Training For The Future

Jul 29, 2020

Training For The Future

With the recent pandemic taking the world by storm we must ask ourselves what is Learning and Development going to look like in the future? 

We have discovered many things about working practices and the people we employ during this challenging time. Our ability to adapt remain resilience has never been more important. All of these changes are refocusing us on how, when and where people will learn and develop going forward.

As professional providers of learning and development, we must take the opportunity to push forward and engage both our management teams and staff to develop our learning culture. We must ensure that we have business-aligned learning that clearly highlights what is needed not only now but also for the future. For too long we have been disengaged or slow to respond to the strategic learning and development demands and changing landscape of our organisations.

A recent study showed that only 49% of L&D departments are aligned with the strategic goals of their organisations. Furthermore, only 47% allocated adequate and appropriate learning resources to tackle critical business priorities. Finally, only 41% managed to deliver the learning needed in time to meet their organisational needs. These studies highlight three fundamental flaws when organisations come to implement L&D practices. They do not involve L&D strategies with the overarching strategic objectives of their organisation, nor do they allocate enough resources to achieving these priorities and finally the planning process needs to be reorganised to allow enough time to realistically achieve these objectives.

So what do we do? Well firstly, we must take advantage of technological developments to enhance our understanding of the business we are in. We must look to embrace change management and organisational development seeing it as a need to have not a nice to have. Too often, we are reactive and not proactive when it comes to developing our personnel and designing or L&D plans. Whilst no-one could have predicted the current global pandemic status if we were proactive in our training of staff and placed emphasis on always updating our processes to utilize the latest technology to improve our capabilities we would be better equipped to prepare for the unforeseeable. Many of us have now been forced to incorporate different technology that has enhanced working away from our usual places of work.

So what about line managers? Well I believe that the role of the line manager has shifted to more of a pastoral role. The new manager has to be able to help and support employees through empathy, caring and emotional understanding when leading them through pressure and change at work. That does not mean being less focused on their operational duties - rather that they will develop and use these new social skills to get results and create the right conditions for the future workforce; it does not represent an eradication of their operational duties but more a shift in priority towards their leadership duties. Line managers are the crucial link to ensuring the people in our organisations take more responsibility for their own learning and development. All organisations have realized the importance of having a workforce that practices self-actualization and that can be described as self-starters. However to do this now requires line managers to up their emotional intelligence and become the ‘pastoral figure’ aforementioned.

Here are 6 key areas for focus going forward:

1. Speed - we need to be agile and keep up with (or even ahead of) the ever increasing pace of change within our businesses

2. Adaptability - flexibility to appropriately adapt to future trends and needs; different approaches and alternative solutions to the challenges and problems we face

3 .Personalisation – Learning need to suits the learner to enable them to develop at their own pace but in line with the business, there is no ‘one size fits all’.

4. Continuous - learning is not something just separate from the job and this needs to be understood and actioned. It should be more integrated and relevant so that the learner is continuously motivating themselves and delivering the results they need for the organisation once a specific training session has finished

5. Recognition - accreditation for informal training has to be developed. Individuals need to be able to demonstrate their value and this cannot continue to be just from formal accreditation and exams.

6. Correct Conditions - the most powerful driver and motivator for anyone is the will and desire to learn. Creating the environment and culture that encourages this has to be a crucial focus for the L&D of the future.


Emerald Works ‘Back to the future - why tomorrow’s workforce needs a learning culture’

Author: Nicola Wise


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