows a level of happiness initially that reflects that.
Senior Leaders experienced the same crisis as everyone else and in many cases had more pressing business continuity issues outside of the L&D offering to deal with, so our graph shows happiness dropping but indicates a focus elsewhere.
We did, however, see a real positive response to the new digital ways of working and learning albeit delayed until the C Suite saw definite plans being put in place by their L&D colleagues and how well learners seemed to be responding to new ways of working and learning too.
In fact, happiness with the learning offering has continued to spike and has settled at a higher level than it began in 2020. In many of the conversations we have been having, it is a source of pride for the organisation’s leaders how their learning teams have worked so hard to introduce new offerings, new tools, and new ways of working that have clearly been well received to date.
One might even be pushed to say, that organisationally, L&D is at a point of new standing within the organisation and a point of new opportunity to take a full and active seat at the board room table.
Learners: Learners in many organisations, particularly those with well established L&D functions started the year pretty happy overall with the learning offering. They went through the inevitable drop when COVID-19 took elements of that offering away but their happiness rallied earlier and more quickly than our other groups.
Our graph shows this quick turnaround which reflects the flexibility now afforded to many home workers as well as some degree of novelty of using webinar and online meeting tools in earnest for the first time in some organisations.
In lots of cases, new working patterns actually gave more time for self-directed learning.
We saw in lots of organisations that the completion of training using online platforms, e-learning and other online tools actually went through the roof. In some cases, this was because learning was seen as a worthwhile way to tread water, the idea being that if learners couldn’t safely do all aspects of their current roles now, they could at least be investing and preparing to do them better when they returned in a few weeks’ time.
In fact, as L&D responded with new online offerings, we heard how learners were embracing these. The courses that previously took them out of the office for 2-3 days in a row could be spread over existing work and social commitments over a longer period, the study could be self-owned and self-directed and online meetings used to reflect and review progress and foster discussion with somewhat easier logistics involved.
All was going well; things would be back to normal soon and some new digital habits were here to stay! Happiness with the L&D offering responded accordingly back to pre-crisis levels. All good.
Except, we know the story didn’t end there, unfortunately. As the pandemic has persisted, the novel L&D offering for many has lost its lustre, mental health and wellbeing of staff has been impacted too and we have seen learners longing for interaction with others, becoming tired of single format digital offerings and their happiness has dropped accordingly and is seen on a worrying downward trajectory in the closing months of 2020.