Article (May-2021)


Time to rethink and reframe true value of L&D

LS Murthy

Designation : -   Business & Startup Strategic Advisor

Organization : -  Hyderabad


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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?

LS This pandemic is a true accelerator for many L&D inventions and initiatives in the fast-exploding technological advances and digital transformation, nurturing talent has been identified as powerful need for growth.

Globally millions of HR and L&D professionals are now responsible for re-designing the global workforce to cope with the new demands of the fast-changing world. This is the challenge, on which everything depends. For the L&D to evolve and re-position, it's not the location of teams that matters any more, and it's majorly our mindset. Up-skilling, re-skilling and cross skilling has become critical to business to survive, sustain, and succeed to excel.

The marketplace of digital learning tools and providers has stepped up aggressively in a myriad of ways, increased efficiency in virtual learning experiences but the huge factor is adjusting our mindset from the age old face to face class room familiarity to unfamiliar and at times teaching to the screen without the audience visibility, strange but need of the hour and would have to adopt to the overwhelming evolution, to retain the competitive edge, needed to reposition with rigour the L&OD function.

The need for L&D to be on the front lines, finding ways to leverage existing digital learning capabilities in an agile way has never been greater. The crisis pushed L&D to re-think and reframe its true value and relevance to the business and people. Strategy comes from people's minds and not the other way round. Put right people in the right jobs and seek fresh perspectives. New authentic leadership perspectives emerged to drive and manage the digital transformation. Let's not ignore the fact that every individual is unique and have unique learn ability. Commitment from CEOs, CHROs, HR and OD heads equally important and we all must passionately commit to inculcate a learning culture.

A holistic approach to building a comprehensive L&D strategy is required and attention to the critical process flow with greater clarity: the purpose of continuous Learning and Development is to deliver competent and sustainable performance to support the organisation's Purpose, concrete concepts clearly communicated with commitment is the fuel that drives the capability engine positively moving ahead.

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

LS I think L&D will be under greater scrutiny in the months to come because our classroom face to face training will still be unavailable as social distancing is likely to last for some more time. That leaves many L&D teams with only virtual platforms. This should be the start of a new dawn for L&D where we spend more time understanding real problems and innovate solutions. Those who thrive towards performance consulting, data-driven decision-making, and more agile solutions, will prove their worth and are more likely to contribute to what their organisation will be trying to achieve under extremely testing circumstances and enhance training methodologies creatively.

Employees have been empowered by technology and able to access more information and able to make choices about their own needs, interests whereas in the past they were much more dependent on what's being facilitated by organisations or specified L&D institutes.

Develop the L&D strategies to engage with customers and mapping the customer experience and managing critical factors such as to learn what applications of digital tools can do for your business. Learn how to integrate various platforms, cloud software, and with open mindset to develop smart processes and efficient technology for effective cost management, new sources of revenue, and faster business scaling and importantly delivering the top quality, contemporary learning possibilities.

Once L&OD is aligned with the organisational culture of learning, huge returns in engagement, productivity, efficiency, agility, and innovation are attainable if development is efficiently repositioned.

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

LS People development and igniting inspiration to engage and excel in the evolving roles and grooming to embrace change is the key. Few interestingly creative trends emerging from those succeeding in facilitating effective organisational L&D initiatives during lockdown to prioritize, digitize, socialize, and humanize for effective delivery and positive transforming results.

Prioritising is to ensure the attention must be on what is genuinely needed for the organisation to survive and thrive. Digitization is digital transformation with effective digital solutions investments, training, and adoptability. Social connectivity is a key to effective remote relationships are crucial and Health and Happiness is ensured real time with increased communication flow building human connect, trust and learning environment.

Advance L&D for the L&D and making learning so much more relevant is the key. Learning and development helped companies gain and retain top talent and it improved productivity. Facilitate Learning in the flow of work and flow of life as working circumstances are unique and challenging; one size can't fit all. It never worked thus individual focus with agility, empathy, and compassion very important. Adoption of new practices and the shift in leadership commitment, rigor, openness and working practices will create greater empowerment and trust in many organisations. This creates conducive and positive conditions for learning cultures.

Some of the imperatives to comply : 1. Customize teaching methods by leveraging technology and data science, 2. Update the curriculum, content, and make it more skill based, especially around critical digital and life skills, 3. Transfer valuable online learning design and delivery knowledge with effectiveness measures.

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

LS "Knowing is half the battle". Once we understand what kind of L&D works and the importance of it within an organisation, you can start to take even small steps to boost its role in your organisation. Even if you are running a small company, training has its place. Initiate to map out skills gap and think about what companies can do to help your employees get to where they need to be to do their job amazingly joyfully & confidently.

According to the World Economic Forum, in just five years, 35 percent of the skills deemed essential today will change. There's only one way to remain relevant in a post-corona virus reality: commit to a lifetime of learning. See partial lockdown as an opportunity to improve your skills so that you are ready for the post-corona virus job market.
Adoptability and flexibility will need to be embraced in the ever-evolving workplaces and do have the ability to continuously update their skills both technical & smart skills hitherto soft skills.

In the current complex and competitive tight job market, professionals with advanced and expert job skills will still be in demand. There are endless free and open online courses available that will help you improve your skills.

Here are few examples and one may just search for the skills you want to develop on platforms so easily accessible and affordable. Artificial intelligence and machine learning courses, Data Literacy and data science courses, Emotional Intelligence courses, Creativity & Innovation,  Data Literacy, Critical Thinking, Digital And Coding Skills, Authentic & Transformational Leadership, Emotional Intelligence and all the companies are now digitally based in some way, so the opportunities to put digital skills to work are countless.

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