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Rachel Matthews Three modern-day challenges for L&D professionals

There is no question about the changes that L&D has experienced in the past five years, and trends suggest further changes on the horizon. But how can L&D use the skills they have established historically to overcome these challenges and ensure ongoing success of learning?

Changing landscapes in business, new learning preferences and a lack of engagement in learning have transformed the way we look at traditional challenges. The challenges are still present, but we need to find fresh ways of approaching them to achieve the success we are now looking for in L&D.

So, where do you start?

Identifying and Understanding Needs

Identifying and understanding needs

What is the challenge? 

The blink-and-you’ll-miss it pace of business nowadays has introduced as many challenges to our work as it has chances for us to grow. Sometimes it feels like we need to be constantly evolving just to stay in place. And this isn’t just true of L&D professionals, but of our people too.

Why does it matter now?

In the past, all L&D needed to understand about their learners was what they needed to do differently in their roles, and what type of learning they needed to do this. 

We still need to consider these things, but in the much broader context of the business, and what it is trying to achieve. Top-performing L&D professionals—no matter how different their approaches—have one big thing in common: they take the time to analyse and understand the problem before crafting a solution. So analytical and critical skills are an essential part of the L&D toolkit.

How do we achieve this?

A shift in focus might be what’s required. Consider pivoting from: 'What do I need to do?' to 'What is the outcome the business needs to achieve?'. Put your focus on results.

Getting buy-in and engagement

Getting the buy-in and engagement L&D needs

What is the challenge?

The move towards making ‘pull’ learning available means that L&D have been put in the driving seat. Instead of making sure learners attend a course or complete online modules, now we have to create learning that is engaging and accessible enough that it can and will be consumed. It is a much more strategic approach to L&D.

Why does this matter now?

We know that, to be best placed to make the greatest possible impact, we must become integral to the business. A closer union between L&D and the business means we will find it easier to generate buy-in from stakeholders.

Your knowledge of the business’s stakeholders is what gets you into the room and party to the conversations you need to hear for you to anticipate business needs down the line. However, it’s not just stakeholder buy-in and business partnering that enables L&D to do their work—it’s making sure the learners are on board too.

How do we achieve this?

If we can be clear about the benefits and advantages of investing in learning—for the business and for the workforce—we can better sell our strategy and get stakeholders to lend their support and buy-in.

Part of this is being able to clearly articulate the correlation between what you’ve done and the business benefits it will bring.

Adopting a digital mindset

Adopting a digital-first mindset

What is the challenge?

The technology that is available to us and the attitude of learners towards it are evolving at speed. L&D needs to evolve its offering to stay relevant when developing people for the modern technologically-integrated workplace.  However, the challenge isn’t going digital—it’s doing so without alienating any of your learners at the expense of others. It’s about keeping everybody on board and in step with the change.

Why does this matter now?

Donald H Taylor’s 2017 Learning & Development Global Sentiment Survey reflects current trends in training delivery. Failing to take into account the different ways different generations access learning content—thereby potentially ignoring half of your learners—can doom a learning strategy to failure. It’s vital to understand where our learners are before we can take them to where they need to be.

How do we achieve this?

Digital natives now expect digital learning as part of their learning blend. This is the new normal. They are not fazed by the most agile, flexible modes of working - working on the go, using mobile technologies, communicating with remote co-workers via Skype or video conferencing and hosting webinars. To best capture their imagination, consider what they expect out of a digital and mobile user experience and try to incorporate it.

There are many more ways that L&D can develop their key skills to face modern-day challenges and looking to the future is one way to achieve this. You can discover more challenges and the key skills we need to develop to achieve success with our new whitepaper, Overcoming the modern challenges for L&D.

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Rachel Matthews

Rachel Matthews, Strategic Marketing Manager

In my blogs I will look at industry constraints and issues and problems that employees face in their day-to-day work lives.

Follow @RachelBrayLeino


Copyright © 2017 Bray Leino Learning


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