Article (May-2021)


L&D needs to be positioned on integrated methodologies as talent solution provider

Dr. Prashant Rao

Designation : -   Vice President & Head - Corporate HR

Organization : -  Deepak Group Co., Vadodara (Gujarat)


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Do you see L&D changing more broadly after pandemic crisis and why does it need a revamp for the new workplace?

PR The change in approach of L&D is on account of virtualisation, technological collaborations, emergence of resilience, agility, lean entrepreneurship, social learning redefining relevance, focus on multi skilling and need for knowledge repositories.

Virtualisation : The virtualisation of the workplace has been one of the most distinct changes which have led to revisit, the focus has been on the remote work and remote learning. There has been an enhanced usage of digital learning platforms and over the last once year since the pandemic the transition from classroom lead learning to online courses and webinars has been seamless.

Technological Collaborations : The required social distance because of the pandemic has been addressed through the technological collaborations and people have seen this as a big transformation to learn and deploy learning through usage of technology. Online learning has become a new norm and there has been an intrinsic self-desire for people to choose the right contents and platforms for the required learning inputs.

Resilience & Agility : The Pandemic has brought lot of focus on being resilient and agile as the pandemic has challenged people on all the fronts of social, psychological, technological, and economic fronts. This has led people to be more diverse and inclusive in terms of new leanings and exploring the new developmental opportunities.

Redefining Relevance : The pandemic has redefined the relevance, what was relevant for yesterday has become irrelevant today, what is relevant for today might become irrelevant for tomorrow, this has led the L&D fraternity to choose the best of the learning opportunities for the workforces.

Focus on Multi-skilling : The initial barriers of people to opt cross functional learning have gone away, people are now ready to acquire cross functional new skills as they see moving forward multi skilled shall enhance the opportunities as well as sustain the employment. This has led to the massive participation of employees in skill building initiatives. In manufacturing there has been a lot of focus on building multi skilling models.

Know- How Repositories : This pandemic has also called for the organisations to focus on the critical knowledge repositories for the organisation. Organisations have been pursuing structured systems and processes to ensure that the critical know how is captured and use for sustenance of the business objectives.

Lean Entrepreneurship : In view of the right sizing, and endeavour of many organisations to be lean on employee numbers and costs, the new learning opportunities have enabled lot of employees to become entrepreneurs through learning new skills, acquiring new know how thus facilitating them to acquire the sustainable livelihoods. The pandemic has brought in what is it that needs to be learn, unlearn, relearn and the skills which needs to be acquired, re-skilled, and add on skills to contemporary remain viable and be as right value propositions for the organisation.

Social learning : On the cultural aspects one of the biggest challenges which L&D shall have is how to promote and upscale the collaborations while being far off and virtual, to evolve and practice social learning being virtual, on new behaviours adopting social learning methods monitoring their effectiveness and progress and adjusting their approach to L&D.

How should learning and development be re-positioned or redesigned more strongly with a new road map?

PR I feel the future road map for L&D needs to be positioned on integrated methodologies as talent solution provider while being aligned with the business and strive towards enhancing employee experiences for impactful organisational outcomes.

Align with business : The L&D function has to undergo a transformation and there is a need to have a new road map considering what is really required in the present contextual framework. The big indicators to reposition L&D has to be determined from content, context with focus on purpose, outcomes, and agility in execution with deep insightful intricacies of being aligned with business processes and outcomes.

Integrated methodologies : The know How and skills acquisition shall continue to have its relevance and the same shall have to be effectively integrated with the right methodologies which shall be a big challenge in view of the emerging challenges of the change management.

Repositioning L&D as talent solution provider : The Challenge for L&D is to facilitate the organisations through unique and distinct solutions for make the unexplored possible, realise the unexplored potential into impactful sustainable as well as growth performance, disseminate knowledge with customization and help the organisation to be futuristic learning organisations. The organisations which do not commit to the DNA of learning in their ecosystem learn shall extinct.

L&D for Impactful outcomes : The new road map for Learning and development shall have to drive the Learning transformation which builds effective eco systems for assimilations of the new learning and catalyses and enables opportunities in the organisation for translation into meaningful, purposeful, and impactful outcomes. This road map shall help to enhance organisational capabilities for the unique and differentiated value propositions.

Enhance employee experiences for organisational outcomes : The repositioning of L&D has to focus on strengthening future learning leveraging fully from technology to make the learning experiences as enabled, empowered, engaged, enriched and effective.

My visualisation on L&D for the future is demonstration of enhanced employee experiences, the power of passion with purpose and the speed to make people learn, unlearn, and relearn, build engaged, and enriched ecosystems of powerful collaborations to partner in achieving the overall organisational objectives.

What are the key lessons on learning that organisations should keep in mind in, while redesigning the initiatives?

PR I see the four major lessons for futuristic L&D initiatives where the organisations shall have to leverage technology while being process and outcome focus taking into consideration the integrated experiences beyond development while enhancing the overall framework and landscape of L&D.

Enhancing the landscape for L&D : The canvas of L&D shall have to exponentially increase. The L&D function should move from Learning & Development to talent solutions with an objective of fulfilling the talent requirements for the future organisations. The organisation shall have to deploy a strategy which enables this outcome and shall mandate equipping and skilling the front-line managers to deploy the L&D agenda.

Process and Outcome focus : The focus of future L&D is to sustain the process centric approach while being more focussed on the outcomes and for cadre building, talent management, performance management and knowledge management.

Integrated experience beyond development : The futuristic initiatives shall see an innovative paradigm shift to see learning as an integrated experience for enriched engagements with the organisation, moving beyond the wishful developmental agenda to much more the measurable outcomes of the developmental experiences and exposures for the organisational growth.

Leveraging technology : Technology shall continue to drive as a big game changer for the methods and we will have to leverage on the innovative tools of virtual reality, simulation for experiential learning.

What should people be learning right now, and how can L&D deliver it under the changed work environment?

PR I feel one of the biggest indicators of all the Learning Organisation is the culture of the organisation which not only promotes the learning but also builds an ecosystem which aspires, inspires people to continually learn and a culture which propels the unconditional passion to learn.

There are three most important aspects for any employee in the organisation to keep focus on learning. The first is the functional aspect wherein we need to explore opportunities of being the subject matter experts, secondly exploring opportunities of cross functional learning which shall help us to create value propositions for broadening the horizons in the organisations for future sustenance and last but not the least how do we develop the attitude of continually being the right cultural integrated to the organisation in terms of learning and demonstrating the required behaviours which reflect the DNA of the organisation.

All L&D professionals need to demonstrate tenacity in actions and behaviours being self-motivated, taking initiatives on own with focus on achieving results, demonstrating ability to aspire and inspire team while building a team of learning champions through continuously sharpening the functional aspects as a subject matter expert with robust processes and outcomes.

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