It’s a good time to be in the Learning and Development space. There is a lot of innovations that are possible with the integration of emerging technologies with traditional L&D tools.
Though there certainly is a lot of pressure on L&D leaders to keep up with the pace of business in this increasingly digital world, the time has never been riper for L&D leaders to be creative, adopt new approaches, and demonstrate the ROI of learning.
Why Is a Change Needed in Organizational Learning
The CHRO’s & CEOS often complain that their employees are not developing skills fast enough. They accept that today there is a need for constant learning to attract and retain talent, engage the existing employees, and develop long- term leaders for the company.
The workforce today is increasingly connected. Mobile devices make it possible for learners to access learning from anywhere and anytime.
Learning can happen through various means such as video, podcasts, online courses, and the like. This new world is increasingly becoming customer-centric where employees are taking the charge as opposed to learning departments.
The learning curve is the new earning curve. Nowadays, the employees are asking for dynamic learning opportunities that can satisfy both their individual needs as well as fit into their self-made learning schedule.
When an employer is unable to provide this, an employee will most probably jump ship. As per the latest report by Deloitte, almost 70% of employees surveyed reported that learning is the primary driver of their engagement with the organization.
What L&D Leaders Need to Know Today
Businesses need to move faster than ever before if they want to succeed today. In this digital world which is increasingly being shaped by VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity), organizations need to adapt well at a rapid pace and stay ahead.
The Learning and Development team in an organization must be the driving force behind this. They should go beyond what is often perceived as an ‘order-taking role.
The primary responsibility of an L&D professional is to equip their workforce and themselves with the new skill set that is required for thriving in this new dynamic.
As you know today the standard 9- 5 shift is becoming increasingly less common with the emergence of flexible hours, freelancing, remote working, and the gig economy, which allows employees to work wherever they are. In this scenario, L&D leaders need to ensure that learning opportunities can be accessed from wherever and whenever the employees are working.
Key considerations here include ensuring that learning can be accessed, tracked outside the company network, ensuring that learning is mobile friendly and can be consumed both online and offline.
An L&D leader should learn how to make learning more impactful and relevant for the learner and business. The need of the hour is personalized experiences based on the data about the respective learners and supported by the right technology. This can increase employee engagement and retention.
An L&D leader should always keep in mind that the success of any business is determined by employees who are effective and engaged and who can do their job well as well as support others in theirs. Enabling employees to reach that level is worth the time and investment!
The points mentioned above are some of the common things that every L&D leader should be aware of. Now, I will discuss how the role of an L&D will broaden in the future.
New-world L&D Roles
The present times demand a broad range of skills in an L&D professionals. Here Below are some roles that L&D leaders might need to assume in the future to create an effective learning space in their respective organization:
L&D Leader as a Market Researcher
An L&D leader needs to find out what their customers want. They need to identify what will make a difference for their learners. They can do this by asking their learners directly and also by checking out what L&D functions at other organizations are doing.
L&D Leaders as a Business Consultant
An L&D Leader should be able to gain an understanding of the business challenges and get a wider context for learning and development. They should be able to add value by asking the appropriate questions and provide the right solutions for their internal clients.
L&D Leader as a Translator
An L&D leader should ensure that the learning content is suitable for all employees in the organization. If there is a need, they should take the help of local colleagues to contextualize and translate the training content.
L&D Leader as a Curator
An L&D leader should be able to source the best content, whether from inside or outside the organization. They should ensure that the learning content is easy for the learner to consume.
L&D Leader as a Digital Producer
An L&D leader should be able to create PDF, illustrations, or in- house videos. This is because having these skills would enable them to respond quickly to smaller learning and development requirements.
Key Practices That L&D Needs to Adopt
There is a need for organizations to adapt their learning strategies to meet the demands of their employees. Traditional models are no longer effective in boosting employee performance and engagement.
Here below some of the best practices that L&D’s should know:
Working Closely with Business
Learning and Development leaders should collaborate with business leaders for designing the learning program and also to get inputs on selecting the right technology providers. With support from executives, organizational learning can undergo a shift in the approach used and develop new ways to enable the learner
Prioritize the Learner
Organizations must change the way they see their employees and should focus on the individual and their unique learning requirements.
Incorporate Social Tools
Today, organizations across the globe have taken to social media and social collaboration tools to boost their engagement with their employees and also to promote a learning culture. However, companies remain limited in their understanding of how to use these tools more effectively for learning and development.
One reason behind this is because companies are limited in the type of social tools they are using. They are using discussion form, blogs, document sharing, but they are not using more effective tools such as micro or video blogs to enhance their learning functions. Thus, there is a need for organizations to educate themselves on the value of social learning.
Learning and Development leaders should be able to determine if the learning strategy they have adopted is effectively driving business outcomes. They should identify both the learning and business metrics in advance.
Today, most organizations consider factors such as employee engagement, employee satisfaction, and team engagement over more concrete business metrics such as revenue per employee, retention, and turnover.
Consider Adaptive Learning
In this approach to learning, employees are left to learn at their pace. They should be monitored in real-time and individually to identify the learning approach that will be suitable for them. This approach is ideal for the new generation employees who prize interaction and flexibility.