5 Learning and Development Themes to Consider in 2021

9 November 2020

At the start of September, we ran a month-long survey to find out how event organisers and businesses in general felt about the role virtual events would play in supporting their teams.

When we deep dived into the data we discovered businesses were looking at content themes which were aligned to the learning and development of their teams. Remote working had shown the skill levels were high enough for employees to work without the typical supervision from managers, but what they needed were the tools to adjust to the new normal.

Our survey told us 94% of businesses plan to run a virtual event within the next 12 months. With virtual events being used as a learning and development tool, here are 5 ways external speakers are being booked to upskill teams as we look ahead to 2021.

Creating Mindsets to Meet the Challenges that Lie Ahead

Rather than a general ‘rally the staff’ type message, businesses are looking for external speakers to help their employees develop a mindset which adapts to the new normal. This includes dealing with adversity and setbacks, developing creative thinking to ‘do less with more’, responding to the evolving needs of their customers and generally adapting to the new world we now inhabit.

While this year has been a challenging one there is optimism as we look forward into 2021. A January kick-off event is perfect for businesses to use a motivational speaker to engage with fresh minds, use their story and experiences to provide context for the challenges and opportunities the business will encounter during the next 12 months.

Communication and Teamwork in a Virtual World

During the first lockdown businesses were thrown into the deep end as far as remote working was concerned.

However, with the prospect of remote working set to continue well into 2021, and perhaps a balance between the office and home to remain the status quo, there are three broad challenges businesses are facing:

  • “How do we maintain the productivity of employees virtually”,
  • “Who can inspire our team to work together in a virtual world”,
  • “With remote working keeping our team working together in a virtual world will be crucial for us.”

The businesses we work with are looking for external speakers to help ensure the creativity which energised the workplace isn’t lost, the dialogue between teams to problem solve and drive excellence continues, and a sense of responsibility that each individual is responsible for the success of the business in these uncertain times remains at the forefront.

Many external speakers have adapted their speech, or performance in some cases, to fit the virtual platform delivering messages and practical steps to be actioned straight away.

Supporting the Mental Health of Employees

According to the mental health charity Mind , 14% of employees had resigned and 42% had considered resigning their position*, due to workplace stress. The pandemic, with fears over the health of our loved ones, our jobs and the effects of working in self-isolation, continues to accelerate the discussion around mental health within the workplace.

External speakers are used by businesses to not just start the conversation, where staff feel able to share their experiences and understand why they feel or act in a certain way, but to develop support programmes and training. This brings positive benefits to the workplace, such as reduced staff sickness, increased productivity, employee retention and development.

The growing number of requests from businesses looking to book a mental health speaker over the past 5 years shows no signs of slowing down and will remain a crucial part of the work we do with organisations in 2021.

Leadership Models for the New Normal

When the world we now live in is unprecedented for many of us, how do leaders make the right decisions and effectively communicate with their teams?

Leadership teams know they need to be one-step ahead of their competitors, understanding where the shifts in the marketplace are occurring and pivot quickly to meet their customers needs.

This is where expert insights and analysis delivered by external speakers to help create scenarios and forecast trends, can deliver a competitive advantage.
But communicating strategies, visions, culture, growth and cutbacks for example to their employees in a virtual world is challenging. Employees are emboldened to use online Q&As to ask questions they perhaps wouldn’t ask in a live event. Every word that is written and spoken is scrutinised to see what it means for that individual, team and department.

It’s imperative leadership teams are equipped with the skills to guide their employees through the challenges that lie ahead. Our work with senior leadership forums in the past stands us in good stead to recommend which of the brilliant minds we have in our little black book of contacts fits the bill perfectly.

Diversity & Inclusion is the Untapped Natural Resource

A diverse, inclusive and equal workforce will deliver to a business the full potential of the workforce. This means the diversity and inclusion conversation remains critical to a business to ensure home working doesn’t impact the positive steps that have been taken to ensure that inclusive workplaces and cultures are maintained.

Our work with businesses over time has seen a need for speakers to educate and inspire about the benefits of having diverse voices and ideas to help a company make decisions.

The conversations internally are moving away from the polarisation and divisiveness that has cascaded through society towards an understanding that differing opinions and thoughts encourage learning and acceptance of alternative ideas.

In a world that is rapidly changing and where the status quo are being left behind, business leaders understand the value of diverse thoughts and opinions from every walk of life. The popularity of diversity and inclusion speakers shows no signs of slowing down as head into 2021.

*statistics taken from the Mind charity website - see link here  for reference

Photo by Tim Mossholder  on Unsplash . We chose this photo as it inspires us to see everyday as a learning opportunity.

For further information or to book a speaker, call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email  info@speakerscorner.co.uk

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