ArticlesArrow image
The rise of intentional learning: the shift shaping workforce development strategies in 2024

The rise of intentional learning: the shift shaping workforce development strategies in 2024

Written by:
Thomas Schipperen
Date created
March 4, 2024
Last updated:
April 8, 2024
5 min read
No items found.
Table of content
Ready to upskill your people and
transform your business today?

We offer a scalable employee training solution. It lets you continuously upskill your people and expand their capabilities.

Plan a meeting
Key takeaways
  • Lepaya's 2024 State of Skills report indicates a noteworthy shift towards intentional learning over resilience in workforce development.
  • A decline in the skill shelf life due to AI is prompting a focus on learning itself as a valuable skill.
  • Intentional learning skills help organizations stay ahead of skill gaps, increasing talent retention, and reducing reliance on external hiring.
  • The rise of intentional learning aligns with skills-based organizations, focusing on adaptable, skill-centric talent management.

Amidst AI disruption, tech layoffs, and continuing labor shortages, it would be logical to think that resilience would be the top priority for people leaders in 2024. But data from Lepaya’s 2024 State of Skills report reveals an interesting shift in upskilling focus, with a new skill coming to the fore: intentional learning.

Drawing on data from 18,179 learners across 170 companies in 2023, Lepaya’s State of Skills report shows that intentional learning increased in hours trained by 461% while resilience decreased by 37%. In last year’s market where disruption was still the norm, this contradicts expectations that enterprises would continue to prioritize resilience skills in workforce development and training.

So what’s behind this shift, and what does it mean for the future of workforce development strategies?

Below, we unpack intentional learning, looking at the factors driving its rise and the role it plays within the wider move towards skills-based organizations. 

Intentional learning is the new resilience 

First, let’s define what we mean by intentional learning. 

Through intentional learning, employees learn to embrace challenges, adapt, excel, and view everyday experiences as opportunities for growth. Intentional learning includes training such as personal strengths development, driving a feedback culture and growth mindset. It enables individuals to reflect on and apply acquired skills, driving a culture of continuous learning in organizations and positively influencing team environments.

In 2023, 83% of the analyzed enterprises in our report combined intentional learning with at least one of the top three skills driving learning and development — leadership, collaboration, and analytical thinking.

Comparison between top 5 skills trained in 2022 & 2023
A graph showcasing top 5 skills companies trained in 2022 and 2023
“Learning is a skill to be learned and learned quicker than ever before. Intentional learning means taking the responsibility of learning into your own hands. It means that you look at your skill set and make conscious choices about how you want your career to develop.”

Thomas Schipperen, Intentional Learning expert at Lepaya.

Factors driving the rise of intentional learning

In a world where the shelf life of skills has decreased dramatically—with some estimates showing that new capabilities will be relevant for just 5 years—it makes sense that the act of learning itself has become one of the most valuable skills to acquire. 

This rapid decline in skill shelf life can, in large part, be attributed to AI. Now that some of the buzz has started to die down and businesses are increasingly integrating AI solutions like ChatGPT into their workflows, the upskilling focus has turned to developing knowledge and skill sets that will allow people to grow with innovation. Organizations are asking how they can develop the right skills for the right talent at the right time so that they can better respond to market trends and gain a competitive edge.

Intentional learning is not only helping organizations stay ahead of skill gaps rather than simply staying afloat and adapting to change, but it also is playing a large role in increasing talent retention rates. As employees become more intentional about their career growth and skills they need, many companies are filling vacancies with internal talent and decreasing their reliance on hiring from the external market.

In the second half of 2023, the global turnover rate returned to pre-pandemic levels at 2.3% and companies restored some economic stability. While career mobility was not the only reason behind higher retention rates, allowing talent to reflect on their learning and build on core skill sets was a crucial factor. 

As retention rates go up, learning and development teams will need to continue to find ways to engage talent and define clear career pathways to ensure their career progression is matched with the relevant skills.

“Continuous development is required when working in a young, dynamic team, where young professionals and leaders get extra responsibility quickly."

Laura van Hal, Organizational Development Manager at Viterra Chartering.

What intentional learning means for the future of workforce development and training

The rise of intentional learning is closely linked with the emergence of skills-based organizations, where the focus shifts from traditional job roles to a more fluid, skill-centric approach to talent management. In these organizations, the emphasis is on identifying and nurturing specific skills that align with business goals and drive success rather than sticking strictly to predefined job descriptions. 

This is especially important in the age of AI and automation, where keeping up with advancements is critical. By shifting the focus to skills, organizations can become more adaptable and equitable, uniting teams around projects or overarching goals to be solved rather than job functions. 

It’s an approach with big pay-off potential. A Deloitte global survey of 1,021 workers and 225 business and HR executives across industries found that skills-based organizations were 63% more likely to achieve results.

Intentional learning plays a pivotal role in this workforce transformation, as it empowers L&D leaders to proactively identify the skills their employees need to thrive in their current roles and to prepare for future opportunities within the company. 

In 2024, many enterprises will restructure to become skills-based. As they do, people leaders need to become more strategic and work to foster a culture of intentional learning. This will help talent to become active drivers of their learning while also igniting innovation that benefits the organization as a whole.

“We see an increased appetite for working towards a skills-based organization from our clients and intentional learning could play a significant role in up- or reskilling the workforce.”

Marlene De Koning, Director HR - Tech & Data at PWC.

Ready to upskill your people & transform your business?

We offer a scalable employee training solution. It lets you continuously upskill your people.

Book a call
State of Skills report 2024

Download our global skills report and learn more about upskilling strategies of world's leading organizations.

Read now
Building a skills-based organization

What makes a skills-based organization and why setting one up is relevant? Join our panel discussion to find out!

Register now
Register now
No items found.
Lepaya Image

About Lepaya

Lepaya is a provider of Power Skills training that combines online and offline learning. Founded by René Janssen and Peter Kuperus in 2018 with the perspective that the right training, at the right time, focused on the right skill, makes organizations more productive. Lepaya has trained thousands of employees.

Read more

Related articles

View all posts
No items found.
No items found.