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Delivering Business Value Through Learning and Development

3 Strategies to Maximize the Value of L&D's Role

By David Yesford

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.”

To start with, senior business leaders increasingly see shortages of skills as a major impediment to executing their business strategies.

David Yesford

David Yesford, Senior Vice President of Wilson Learning Worldwide Inc. and Managing Director of Wilson Learning APAC, has more than 30 years of experience developing and implementing human performance improvement solutions around the world. He brings valuable experience, strategic direction, and global perspective to his work with clients. Mr. Yesford is an active member of the Wilson Learning Global Executive Board, with current responsibility at a global level. Over the years, he has held strategic roles in our core content areas of sales and leadership, as well as e-learning and strategic consulting. He has also held managing director positions in both China and India.

Mr. Yesford is the contributing author of several books, including Win-Win Selling, Versatile Selling, The Social Styles Handbook, and The Sales Training Book 2. He has also been published in numerous business publications throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific. Mr. Yesford frequently speaks at international conferences and summits, focusing on issues such as sales and sales strategy, leadership, employee and customer engagement, brand, and strategy implementation.