Article (November-2019)


The New-age L&D : Where the world is headed?

LS Murthy

Designation : -   COO

Organization : -  Radiant


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There has been a paradigm shift in learning and development in past few years due to technology intervention. What is your take on L&D of the future?

LS I think the fundamental change in thought process is not just how technology interventions are influencing, Learning & Development, but the more fundamental thinking should focus on what kind of problems are we trying to solve and how best can technology and tools support that scenario and how will experts excel in imparting knowledge and skills. Technology is just one driving factor that's transforming L&D and its global connect now, as we have a much more mobile workforce and virtual teams spanning different time zones, cultures, perspectives and advance technology environment.

As it often happens when a new technology comes about, the paradigm shift is firstly the excitement, curiosity, buzz and a little over-excitement, thinking it is the massive game-changer, assuming its long awaited technique that will completely transform learning and development forever, bringing with it all the solutions to all the problems and challenges we face, seldom it lasts long, once the practical execution challenges surfaces, as one model doesn't suit all requirements. Flexible adoption is the key. There are many innovative technological solutions emerging that may influence learning and development offering limitless opportunity and reach.

Creativity, socio-emotional intelligence and complex analytical reasoning are the skills that are rising in importance across every role. These skills are not taught in today's learning systems. They are acquired through practice, experience and often over long-time periods. The blend of skills required by each employee is becoming more complex, thus there needs to be a greater emphasis on broadening the variety of skill enhancement within each function requiring innovative L & D initiatives for the future.

Paradigm shift in strategy reflects in L&D, owing to the Industry 4.0 revolution, beyond the VUCA times situation, which has both expanded the possibilities of digital transformation and increased its importance to the organization. L&D has huge opportunity and responsibility to proactively imagine newer requirements arising for the stated reasons. We need to speed up Experiential Learning initiatives.

Managers/Leaders should garner top management's commitment for adequate budget allocations convincing with purposeful business cases and driving the need for investing on future business strategy to gain competitive edge assuring specific objectives fulfilment. Align L&D closely with the core business and broaden the HR function. L&D is as integral to business operations as any other department. Organizations have shifted its orientation so it can better prepare tomorrow's leaders with the skills of the future and businesses need to be equal stakeholders in the process. Certainly, L&D focusing across all functions and all levels will be envisioned as key component of this transformation for future readiness.

What are some current trends that you are optimistic about in the L&D function?

LS Demand for technological, social, emotional, and higher cognitive skills will rise by 2030, quotes a report by Mckinsey (May 2018). The skills necessary for a successful career are shifting, and organizations focusing on creating leaders with the competencies, sense of urgency, and awareness necessary to navigate a changing economy and solve increasingly complex problems. New approaches to learning are needed if businesses are to achieve the growth promised by intelligent technologies.

Companies are largely still finding a path that balances improving current operations with the opportunities afforded by Industry 4.0 technologies for innovation and business model transformation. L&D has paramount importance now than ever in every field to help speed up fast track experiential learning techniques, broaden individuals' blend of skills and ensure inclusive access to tomorrow's skilling solutions easily accessible at convenience of choice.

I am inspired and highly optimistic about the future of corporate L&D as one filled with the right balance of people and technology. That means we'll continue to have more software tools that help us become better in our jobs. These tools can help us make more targeted connections with the people at our workplace and can help drive toward professional goals, which in turn leads to deep personal satisfaction. When the employee experience is tantamount at an organization, everything else follows - from innovation to meaningful customer experiences and quality products & services ensuring customer delight, both external & internal.

Training industry now have to look for customer experience as well for ideas as to how we create a satisfying and effective learning experience and ensure teams enjoy this besides creating awareness of the critical business purpose. Corporate L&D programs are undergoing a transformation to meet the growing end-user demand for more engaging professional development experiences and the future of L&D programs will have to strike the right balance of people, process and technology. The need for trained talent with technological as well as social and emotional skills, will rise fast.

The need for finely tuned social and emotional skills will rapidly grow. Accompanying the adoption of advanced technologies into the workplace will be an increase in the need for employees with finely tuned social and emotional skills - skills that machines are a long way from mastering and would not replace human interface. While some of these skills, such as empathy, are innate, others, such as advanced communication, can be honed and taught. The need for strong agile leadership and managing others effectively will also grow strongly. The most successful people who adapt to changes in corporate training and talent development are the ones who stay nimble and are open into evolving training and people development needs. Ultimately, it's all about people & technology influencing progress in L&D.

Do you consider L&D as one the key challenges for talent management leaders in fast changing skills scenario, if so, how it should be addressed?

LS A huge challenge for talent management leaders currently in ensuring employees are engaged in their work, and that they are growing and developing in their careers. This goes beyond hitting goals to really seeing what's affecting employee engagement and creating more positive learning and developing experiences and enhancing their capabilities, competencies and well trained for newer roles and responsibilities in fast changing competitive business environment and those companies with intelligent investments for future are emerging victorious and others caught under-prepared and lost out in technological transformation, we are aware of many going bankrupt or shutdown.

It's essentially symbolic to Learning opportunities and Development culture of the organization's commitment towards up-skilling and cross skilling associates. Customers across globe are looking at a single point of contact for multiple projects, products or service offerings related quarry be it technological complex application management problems or quality issues, expecting to understand, appreciate and resolve faster, therefore companies are tasked to enhance current skill set of the individual to multitasking capabilities and equip teams with additional knowledge and newer skills both specialized technical and customer facing soft skills to cope with the changing demands bring in effective client-engagement for business success.

Advance resource planning and agile L&D interventions helps companies to hire and retain right skill sets in demand for the current and future business needs deriving from organization's vision and strategy of growth plans and market conditions. To harness the new technologies to the full effect, companies will need to retool their corporate structures and their approaches to managing Talent. That change will require redesigned business processes and a new focus on the talent they have, and the talent they need for future.

Over the next decade, the adoption of automation and AI technologies will transform the workplace as people increasingly interact with ever-smarter machines. These technologies, and that human-machine interaction, will bring numerous benefits in the form of higher productivity, growth, improved corporate performance, and new prosperity, but they will also change the skills required of human resources which now management philosophers and practitioners are terming as Human potential and possibilities.

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