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/Stephanie Morgan How to buck the trend and excel in L&D

Never has there been a bigger challenge in L&D than practitioners being able to practise what they preach and keep their skill set up to date and relevant. As Towards Maturity’s research shows, L&D know what skills they need to ensure the success of their modern learning strategies, but they are struggling to acquire those skills.

In fact, if you read Towards Maturity’s research on Unlocking Potential in L&D, you might be forgiven for thinking that L&D are the biggest hypocrites in the corporate world. To be fair it is not easy, but the statistics make stark reading. Not only have over 60% of L&D Leaders in the study never even done an audit of the skills they actually have in their L&D team against what is required, a further 31% don’t know how their L&D professionals develop their own skills. They either expect them to keep up to date themselves or completely leave it up to them to do as they wish. And it is getting worse, this figure has increased since 2015 by 20%. This is a trend that we need to stop in its tracks.

CIPD states that:

“L&D stands for learning and development and is specifically focused on helping people learn new skills so they’re motivated and productive at work. L&D professionals are concerned with getting the best out of their workforce and developing their skills and capabilities to drive business performance.”

For me, three key areas stand out in the report:

Performance Consulting

Performance Consulting

Underpinning the CIPD definition of L&D is the ability to understand the business and the learners needs so that you can address them effectively. Performance Consulting is one of the major areas for development with less than 40% claiming skills in this area. This is partly because it is not as straight forward as it once was to understand the need and the new drive to get closer to the business. Charles Jennings has talked about the key attributes that are now required and has even coined a new role “Performance Detective”. When you drill down into the requirements of a Performance Detective you can start to see the size of the challenge.

Marketing and Communications

Marketing and Communication
We have been talking for some time about the need to engage learners, and how it is not enough to just have fantastic solutions. Whilst all Towards Maturity respondents agree this is a key area, it is an area where the Top Deck also lag behind. This might indicate that you can afford to overlook marketing and communication if have most of the other skills, but it is also a key area where you can leverage your current skill set to the best effect.  

Facilitating Social or Collaborative Learning

Facilitating Social/Collaborative Learning
This is an area where there is huge potential for growth, and by actually carrying out some self-directed learning, is the area that you can improve all of the other skills and at the same time improve your understanding and skill in the area itself. In fact, to a degree this is already happening in L&D, with 74% of the top deck respondents joining internal groups to learn from each other and 89% taking advantage of external networks and professional bodies. By taking this a step further into social learning and by collaborating virtually you will also be honing those very skills that need the most development - a win-win.

Whilst these are three key areas, your priority might be different. I have listed the priority areas from the report below, all you need to do now is identify and develop the one or two key skills that would help you in your role and you will be bucking the trend in no time at all.

L&D Skills

Not sure where to start? Get in touch and we can arrange a free exploratory conversation to help get on the right track. 

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Stephanie Morgan

Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning

Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.

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