Explore how training data reveals changing norms.
Has enterprise training returned to pre-pandemic norms?
Yes. 2022 has been a clear return to pre-pandemic baselines, but with unique standouts worth considering.
That has been a significant increase in total training events (an aggregate of classroom, vILT, and eLearning events) for 2022. While some of this volume is pent-up demand deferred during the pandemic, base training demand grew substantially both during and post-pandemic.
Administrate’s data infers rising demand is a combination of a collective doubling down of decisions made throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to cut staff paired with a shifting workforce. COVID-19 lockdowns lead to the Great Resignation of 2020-2021, and the Great Reshuffling of 2022.
Because organizations with effective training programs can see employee retention rates reach 50%, this dramatic rise in training volume heralds a new focus on training and deeper investments into training and talent management investments in 2023.
Each year we leverage Administrate’s own built-in data model to examine training data from millions of learners. This reveals patterns and insights into our customers’ use of Administrate to better understand our industry and serve our customers and partners.
The analysis below uses pre-pandemic averages from 2016-2019 as a baseline. We measure deviations from that mean in both the COVID-19 years (2020-2021) and 2022. This analysis reveals 2022 marks the first return to that baseline.
190 Training Organizations
1.8 M Learners
2016 - 2022 Data
Other industries included in the study:
2022 marks an initial return to pre-pandemic norms in many areas.
Key indicators reveal a trend back to our 2016-2019 mean. Unique outliers reveal some pandemic era trends have become permanent.
Administrate’s data reveals that despite eLearning having more than doubled in volume and classroom training events growing substantially in 2022, the total number of new courses created dropped. This suggests training demand is far outstripping training’s ability to supply new, updated content. This spike in volume has been sustained since the pandemic era, and shows no indication of reversing.
The following data includes Aggregated learners on events, elearning, classroom, and courses created across a population of 190 training organizations.
For Administrate users, 2022 was a year of stable growth in training volume. During the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, we saw large and irregular peaks and troughs in training events created and delivered. Data from 2022 was much more in line with typical seasonal variations in our 2016-2019 baseline.
This reflects an economy, and specifically the L&D field, are finally moving out of crisis-response mode and towards a stable post-pandemic business model. But our analysis also reveals that a new normal isn’t fully established yet.
Total training volumes for 2022 increased compared to the pandemic years and are well above our 2016-2019 baseline. This is most likely the result of the ongoing labor market turmoil of the Great Resignation and subsequent Great Reshuffle.
Workers are changing jobs, careers, and industries faster than ever before. Talent retention is now a primary concern for many businesses, encouraging an investment in improved and expanded onboarding, upskilling, and re-skilling. With competition for skilled labor extremely fierce, HR professionals increasingly believe that investing into the professional development of existing employees is faster and more cost-effective than external hiring.
Administrate data also shows a strong shift towards eLearning and vILT modalities. This is consistent with a post-pandemic normal in which many businesses retain hybrid or remote teams that were created during the pandemic. ELearning and vILT are now more convenient ways to deliver training to much of the workforce. However, the extent of the permanent shift to remote work is still undecided. We’ll be taking a look at this same eLearning and vILT data next year to see whether these shifts are here to stay.
Compliance training volumes have seen sustained growth in the past few years. Active events from our compliance customers have grown steadily since the start of the pandemic and are high above the 2016-2019 baseline.
Analysis of Administrate’s data highlights three possible drivers for this growth. It’s likely that each of these factors is playing a part.
Investing in improved reporting and data management will be critical for all industries in 2023. The current environment of high regregulatory evolution with short compliance windows is unlikely to change. Investing in a highly reportable data model that simplifies data access and improves data utilization will make navigating rapidly-shifting requirements more simple.
Administrate’s training management platform provides powerful reporting capabilities with our comprehensive, no-code reporting engine. That kind of visibility and access to 100% of your data is especially empowering for compliance operations, where even relatively minor oversights could cause major regulatory headaches.
Integrating the systems that monitor compliance concerns with the systems tracking and delivering compliance training can also reduce headaches and manual data transfers, saving time and money. Administrate can connect directly with systems such as an HRiS through our open API. This can enable complex functions such as regulatory audits to be conducted in-full from within a single software system.
The financial sector is growing quickly following severe employment losses during the pandemic. U.S. employment in the sector passed its pre-pandemic peak in January 2022, and continues to expand. This upswing in employment is likely behind the strong demand for training in the sector.
However, traditional financial services companies are under pressure from the financial technology industry, or fintech, to either upgrade their tech-savvy or be left behind. Disruptive fintech startups are forcing established companies to accelerate their plans to adopt innovative tech, such as AI and blockchain. While fintech investments took a hit in 2022, as of Q3 2022, venture capital is still investing heavily into the sector.
Competition with fintech companies, on top of a globally tight labor market, has created an especially intense arms race for technologically-savvy workers in the financial talent supply chain. Financial services companies will need to act decisively to ensure their workforce can keep up with the pace of innovation.
Data from Administrate users shows increases in learners on events and total courses created by our financial services customers in 2022. Growth in these areas was higher than in 2020-21, and much higher than the pre-pandemic baseline. This could reflect an investment in upskilling the existing financial services workforce to meet demand for technology skills – or it might reflect increased onboarding demand due to strong hiring in the sector. Likely, both of these factors are contributing to strong demand for financial services training.
The rising training volume and increase in learners on events for the Financial Services sector is a good reminder that managing complex course catalogs can be a time sink for training teams.
Administrate can boost the efficiency of training operations by leveraging a robust training data model to optimize training operations. It is possible to control entire course catalogs from a single interface, surface suggestions and insights into course improvements from training data, and automate many stages of course creation, enrollment, and badging.
See how we helped Royal Caribbean Group boost productivity by 80%.
Healthcare training volumes have grown extremely quickly since the start of the pandemic. Our data shows that in 2022, the healthcare sector is leaning heavily into delivering training through eLearning, while traditional classroom training volumes remain low.
This push for asynchronous, online training delivery might be the result of an effort to train healthcare staff as quickly and efficiently as possible. The tight labor market has hit healthcare hard, with turnover, vacancies, and recruiting costs all painfully high. Relying on eLearning may be part of the solution.
eLearning solutions are allowing healthcare companies to train more workers with the same resources, and train workers who need more flexibility in their scheduling – which describes large numbers of nurses and other healthcare workers, whose scheduling can often be erratic.
Other industries are settling into a new normal, but healthcare seems to still be in recovery mode. With 1.5 million healthcare professionals leaving the workforce in 2020, it isn’t a surprise that the industry’s workforce is still being rebuilt. We’ll be keeping a close eye on how the healthcare industry continues its recovery.
Healthcare’s challenges in 2022 highlight the importance of providing humanized training opportunities. Administrate’s data suggests the training function will gain a larger role in creating and maintaining these cultural touch points in 2023 and beyond. One way to do that is a diversity of training modalities.
Often, training teams rely on multiple point solutions to deliver training in different modalities. Administrate makes it possible to deliver training in multiple modalities, easily. You can create a course once, and Administrate can deliver it as a classroom, vILT, or self-guided eLearning experience.
Almost all industries continue to struggle with a global supply chain crisis. We therefore took a close look at data from our transportation and logistics customers to study the root causes of the crisis – and the responses from the industry.
Transportation and logistics faced severe labor shortages even before the pandemic. And now, shortages of spare parts, finished vehicles, and labor are more severe than ever, restricting global transport capacity and bottlenecking the global economy. Transportation and logistics, therefore, faces immense pressure to speed up its recovery and settle into a new normal.
Industry analysis suggests that one response has been increased investment in training. Active training events and learners on events have both risen in 2022, following growth trends from 2021. We believe that this reflects increased onboarding as the industry attempts to fill the labor shortage it has accumulated over the past several years.
Traditional classroom-based learning events remain popular with transportation and logistics companies, and that vILT and eLearning have not seen the same growth in this industry. We will be paying close attention to how this decision affects learner outcomes.
Training has a key stake in maintaining culture.
We see training’s role expanding as a guardian of company culture, especially for organizations that remain decentralized with remote and hybrid workforces.
eLearning is growing in many industries, offering more self-guided courses for employees that may not include classroom or vILT opportunities. A growing number of employees will rely on training events to connect with coworkers and the organization. This places a new duty on the training function to not only help create, but maintain, company culture.
The following categories all show declines in learners on events from 2021 levels, and in the case of Hospitality, dipping below our pre-pandemic mean. These industries are having very public struggles with finding and retaining a workforce in 2022, and this data bares out that assumption. This underscores the importance training has in retaining talent.
By looking at Courses Created data, we see stark differences between the Compliance and Healthcare categories. Healthcare has created far less courses for 2022 vs Compliance, and this correlates with their decline in learners on events. It is likely this contraction in courses created is a response to a shrinking workforce, but we pose the question: how can healthcare leverage training to retain key talent?
More organizations are using multiple modalities to deliver their learner experience in 2022. Increased adoption of all modalities indicates a shift towards multimodal training experiences. This is a good sign that the learning and development field is becoming more flexible and adaptable – and it has implications for training’s role within a company.
Shifting to remote work has disrupted traditional team communication methods. Informal verbal communication in the office no longer reaches a large segment of the workforce. Administrate’s data shows email volumes have risen to fill this need, but with email perceived as formal and over-used, it’s unlikely it’s serving as an effective vector for communicating and reinforcing things such as company culture.
That has placed training in a unique position within the organization. With many businesses remaining fully or partially remote in this post-pandemic normal, training is now a key communication vector for distributed teams.
Training events are now an important touchstone, bringing together remote teams and providing a shared, unifying experience. Training teams need to embrace this new role as a culture center, and take steps to immerse employees in shared culture. Delivering focused, high-quality training that engages employees emotionally and builds “soft skills” will be essential to maintaining a strong company culture post-pandemic.
With the changing role of the training function, it will be important to prioritize training’s role as a protector and curator of company culture. Administrate is a training operations platform built to facilitate decentralized training. By leveraging automated workflows and communications from a single platform, it is possible to be strategic when deploying a human-centered approach to program management.
For example, it becomes easier to manage all of your training modalities in one place, automate and control messaging, and use collaborative learning paths that allow learners, training managers, and instructors to deliver precise training.
By making it easier to create, manage, and deliver training in any modality, your team can focus on the new demands of training: protecting company culture as a decentralized.
Training teams delivered 3x more emails in 2022. Don’t get lost in the inbox.
Email communication has grown rapidly since 2020, peaking for many industries in 2022 with no signs of slowing in 2023 and beyond. We do not see this as an entirely positive sign, and caution training teams to utilize SMS and other asynchronous communications to avoid being lost in a flooded inbox.
In 2022, we see a marked rise in email communications. Email communication with learners and instructors became critical during the pandemic, and as many organizations continue with remote, or decentralized workplaces, digital communication continues to be important.
Some outliers are relying heavily on email communications, such as Transportation & Logistics, while others such as Healthcare, are constricting email communication. The marked drop in email for Healthcare this year indicates to us that email has become less effective. And no wonder: there are so many touch points within a training program, the number of emails can rise quickly. This places an uneven burden on learners, and can lead to a drop in learning completion rates even if it can improve engagement.
Email volumes increased substantially 2022, in line with high volumes in our 2020-2021 samples. SMS communications have also increased, but our analysis indicates that much of this increase is likely due to automated password reset prompts and other, similar messages. Email, therefore, is the undisputed winner of the post-pandemic digital communications race.
However, research suggests that there may be downsides to increasing reliance on email communication. 22% of surveyed employees reported that excessive email volumes were enough to make them want to quit their jobs. And long before the pandemic, it had been documented that excessive digital communication volume is a major source of stress, while being a drain on productivity and employee engagement.
Expanding digital modalities is an exciting innovation that is helping many companies deliver a more flexible learner experience. But there are always downsides. L&D professionals need to be mindful of whether their learner experience might be overloading inboxes and causing burnout, and take steps to limit those negative impacts.
For 2023, training teams need to reduce reliance on a single communication channel: email.
Does your existing learning technology allow you to communicate on other channels? Administrate can easily automate personalized SMS messages as well as email. We suggest mixing both communication channels to engage learners, but also reducing the volume of these communications.
Administrate can make your communications strategy more effective. Administrate can track when learners are most likely to open an SMS or email, informing you when one channel is more likely to engage. The platform can also trigger communications from specific actions, making it possible to send highly target, precise communications only when needed.
Three ways training operations will change in 2023.
As the world continues to push past the challenges of the pandemic and adjust to the changes it has inspired, there are three particular areas of talent management that we’ll be paying attention to in the coming year.
Efficient, effective training operations is integral to maintaining organizational agility in this dynamic workforce.
We’re all familiar with the struggles of the supply chain due to the pandemic. But the workforce evolution spurred by the pandemic has also escalated talent supply chain issues in new and challenging ways.
The Great Resignation may have slowed but its impact is still being felt in the loss of expertise and experience in organizations across industries. Layering into this high turnover rate and workforce churn is the impending retirement of a generation. As Boomers and Gen X begin to set their sights on retirement, they are taking critical, often uncaptured intellectual capital out of the organization. Gen Z coming in behind them are smart, tech savvy, and highly adaptive, but they don’t intend to stay in one place long. Studies show this generation expects to change careers, not just jobs, up to four times during their working life.
These workforce shifts mean that enterprise training needs to get serious about protecting intellectual capital. There must be a concerted effort to catalog, conserve, and distribute institutional knowledge, and effectively onboard new employees with this knowledge. Uninterrupted organizational success won’t be possible unless businesses start planning to protect this critical asset. This is a clarion call for deep change in training operations and the adoption of a holistic approach to the production, governance, distribution, and engagement required to educate and retrain core talent.
Assess your learning technology stack. Understand how and where it can provide more robust support to your team, whether through task automation, system integrations, or aggregated reporting deliverables.
Human-Centered Training as an Employee Satisfaction + Retention Strategy
Training has always been at the forefront of organizational culture, but in today’s fluid workforce, it has become a critical touchpoint in fostering high employee satisfaction and talent retention. Today, training’s influence is stronger than ever, as employers scramble to keep an insatiable workforce engaged and retain key employees as long-term contributors. Classroom training, both live and virtual instructor led, is booming. Why? Because these opportunities for human contact shore up the relationship between a team member and the organization in ways that an eLearning module completed in isolation never will.
There’s an opportunity here for high-impact training teams to move the needle on key business metrics through effective talent management. Demonstrating a commitment to employees’ professional development, curating learning paths that reinforce employees’ career and growth prospects, and recurrent human engagement through live learning experiences, are all secret weapons in the fight to cut talent churn and improve the ROI of training operations.
Explore the new class of learning technology in training operations platforms and consider when this approach may be timely for your training organization. You can begin with this guide, “Do We Need a Training Operations Platform? Five Questions to Ask.”
Training is Critical for Industries Impacted by Competitive Labor Markets.
Recovery is happening, but many industries we serve are still struggling with a competitive labor market. The ability to reskill, upskill, and retain employees through training programs represents a competitive advantage in the ongoing arms race for talent.
Now is the time to build an operations infrastructure for enterprise training that can reveal upskilling opportunities and pinpoint the causes of employee dissatisfaction. By onboarding employees effectively, committing to their professional development through upskilling, and using training as a vector for instilling company culture, training can be a powerful tool for attracting and retaining talent.
But that will take more than implementing some new courses. To run an efficient and effective training program that can meet those needs, training teams need to streamline and empower their operations from the ground up. Through steps like automating learner engagement and communications, centralizing training data under a KPI-driven data model, and utilizing powerful scheduling and resource management tools to maximize efficiency while minimizing disruption, training teams can equip their workforce for success and gain an advantage in the labor market.
That’s going to take more than spreadsheets to manage.
Well, we made it. After two years of pandemic-induced uncertainty, 2022 has certainly felt like a return to normal in many ways. And yet, we are all still feeling our way around the edges of this new version of normal. It hasn’t fully arrived yet.
Uncertainty is the welcome mat for change in an organization, and that is of particular benefit to the world of enterprise training. We thrive on fostering growth and evolving the potential of an organization through its people. This, in so many ways, is enterprise training’s moment.
Like so many aspects of the “before times” (before COVID-19), we won’t find comfort or success in all of the same solutions anymore. Traits like agility, scale, and efficiency hold new force and meaning now in our more highly distributed corporate environment. Even those organizations that have returned to the office are finding that employees’ relationship to space is different now and this will naturally impact how we relate, communicate, learn, and grow.
Is your training function change-ready? Notice that I am not asking if your team is adaptable. Training professionals are some of the most adaptable folks I have ever met. It’s practically a core trait of the profession. No, I am asking about your training function – the program itself. Is the program ready and able to turn on a dime when it needs to? Because it will need to. You’ve already read our thoughts about workforce shifts, industry trends, and how technology is serving (or not yet serving) learners in various organizations. Where does your organization stand?
We are now in a “time between times.” We do not know what the next big shift will be for global health, economics, or politics, but if the pandemic clarified anything for business, it is that we are all far more connected than we may have appreciated. Connection, however, does not automatically foster collaboration, coordination, or success. That’s where training, and particularly training operations, can serve as a pivotal strategic force for business success. If your training operations are built change-ready, your organization is prepared to advance quickly toward changing priorities. This moment between is your opportunity to make that shift, construct that capability, and future proof your organization.
These are the very business needs that Administrate was created to serve. Our platform is built to be a connector of technology. We’ve designed it to integrate tools for training, HR, finance, and operations from throughout the organization, and serve as a single touchpoint for employee learning.
Our unparalleled data model enables organizations to think strategically about the ROI of their human capital through accurate measurements and data-backed predictions. It has been a game changer for organizations such as Maersk, Siemens Healthineers, Royal Caribbean Group and others. If you’re ready to explore what this fundamental shift in how to manage training can produce for your organization, we’d be honored to show you.
All the best as you continue to lead your organization through these days of innovative readiness for what’s next.
CEO of Administrate