Learning and Development Professional: The key trends challenging L&D professionals in 2017

With the proliferation of technology driving personalised, collaborative, social learning, eLearning, organisations are working out ways to adapt to dramatic shifts in learners’ lifestyles, expectations, and learning environments.

However, while organisations focus on key areas such as upskilling and employee retention, there are several L&D trends that have the potential to impact significantly on both of these areas, and more.

Karen Evans, Managing Director, Asia-Pacific of Acendre – a talent management solutions company – told L&D Professional that there are two key, effective training trends taking shape across organisations.

“The first involves measurement, and the second is around clarity of communication to encourage a listening culture,” Evans explained.

“Measuring the impact of training courses is crucial. Businesses must look towards holistic training programs for larger groups of underperforming employees, rather than providing one-off individual training.”

Evans said this is because often, many disparate training programs are rolled out at a large cost to the business without understanding what the holistic needs of the business are.

“This often happens without organisations evaluating the positive impact that particular training has had on the organisation, including assessing improved performance at an individual and group level,” she explained.

“HR departments must work with senior management to clearly communicate mission statements throughout the organisation, starting as early as the initial stages of recruitment.”

From there, Evans said it is the job of the manager to play one of the most vital roles in the organisation – to work with employees and listen to them.

“If an employee doesn’t feel their manager is listening to them, this will have a huge impact on employee engagement,” she said.

In the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report, 85% of surveyed executives ranked engagement with employees as a top priority. Evans says it is managers themselves who can have the most direct impact on employee engagement.

“This inclusivity will encourage employees to believe they have much to gain, both in improving personal satisfaction and on a professional development level. They will feel empowered, motivated, and will serve as top contributors,” she said.

Anthony Mitchell, co-founder and Chief Potential Officer of Bendelta, a business management consultancy, told L&D Professional that that research conducted by his company has revealed some surprising trends about investment in L&D.

“Through our research, we found that companies are spending significant time and money on interventions that have almost no substantive evidence of value, which is simply not acceptable anymore,” he said.

Mitchell said this is not necessarily the fault of L&D departments, but in most organisations, the approach to developing leaders is one of the least robust, least scientific activities in the company.

“That’s shocking when you consider it’s one of the most valuable and important activities a company can conduct,” he said.

As such, he says the time for L&D to evolve to a new level of science and sophistication is now.
“The success of a program can no longer receive what is typically the most cursory evaluation,” he said.

“Organisations must set up an evaluation approach based on outcomes, and must be prepared to evaluate the program against those outcomes dispassionately and with a genuine commitment to using the findings to improve the program.”

The flipside, says Mitchell, is that the opportunities are immense.

“With more scientific design and delivery methods [of the kind frequently found in elite fields outside commerce], L&D can deliver strong ROI and hold a rightful place as one of the best proven contributors to improved business performance,” he said.

About the Author:

Anthony Mitchell is the co-founder and Chief Potential Officer of Bendelta. He is an internationally recognised thought leader in strategic leadership. He has been advising companies internationally for the last 25 years, working across more than 30 countries on five continents advising clients ranging from leading multi-nationals and listed companies to major government agencies and not-for-profits.

This article was originally published in Learning and Development Professional. To view the full article click here

2017-08-21T15:44:53+00:00 June 17th, 2017|