Performance Topics for 2024

2nd January, 2024 8 min read

When your people make choices about what they want to improve, you get important insights into how to engage them in learning. The following ten popular topics illuminate learning needs for 2024.

Performance Topics for 2024

The choices people make when they are exploring learning resources are informative. They give us clues about their needs and interests and shed light on their desire to improve their performance at work. Tapping into that desire makes engagement in learning a whole lot easier. Here we explore ten highly popular topics and what this tells us about our people’s learning needs for 2024.

When I review the ‘most clicked’, the most viewed, the most listened to and the most ‘completed’ resources in the Scott Bradbury WATCH & GO® library what strikes me most is the emphasis on what I would call ‘self-help’ and ‘personal need’ type topics. Encouragingly, also high on the ‘desire to learn’ agenda is how to help others - caring about colleagues’ health and wellbeing and seeking to be inclusive and supportive.

Conversely, and always to my amusement, whenever I show people our range of digital resources, the topics that people invariably want to explore are ‘people problem’ titles such as ‘What to say when you have a personality clash’ and ‘What to say when a colleague is negative’. It seems everyone knows someone at work who tests their patience!

And then there’s always the difference between what Learning Professionals request versus what learners themselves are voting for with their mouse clicks. There is a difference. I’m also conscious that another factor to consider is the universe of titles from which to choose. People can only pick from what’s available. We publish new titles based on demand from our clients, who in turn are basing requests on internal employee surveys and ideally (sadly not always!) organisational strategy.

So here, in no particular order, are the ten most popular WATCH & GO® resources topic areas from 2023 along with my thoughts on what they mean for learning and performance in 2024:

    1. State of Mind and Mental Health

You can’t perform well unless you are thinking calmly and clearly. I’m reminded of the airline safety message to ‘fit your own mask before helping others’. That applies to your own mental health too. Our state of mind impacts our thoughts, which in turn shape our feelings and actions – in other words, our performance.

For 2024: Provide practical tools for mental health and fitness to avoid burnout

    2. Physical wellbeing

Alongside mental health comes physical wellbeing, particularly after the difficult years of the pandemic, cost of living crisis and long winter months. We’ve seen interest in our resources on how to sleep better, manage anxiety and build resilience. Building breathing exercises into everyday activities pays big dividends. It’s simple and costs nothing.

For 2024: Encourage regular, short (outdoor) breaks to improve concentration and physical wellbeing

    3. Confidence and happiness

Feeling happy and believing in yourself have obvious links to items one and two above but our ‘Revealing the Confident You’ podcast was our second most popular audio resource in the whole of 2023, so this topic deserves its own place in this list. What are people telling us if they need help with their level of confidence? ‘Imposter syndrome’ is a topic I’ve seen written about a lot in 2023. And being happy at work is vital to performance. Ever seen a high-performing person who was miserable at work?

For 2024: Ensure people receive timely, relevant praise whenever appropriate and consider programmes to bolster self-belief

    4. Curiosity and Courage

One way of building self-belief is to enable people to push their boundaries and work a little beyond their comfort zone to achieve success in new areas. Asking effective questions lies at the heart of all learning and ‘Being Curious’ is a top ten podcast, which poses the question I’d like everyone to ask themselves every day: What great question did you ask today?

For 2024: What can you do to encourage people to ask great questions at work?

    5. Kindness and Empathy

Looking out for ways to meet the needs of others, and being able to put yourself in your colleagues’ shoes are key caring themes which permeate people’s learning choices. Often people want to help but aren’t quite sure how, so providing practical real-life ways of showing you care makes a big difference. As well as ‘Kindness at Work’, which was our third most popular podcast in 2023, videos like ‘Supporting a Bereaved Colleague’ and audio resources such as ‘When a Colleague has Cancer’ provide valuable phrases to use when it can be difficult to know what to say.

For 2024: A caring culture tends to be a high-performing one. What can you do to promote this?

    6. Coaching

This is a topic that never goes away and always scores highly, because it’s incorporated into so many in-house programmes but also because it can be difficult to know how to coach when you’re a manager under pressure. Helping someone to think through a task or problem for themselves, and not telling them your own ideas, takes skill and practice. Knowing when to coach and when to instruct isn’t obvious to many managers either. There is a sustained high ‘hit rate’ for our videos, podcasts and activities on the topic of coaching.

For 2024: Do your managers believe in the benefits of coaching – to themselves, as well as others?

    7. Credibility and Integrity

We know that many people cite their manager as the reason for wanting to leave their job. A manager who shows integrity and establishes credibility with their people not only improves retention but also has a higher performing team. The importance of trust in teams and the need for honest conversations combined with a motivational work environment are themes that have emerged as strong trends in 2023.

For 2024: Honesty, integrity and trust are imperative for strong performance in 2024

    8. Emotional Intelligence

A phrase made famous by Daniel Goleman back in the 1990s, ‘Emotional Intelligence’ is making a comeback due to its relevance to modern-day collaboration and networking, and the impact EI has on our work relationships and performance. Our podcast ‘Improving Working Relationships’ took the top spot in 2023, underlining how learners are searching for support with building rapport and understanding how their words and actions impact others.

For 2024: Effective collaboration - vital in modern workplaces - relies on these key interpersonal skills

    9. Communication Skills

Another perennial topic. It’s good to see learners recognise the need to improve their listening skills and get better at giving and receiving feedback. We communicate every day and therefore can take this skill for granted but wise people know we can always do it better! And clear, unambiguous communication is essential for properly functioning teams.

For 2024: Consider updating your communication skills programmes. Don’t do what you always do!

    10. Inclusion

Our ‘Inclusion’ resources continue to be strong performers this year. Appreciating the benefits of all our cultural and physical differences as well as our neurodiversity, enables a rich and cohesive sense of belonging. Inclusion is a way of being - not a training programme - and everything we do at work needs to embrace inclusion. Look out for our new ‘Inclusion Moments’ in 2024 to integrate into everyday working life.

For 2024: What are you doing to embed inclusion and a sense of belonging into everything at work?

In conclusion

Apart from Coaching and Communication Skills, and the re-emergence of Emotional Intelligence, the topics topping our charts in 2023 never featured in the learning programmes I was working on twenty or thirty years ago. Reflecting changes in modern day Britain, the growth of subjects such as wellbeing, mental health and inclusion dominates the learning and development agenda today.

The need for those personal effectiveness and self-help type topics is clear. And I am particularly pleased to see the strong emphasis on improving working relationships and building trust within teams. The value of reaching out beyond your immediate work colleagues to build new connections and to collaborate inter-team is also very clear.

The one topic I am surprised not to see high on our list is change. We have resources on this vital topic and yet people aren’t clicking on these so often. Maybe this is due to fatigue with the amount of change we’ve all experienced in recent years. Undoubtedly, 2024 will be another year of change, not least because of AI, so we need to revisit ‘change’ with fresh eyes and a new perspective. What do you think?

Alongside the ‘new’ topics, I also see a lot of excellent work being done by learning professionals to create modern management development and leadership programmes which embrace a new take on ‘old’ themes. So we’re seeing the rise of ‘performance conversations’ and ‘growth conversations’ instead of the annual appraisal and ‘reviews’. We’re enabling our managers to support their teams in a way that both cares about their wellbeing whilst also focusing on outcomes.

It is focusing on outcomes which must surely be the key to success in 2024. You won’t achieve goals unless your people are happy and healthy, but wellbeing alone doesn’t meet objectives. Organisations can only retain their people if they are succeeding and performing well economically and if their people are happy at work. We need to do both.

Catherine de Salvo
2 January 2024

You can contact Catherine at or via LinkedIn