People Development Priorities for 2021 and Beyond

20 May 2021

As lockdowns continue to lift in the UK and we head towards a releasing of all social distancing restrictions, we’re pleased to share our insight regarding challenges and people development priorities both now and in the near future.

It’s no great secret that the pandemic’s global spread and impact has led to a major shift in how and where we work and learn, and the associated technologies we use to stay connected and to support working and learning.

The clearest priority, extracted from a number of recent surveys, is HR departments and HR partners intending to increase support for employee wellbeing. The development of core management and leadership skills is high on the agenda, whilst the drive towards hybrid working is prioritising the development of new skills and behaviours. Meanwhile, digital solutions are required to ensure the HR/OD/L&D functions have access to the right data, can support staff engagement, improve collaboration and better support a growing remote workforce.


  1. Upskilling/retraining employees to help drive revenue (28%)
  2. Maintaining employee productivity (25%)
  3. Addressing mental health issues of employees (23%)
  4. Having access to the right data to make good workforce decisions (20%)
  5. Preserving jobs (14%)
  6. Onboarding new staff (12%)

Source: PwC Pulse Survey

Remote Working & Hybrid Working

The feedback from many company surveys tends to suggest that remote working is here to stay and investment in infrastructure and training, in order for it to be as effective as possible, is expected continue. The challenges of ensuring staff engagement and employee trust will remain high on the agenda to consider how improved communications and support methods and tools will impact and improve employee engagement and associated performance and productivity.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity

We have seen global protests and increasingly movement against racial inequality touching upon all areas of public life. Equality, diversity and inclusivity has come into focus as a wide-ranging priority – accelerating a pre-existing movement. Also, the effects of the pandemic have aggravated existing challenges for historically under-represented talent: women, LGBTQ+ employees, minority groups, etc. In response, companies are making diversity and inclusion a central part of their CSR and workforce development strategy in support of improved performance.

Building Critical Skills

A Gartner survey of Chief HR Officers asked what will be the most pressing issues to address in the coming year. The response was:

• 68% building critical and core skills for employees to be successful in role 
• 46% organisational design and change management,
• 44% developing current and future leadership,
• 32% the future of work
• 28% employee experience

In a recent McKinsey Global survey, 87% of executives were either experiencing skills gaps in their workforce, or expected them within a few years. Learning solutions to develop the right skills in managerial talent and help this cohort to lead and manage change will also be key to bridging skills gaps and helping companies thrive in the future.

Finally, a crucial support requirement for HR/OD/L&D functions, which have had to react to unexpected challenge and change, is an adaptable, responsive and flexible learning partner and learning solutions provider.

At Eliesha Training, we are proud to say that our portfolio of learning products and services - and our team of expert trainers - have supported so many organisations during the extraordinary challenges of the last 14 months. Absolving to work as a trusted learning partner with our customers, as we do, has meant quick turnarounds and transparent conversations with regards to the precise support their workforces needed and the most effective way to engage with them.

We hope you have found these priorities insightful and if you would like to arrange an exploratory, informal conversation around your own learning and organisational development needs and how our 20+ years of experience can be leveraged to support them, just fill out an enquiry form here and we will be in touch.

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