5 trends/actions for Leaders to get the ball rolling in 2021.

The word “Disruption” was a buzzword in the business circle for the past several years… but the world was truly disrupted during the COVID -19 outbreak in early 2020. This disruption put almost all the companies to think and act on a fast-track mode as to how they would function in the so called “New Normal” world. 

This uncertainty pushed the corporate world to imagine new ways of learning. This transformation in learning initiatives and methodologies has definitely changed the industry forever. We saw how the learning eco-system had to act overnight and quickly adapt to remote workings. The in-person training shifted to virtual instructor-led training to comply with safety and regulation standards.

As we enter into the next business cycle, businesses will take charge of their growth curves & HR, and L&D folks have tremendous responsibility of equipping the workforce with skills needed for tomorrow so as to assist the business in realizing its goals. Thus, enforcing managers to think and quickly strategize on effective training programs.  To this effective an article by Gartner in Oct 2020 highlights how “Building critical skills and competencies continue to top the list of priorities for HR leaders in 2021. Also, on the radar — organizational (re)design and change, and leadership”.

All of this leads to one question- What are the trends of L&D/ HR for 2021 and what should HR and L&D leaders focus on to help employee develop key skills to deliver performance.

Here are our top 5 trends/actions for Leaders to get the ball rolling

Rapid Re-Skilling  

Building critical skills and competencies: Leaders see developing critical skills as vital to driving many of the organizational goals and improving operational excellence.

Focusing on up skilling and re-skilling employees is critical to succeed in these dynamic times. It enables the company to retain valuable employees. Up skilling and re-skilling will help organizations build a culture of engagement and motivation.

Make Learning an Everyday Routine:

On Job, learning will gain more and more significance as leaders are looking at ways to integrate learning into an everyday routine. With the help of AI and other learning methodologies, they would be increased focus on integrating and providing individual-centric and work demanding courses/ programs.

Organizational Design:

An article by Gartner states that “Only 19% of HR leaders report that their workforce can effectively change direction based on changing needs or priorities. Less than 40% believe employees can effectively detect when they are working on the right things for customers”.

Cost optimization and operational excellence evolve to be of paramount importance and Agility the order of the day. Organizations that focus on speed, flexibility, quick decision making, and collaborative approach will have a competitive edge over the others.

Building Effective Leadership Pipeline (Current and Future):

Strong leadership is important to sail through uncertain times like these. An interesting fact is that employees are likely to collaborate 3.5 times more with other teams than when in office. Leaders need to understand the pulse of their teams, connect with their teams and secure their teams by providing resources and create a whole lot of positive employee experience.

Through this process leaders should be able to spot future leaders who would adapt to changing times and review workflows time to time to align to the core priorities.


While this may not seem something new, however this is going to gain more traction in 2021.  The demand for bit-size learning capsules that are highly interactive and gamified will help in better engagement and retention. Along with this there would be increased momentum towards social learning that is learning using various formats like communities, collaborative experiences etc without being confined to one room or one mode as these are easy to access, effective, individualized.

To think that Disruption is over is an understatement as we could continue to see more of it and its impact in coming several years…. Hence in order to lead effectively, focus on the trends, be agile and make learning accessible to all.

What are other trends that you envision… would like to hear from you all?

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