The modern day employee is one who is overwhelmed with information – leading to declining productivity and low engagement. The role of an L&D professional therefore depends on the capacity to understand the context that the individual employee operates in and to help them develop to the best of their ability. Apart from personalizing, the new generation workforce also expects career mobility, continuous learning and coaching. This where the concept of a self-developing organization is most useful since the focus is on delivering an experience that radically simplifies the ability to empower every role in the organization with a personalized and self-directed development path to engage employees in meaningful growth. At L&D Annual League Conference 2016, John Ambrose from SumTotal shared the learning and talent maturity framework. Here are five stages that companies can be categorized into based on where they are on the maturity cycle:
- Siloed stage: An organization that is siloed is characterized with a highly hierarchical outlook and an unengaging culture. It is a company that sees employees as passive and where the role of the HR is that of a process resource with minimal interaction with the business. This is also a stage where the company has an excessive focus on the cost and the only benchmarks that are relevant are participation metrics and ad-hoc reports.
- Targeted stage: A company in this stage has a top-down driven culture with executive support towards engagement, learning and talent. The role of HR is that of program manager and where usually there is an organization wide LMS. The key metrics therefore involve learning related engagement measures.
- Transforming stage: At this stage in the maturity framework, a company has a people-centric philosophy. The role of HR is that of a catalyst – bringing together learning and talent to drive adaptability. In a company at this stage, employees are more accountable to steer their own career and development. Companies also begin linking learning and talent in the workflow.
- Continuous stage: For an organization in this stage, the role of HR can be best described as a workforce architect that directs business centric interconnected learning and talent processes. All key decisions leverage data including: analyses, roi, impact studies and more. The engagement levels are usually high due to a people-first philosophy.
- Optimized stage: There is a self-developing ecosystem at this stage with a collaborative and transparent approach that is highly sought after by the employer and employees. There are mature processes that leverage data-driven inputs and there are HR risk mitigation plans with predictive insights to manage the future.
An L&D journey through the different stages of the talent maturity creates talent agility; it resolves skills gaps, creates meaningful analytics and optimizes the performance. The journey, however is not dependent on the L&D function alone, a number of stakeholders including the business and the technology vendor play a key role in driving transformative change in the company.
(This article is based on a session called “The pursuit of becoming a self-developing organization” at the L&D League Annual Conference)