The importance of learning and development is being felt by organizations today more than ever. The learning and development approaches are going through radical changes. The L&D vertical and its participants are waking up to the challenges of virtual office places, shorter attention span than ever before and business’ question on making the gains ‘visible’ in effect if not in numbers.
In this world where technology is changing at a rate faster than ever and people skills are becoming key to managing people’s aspirations L&D is under the scanner and needs to deliver to come out as a hero.
What Today’s L&D needs to do
Whether technical or behavioral skills, interventions need to be designed in a manner that it speaks the same language as the business. If a business is going through a lean phase and you have time management program scheduled then it sends mixed signals to employees. Similarly we see often that supervisory skills are being confused as leadership skills. A leadership program successfully delivered will have people asking questions and questioning some of the organization’s approach. If the organization is not ready to appreciate the same then the program design needs to be suitably adapted.
Base it on Concepts and not just ‘gut’
We see a lot of programs being designed because ‘business’ asks for it. When was the last one could walk up to the Finance department and say let’s give everyone additional X% hike because ‘business’ needs it. It is unlikely that you would have got it. The Finance department will ask one to justify the ask and check organization’s financial health as well as market trends. Shouldn’t the L&D profession be also seen with similar seriousness? If business asks for a program on ‘ownership’ shouldn’t business be able to show the evidence of lack of ownership and make a case of how a program can address the gap?
Using various techniques of Qualitative Research and Quantitative methods HR & L&D can design programs which are much closer to the actual need.
Engagement Vs Learning
This applies more to the behavioral side of the training. Structurally it appears that the entire onus of learning is on the Facilitator/Trainer/Teacher. Shouldn’t learning be the primary responsibility of the ‘learner’. Most organizations still follow the concept where the feedback is only from the participant. When that happens, its creates huge conflict of interests. The facilitator is then left to choose between being popular and being effective (not necessarily they are always mutually exclusive). If the facilitator questions some of the fundamental beliefs of the participants and questions their effectiveness, it is bound to cause a certain degree of discomfort, which may flow into the feedback. Mind you this is the same feedback that has a significant say in whether the facilitator will be brought back or not.
As is evident, there is a lot that today’s Learning and Development organizations need to do to continue meeting organization goals.