By | Abhijit Bhaduri | Founder, Abhijit Bhaduri & Associate
Workplace Learning is becoming critical. There was a recent roundtable of CHROs and Talent Development professionals across the industry. The gathering debated whether the Talent Development function needs to report directly to the CEO given the strategic importance of the function. The CHROs were quite livid at the idea. The L&D professionals all agreed that the function would get more mindshare if it reported to the CEOs office.
I don’t believe that changing the reporting relationship to the CEO will improve talent development.
The biggest challenge of organizations will be that they will need to continuously re-skill themselves. The shelf life of a skill is less than three years. So businesses have to invest far more aggressively in workplace learning than they ever have. The erstwhile training function has morphed into the Learning & Development function. But organizations measure learning just as they measured training. They are two different animals.
Build Soft Skills
Robots can do many things better. But they lack soft skills. Leadership skills, communication, collaboration and skills that are role specific are the most important ones to develop among the employees. That has to be where talent development professionals and people managers wish to focus. Leaders must make sure that they invest in strengthening the leadership development function in the organization. Their future competitiveness depends on how current and skilled this team is.
In my experience as a consultant, I have often found the L&D teams missing on the skills that would make them relevant. Most L&D teams still ask the business to choose which training program they wish to attend. That model of customer orientation may work in a restaurant, but not for skill building. Building the relevant skills can move the L&D teams from being transactional to being strategic. The leaders must invest in making the L&D world class.
Engagement and retention of talent
The 2018 Workplace Learning & Development Report by LinkedIn also shows that 94% of the employees say that they will stay longer with an employer if the organization invests in their career. So the next time the HR team draws up plans of improving employee engagement, tell them to help improve the skills of the employees. That will also make the top talent stay.
Managers who make time for their employee to learn new skills have a tremendous impact on the teams. When a manager suggests a course that their team members should take, that tells the employee that they care. Getting the managers involved is a powerful way to build the learning experience. The report says, “Managers are an essential part of the employee experience. Getting managers to support employee learning is not the only way to see increased learner engagement, but our data shows it will likely make an impact.”
68% employees want to learn at the workplace. They can learn at their own pace and they also want to learn what they can put to use in solving a workplace problem.
In a world where skills take time to learn and yet keep becoming obsolete, the talent developers have to balance the needs for today and future. The organizations survival depends on that.