According to the recently released Global Talent Trends 2019 report by LinkedIn, Soft Skills, Work Flexibility, Anti-harassment and Pay Transparency are four major trends that are set to transform the recruitment process and impact the modern workplace. The report not only draws upon the insights from a survey of over 5,000 talent professionals across 35 countries, but also distills conversations with experts and employers like Starbucks, Cisco, and Sodexo to bring actionable HR insights and advice on the aforementioned trends. But as we all know too well, today, HR and L&D need to work hand in glove to support all stages of the employee lifecycle. Which is why it’s critical to take a look at some of the most significant changes that HR as well as L&D professionals MUST consider and strategize accordingly in 2019 and beyond with an eye on these key trends.

1. Encourage Soft Skills’ Development

Although hard skills, including Technology, Finance, Accounting, etc. continue to dominate the training and learning landscape, it’s the soft skills like interpersonal communication, time management, creativity, collaboration, etc. that are being valued by more and more organizations. Why? Because with the influx of automation and AI in industries, companies, and jobs, soft skills are perhaps one of the key differentiators between machines and humans. Also, not to forget the fact that candidates with the best of hard skills also need some soft skills to successfully fulfill their desired role. Hence, it doesn’t come as a surprise that almost 57% of leaders believe that soft skills outweigh hard skills.

However, while organizations know the value of soft skills, most still struggle in their attempt to assess them, which is giving rise to a greater disconnect between the demand for and the failure to identify soft skills.

Certainly, the answer lies in L&D. Soft skills like time management, leadership or personal development can easily be learnt on the job. In fact, most organizations invest large amounts of resources into skill development to either up skill their workforce or close existing skill-gaps with the use of innovative learn- tech tools like Learning Management Systems (LMSes). However, it’s not LMSes alone (at least in isolation) that can bring about effective soft skill development. It’s the platform’s support for third-party (like ready-to-use Off-the-Shelf courses and videos) or the company’s legacy training/ learning content, along with integration capabilities with Online Content Marketplaces (the likes of LinkedIn Learning, Lynda, Khan Academy, etc.) that opens the door to a wide learning repository, sometimes beyond what is available in-house/ proprietary with the company.

2. Provide Mobility for Better Work Flexibility

According to LinkedIn, there has been a 78% rise in job posts mentioning work flexibility, and a 24% growth in the demand for flexible work facility. Flexibility is no longer just about convenience, commute or schedule, but about offering a work-life balance. And organizations that realize the importance of that also, in turn, ease workplace stress and encourage productivity. But for work flexibility to pave a concrete way into today’s corporate scenario, organizations need to offer not just compensations but also the technology for employees to do their jobs properly and efficiently – from wherever they wish to. A staple in the L&D departments for quite some time now!

In their quest to make learning truly continuous and seamless, L&D professionals have been using an array of mobility solutions (LMSes, today, come as fully responsive systems and/ or with mobile apps) to enable whenever-wherever-whatever access to their learners, while aiding learn and work flexibility.

So whether it’s a job function like Sales that requires employees to be on the go, or an organization’s multi-regional presence that warrants a dispersed workforce or the rise of the Gig economy, technologies, for learn and work alike, are set to pave the way for better work flexibility in 2019 and beyond.

3. Promote Anti-harassment & Diverse Workplace Culture

Today, organizations just can’t afford to ignore the #MeToo movement and the value of workplace Diversity & Inclusion (DI). Although 2018 set a milestone for anti-harassment and DI at the workplace, 2019 is all set to dig deeper and uproot sexual harassment and racism from the modern workplace.

From addressing the gender pay gap amidst the workforce to the #MeToo movement that encouraged tons of victims to speak up against sexual harassment, the onus for quick corrective measures is now upon the organizations, especially L&D. From spreading awareness to implementing strict actions, L&D professionals need to spearhead the change, which also directly translates into providing the right kind of technology to address the pressing issues. Awareness programs, like Prevention of Sexual Harassment (PoSH), which can be online alone or a blend of Instructor Lead Training (ILT), eLearning and mobile learning, are a great way to educate employees. But awareness programs in themselves are not enough if employees don’t have the tools to access them. Thus, by leveraging learn-techn solutions, which may already exist in the workplace or can be easily hosted on Cloud, organizations can rightly bring about a positive change in the #MeToo narrative in the modern workplace.

Furthermore, L&D professionals need to focus on promoting diversity in order to bring a diverse set of voices and experiences into the workplace . It’s critical to note that diversity (in the form of gender, socio-cultural, age and generation, sexual orientation, disability and ability, etc.) alone is not enough. Organizations need to push the pedal to the metal to bring about ‘inclusion’ of these (a seat at the table, a voice in decision-making, etc.), while breaking down stereotypes. This is also true as large conglomerates and MNCs expand to different locations across the globe, it is up to the L&D to make sure the diversity aspect doesn’t become a stumbling block in the organization’s success. And, learn-tech solutions with multi-lingual support, virtual classroom integration, social learning and knowledge collaboration have just the right kind of answers.

4. Embrace Pay Transparency

Pay transparency has been a rather debated topic in the recent years. Largely kept confidential, an employee’s pay scale is assumed to be nobody’s business but theirs, except, now it is.

Organizations have realized the disadvantages of ‘denying access’ to their employees in matters of diversity, pay transparency and (up) skilling. Doing this only makes candidates edgy and suspicious. On the other hand, pay transparency has many benefits, including the most important one – ensuring fair pay. The topic of fair pay has been discussed by many nations across the world with the intention of introducing pay transparency laws. As a result, many organizations are bracing for pay transparency and fair pay enforcement.

While this is being done, again, it is up to the L&D professionals to bring about awareness and enforce a more positive culture, one that embraces gender equality and pay transparency at all levels of the organization. Using informal training modules that enable employees to gain information from peers and colleagues through social media and knowledge collaboration tools, L&D professionals can help the employees informally in such matters as pay transparency.


Clearly, the field of Learning & Development is set to play a huge role in terms of talent development and retention in 2019 and beyond, and thus, needs to evolve with the changes and lend itself to the future global workforce. With the digital revolution reaching its peak in 2019, it is clear that L&D will have to take into consideration all the latest trends that will help them stay relevant and competitive in the years to come.

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