Learning & Development Comes to the Fore
One outcome of the pandemic has been the increased profile of Learning and Development (L&D) in many organizations. Two statistics from the LinkedIn Learning 2020 Workplace Learning Report shine a light on the increase in profile of L&D. The first is the percent of L&D professionals who reported that their CEO actively champions learning, which increased from just 27% in 2019 to an overwhelming 70% in 2020. This is reinforced by the number of learning professionals who say they have a seat at the C-suite table increasing from 24% in 2019 to 62% in 2020. This, of course, is the good news.
The potential bad news is that while appreciation for L&D has increased, many L&D organizations were at best constrained by tight budgets and at worst significantly downsized and degraded during the pandemic leaving a potential misalignment between organizational expectations and current L&D capability. If you’re an L&D leader, now is the time to take stock of your learning organization and consider what actions are needed to meet the coming challenges. Let’s take a look at 5 potential opportunities to get your L&D ready.
Opportunity 1: Governance
Governance is a catch all phrase that captures the rules of engagement you establish with the teams you support. A few examples of governance in L&D include defining roles and responsibilities for your team and the internal clients, setting a bar for what needs to be in place before your team will engage, and establishing realistic service level agreements (SLAs) for the level of support your internal customers can expect. A “say yes to everything” approach to engaging your organization can lead to a disastrous outcome for both your team and the organization. Putting the right governance in place will set up both your team and the rest of the organization for success by ensuring your internal customers come to the table prepared and with appropriate expectations and that your team is clear about when it’s ok to push back and when it’s time to drive forward.
Opportunity 2: Process
As a rule, with scale comes process. This isn’t because we’re all actually closeted control freaks who want to micro-manage every action, but because what most of us have experienced is that while an ad hoc approach may work for a small, agile team, chaos will soon ensue as your team members start to juggle multiple projects and stakeholders in the absence of process. And this pattern tends to repeat itself… The processes you put in place to manage ten projects, often don’t scale to manage twenty and so on and so on. Now is the time to both reflect on where your process may have been coming up short pre-covid and putting in place the right feedback mechanisms so you’re ready to make quick improvements as your team scales.
Opportunity 3: Technology
While most of us were hunkered down during the pandemic, the EdTech market continued its rapid evolution. Our own Totara had its most substantial release in its 11-year history with a push into skills development and collaborative learning, but Totara wasn’t alone. The market has been flooded with product improvements and new products and this is happening for a reason. Learner and organization expectations for learning are changing rapidly and the technology providers are trying to stay ahead of the demand curve. Learning organizations need to do the same. Now is a good time to create your 6 month / 1 Year / 3 Year / 5 Year visions for learning in your organization and use that vision to identify gaps in your technology stack that you’ll need to get there.
Opportunity 4: Data
With the emergence of hybrid learning models, more and more learning will take place online. That’s a truth. Another truth is that online learning will create lots and lots of data and that data is getting easier and easier to capture. This is L&D’s tipping point moment, if we are ever to become the data-driven, quantitative-based field we aspire to be.
Opportunity 5: People
The final opportunity to explore to mature the capabilities of your L&D organization is people. This is both a reflection of the need to staff up after running lean for the past 18 months and the evolving skill set needed in L&D. Data analysts, social learning architects, MOOC facilitators, and system integrators are just a few of the roles needed in the modern L&D organization that weren’t even on the radar a few years ago. Check out the graphic on page 29 of this ebook from Toward Maturity for a great inventory of L&D skills.
So what do you think? Are you ready for the L&D Boom? Join us on August 31 2021, as we explore how to mature the learning organization and hear how leading businesses have done just that, to meet changing demands.