Three Learning & Development Trends for 2023

3 January 2023

Learning & Organisational Development is vital, but never easy. In periods of economic uncertainty and in the context of rapidly changing workplaces and resourcing challenges, supporting your workforce with the knowledge and skills that will help them thrive (rather than just survive) takes on an even more complex nature.

With planning for another calendar year of learning support well underway, we have explored three trending areas below, all of which are likely to be on the priority lists of our learning partners in 2023 and beyond.

Social Learning

Something we witnessed when supporting organisations during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic was how valuable individuals found it to come together and explore new and different ways of working and problem-solving. We received regular feedback that the classroom environment (virtual, at the time) provides a different dynamic to normal planning meetings or ‘brainstorms’, with honesty and realism about existing strategies providing a good foundation for change.

Facilitating a social learning environment is something we see increasing in popularity and necessity over the next twelve months. As the economic environment continues to be unstable, for many it will only be their workforce’s ability to collaborate and pull together that will help them to find workable solutions. Organisational leaders should be aware that learning and development support – already a very sensible response to turbulent trading periods – can also help teams to self-reflect and bond.

In exploring the trend of social learning, care must be taken to avoid learning interventions becoming merely opportunities to air grievances and share frustrations – a skilled trainer/facilitator can leverage these thoughts into productive discussion that encompasses an honest assessment of learners’ lived experiences, without losing focus on the topic area and learning outcomes at hand.

Perhaps most importantly, social learning interventions are very good at counter-acting hesitations about learning (or trying) something new and reminding people how proactive and innovative they can be.

Inclusive Leadership

In the leadership development programmes our learning partners are requesting, we are seeing a much wider scope in the behaviours and abilities they aim to develop and embed. Organisations in all sectors are specifying their ideal leaders, who possess a deep understanding of values (both personal and organisational), the ability to form meaningful, open professional relationships and a willingness to stop and reflect for continuous improvement and learning.

This reflects the increasing awareness that agile, forward-thinking organisations able to respond quickly and effectively to change have to be led by inclusive leaders, who have the skills and knowledge to make their organisation an exciting and rewarding place to work, for everyone. Access to, and retention of, the best talent has never been more important and, with skilled and experienced individuals able to be more discerning than ever before in their choice of workplace, old-fashioned ‘do as I say’ managers will no longer suffice.

The word inclusive can encompass a range of traits, from compassionate to collaborative, from courageous to ethical. Ultimately, what matters is that the talented and skilled people on which all organisations rely are led by individuals who want them to be happy, healthy and feel supported, as well as productive.

Culture Creation

The erosion of the traditional office workplace has shined a light on company culture – particularly how it is defined and what constitutes it. When asked to describe their workplace culture, many employees would probably start with their colleague interactions – so what impact has it had on company cultures that hybrid and flexible working policies have re-written the frequency, context and nature of employee interactions? If your culture is borne out in the physical office environment, how do you replicate it in the virtual one?

Capterra’s 2022 company culture survey (of 1,000 US workers) revealed a majority (52%) of respondents said it’s ‘minimally or not at all important to have friends or other close social relationships at work’, and, when asked to rank 14 job satisfaction factors from most to least important, only 11% put co-worker relationships in their top three – joint last! It's not just the remote office – 63% of those surveyed agreed that high levels of turnover in their teams made it ‘less worthwhile for them to socialise with and get to know their co-workers’.

And yet, a clear company culture – a shared understanding of how and why things are done – is at the heart of the trust required to enable an organisation to act and adapt quickly to challenges. Whatever their desired culture looks like, we know this is an area that our customers are going to be exploring closely at this year and looking for Learning & Development support to take a key role in the process, and as a surefire way of influencing positive outcomes

The development of a strong company culture is not as simple as painting epithets on the walls (which might be a challenge in the remote office!), however well-meaning they are, so this process always starts with honest assessment around what an organisation’s workforce is motivated by, what they need from their employer in order to be productive, and ultimately, what experience they would like their customers to have.

We hope these trends have supported and informed your planning for 2023 with some insight and food for thought. If you have organisational development challenges that we can support with engaging, impactful learning delivery - email us on or fill out an enquiry form here to arrange an informal, exploratory meeting.

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