Learning and development (L&D) professionals face unique challenges and exciting opportunities over the next few years as changing market forces, demographic shifts in the workforce, and rapidly evolving technologies combine to assert a new set of demands for developing people.
New technologies and new platforms for delivery of learning will continue to be developed and deployed. The expectations of employees for ongoing professional development and steeper, less rigid career trajectories translates into a demand for more frequent, more challenging, and more immediately applicable training that supports rapidly branching career paths.
The recent report published by Deloitte University, “Global Human Capital Trends 2015,” highlights, among several issues, a pronounced performance gap that separates what executives and organizations need from learning and development organizations, and their readiness to meet those needs. Only a relatively small percentage of L&D organizations are deemed “ready” (by their own executives) to address the business requirements of the next few years. As the report states:
“To start with, senior business leaders increasingly see shortages of skills as a major impediment to executing their business strategies. Only 28 percent of the respondents to this year’s survey believe that they are ‘ready’ or ‘very ready’ in the area of workforce capability. As the economy improves and the market for high-skill talent tightens even further, companies are realizing they cannot simply recruit all the talent they need, but must develop it internally.”
Within this performance gap lies both a challenge to adapt and a great opportunity for L&D professionals to upgrade the contributions they make to solving the business needs of their organization. A hint of what this upgraded contribution might look like is foreshadowed in the report:
“As companies begin the transformation process, chief learning officers are taking on critical business roles. With a background in employee development, change, and leadership, the CLO of today wears many hats: chief capability officer, chief leadership officer, chief talent officer, and even chief culture officer.”