If anything, Covid-19 underlined the importance of employee skilling and development for business sustenance and growth. For some businesses, it meant adopting L&D practices to get their workforce up to speed and for others, it meant strengthening their digital learning interventions for improved productivity. One way or the other, L&D became the cornerstone of business success.

However, with cash flow becoming the biggest problem facing businesses during the crisis, making room for training budgets seemed like an uphill task. So as the world ‘Reacted’ and ‘Responded’ to the pandemic, two of the four phases defined by Josh Bersin in his report ‘Untangling The HR Tech Market 2021’, furlough, salary cuts and layoffs became the norm, threatening to deprioritize employee development. In India alone, Uber fired 3,700 frontline workers over a 3-minute Zoom call; social commerce startup, Meesho, laid off 150 executives just days after assuring them their jobs were not at risk and the UP government suspended 35 labour laws for three years to attract investment.

While the world grappled with these uncertainties, the company’s HR was undergoing a transformation like none before. They didn’t just have to roll out remote working for their in-office workforce, they now had to reinvent the business model, rethink customer experience and demand, and make employee wellbeing a key part of their strategy. They had to grow from being Responsive to Resilient. They had to integrate work and life. And the only way to achieve this was by flipping the perception and role of L&D from a cost center to a profit center.

This means making the right investment decisions and getting the necessary buy-in from the top management, making ‘Communicating the value of L&D to the CEO and CFO in 2021’ the lynchpin of a thriving business