The trends shaping business training in 2021


The past year has been difficult for many companies around the world. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to take a break from in-person meetings, it looked like corporate training could be one of the earliest and hardest hit business activities.

However, given the rapidly changing skills situation, companies could not afford to put the training process on hold. No less than 91% of French employers surveyed plan to increase digitization in the coming year and in particular plan to accelerate the digitization of skills improvement and employee reorientation (45%).

Current trends show that virtual training is the future. In fact, compared to 2019, we see that the total registrations for these courses increased by around 328% in 2020 *. Business leaders are reinventing programs and scaling them up through virtual platforms. While corporate training is undoubtedly to remain on the agenda of many organizations, a number of existing trends stand out after gaining momentum over the past year. New developments should also shape training in 2021.

Trends that accelerated in 2020

Digital transformation – The pace of digital transformation has continued unabated in 2020, fueled in part by the pandemic. Today, the World Economic Forum tells us that 84% of employers are poised to rapidly digitize work processes, including the possibility of shifting 44% of their staff to remote work. In response to this, we are seeing companies redesigning their skills development goals, taking into account growing needs in areas like machine learning, digital marketing, and data structures.

Skills certifications – While credentials continue to be important, in 2020 we have seen employers seek out skills that match the tasks to be performed on an assignment. Professional certificates like Google IT Support, designed to equip employees with the latest and most relevant skills in the industry, saw a 400% increase in enrollments in 2020 compared to 2019 *.

The changing role of the training function – The pandemic has made an agile workforce a crucial resource and training leaders can play an important role in preparing the workforce for a new normal. Beyond the mission of skills development, the person who takes on this function must now be considered as a strategic partner in the transformation of the company. for the CEO, concretely helping the Management to act. For example, training officials at Novartis, the global medicines company, have extended open access to our platform to two friends or family members of employees during the pandemic, knowing that they may be directly or indirectly affected by the circumstances of COVID-19. This is a powerful example of using training to empower employees and their communities.

The trends that will guide the agenda in 2021

Development of professional skills – This year, we expect corporate training to focus more on training directly related to job requirements. Indeed, an IDC study from the Coursera for Business platform has shown that companies can perceive a return on investment of 746% over three years when they make training an integral part of job development.

Practical training – According to the World Economic Forum, industrial and sector tools are increasingly strengthening companies. Whether it’s performing data analysis using Python, or designing websites using WordPress, the out-of-the-box tools speed up deployment and experimentation. Guided projects ** help in particular to train employees in these tools. Employees can learn practical skills in less than two hours with the step-by-step help of an instructor. Because they require a lower investment of time compared to full courses or diplomas and allow for real-life scenarios based on real-life scenarios, employees can develop targeted skills at the exact moment they need them. .

A balance between know-how and interpersonal skills – As the demand for corporate training continues to be driven by technology and data science skills, a balance with interpersonal skills and mental well-being will be needed after the difficult challenges that 2020 has posed for us. Indeed, courses such as The Science of Well-Being University of Yale registered more than 2.7 million registrations in 2020 *.

Given the speed of change in the business landscape, reinventing the corporate training program will be critical to creating the workforce of tomorrow in the coming year. We look forward to working with businesses in the region as they meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of a new world.

* Based on data from the Coursera platform

** Guided projects offered on the Coursera platform