Article: Developing a future ready learning and development strategy

Learning & Development

Developing a future ready learning and development strategy

As the world becomes more connected and less hierarchical, traditional career paths are shifting as well. People have started looking for opportunities, growth, and impact as part of their jobs in order to get an opportunity to learn and build skills and not just resumes.
Developing a future ready learning and development strategy

In this technologically advanced scenario, organizations need to re-look at the complete ecosystem of learning & development. They need to prepare their workforce to keep them abreast with the opportunities that will require transformation at a breakneck speed. Learning is going to be the underpinning force to determine the success of professionals. It will need to be as agile as the workforce because learning will no more be about 'being at the right place at the right time' however; it will be about 'creating the right place by being there before time'.

Here are some of the changes that organizations should take into consideration to ensure that the learning and development strategies are future proof

Adaptive learning

Training approaches should be tailor-made where each employee is learning at his or her own pace. This means that employees should be monitored individually and in real time to determine what learning approach will best suit their needs, and then trained accordingly. This is especially true in the case of training designed to change behavior, where the only way to change people is to find their individual motivators such as confidence, recognition or leadership roles. Training should not just be the primary responsibility of the L&D department, managers should also get involved, for learning to become a continuous process. It will also require constantly measuring the effectiveness of training for better implementation. In the current competitive landscape, a lot of companies are looking at gamification of learning modules, better engagement during induction and onboarding and adopting the puzzle solving route to assess and build cognitive capabilities.

Shift from training programs to capability development

Training will have to ascend from development needs and not deficiencies. The key to success in a technology influenced and dynamic environment is not just developing content and delivering, it should rather be combined with continuous capability development. For instance, the focus should be on identifying individual and organizational capabilities, aligning them with key outputs of organizational success, and designing training programs for building capacities. Expanding individual capabilities in this manner will give way to organizational capability development which is not necessarily restricted to work-related capabilities. It is also important for personal development like emotional and social intelligence, which play a huge role in creating successful teams. Sports and theater learning are taking force and becoming a regular feature in organizations to help people go through the journey of self-development and capability improvement. 

Learning by Doing

Learning by doing is one of the oldest and my most recommended ways of capability development. The learning principle of 70:20:10 is timeless and will be relevant for the future. We are living in the times where every organization believes ‘Cash is King’. With more and more focus moving towards cost optimization, using experience and exposure will be the way for the future. It has been scientifically proven that these two factors contribute to 90% of the capability development of an individual. Millennials believe in risk-taking, experimenting and learning through their own failures, thus the traditional learning and development methodologies may well be passé. I strongly recommend companies to focus on creating learning opportunities through job rotations, project-based assignments etc. and focus on creating learning by doing.  

Mobile learning solutions

Web-based learning programs or mobile apps to facilitate engaged learning will increase global reach and save on time. They also possess the added advantage of updating content real time, which is the need of the hour. The portability and flexibility of mobile solutions will support the liquid workforce and those based out of remote locations to process information. Retention will be enhanced with learnings being readily available at all times to be referred to. Social tools, interactive learning through social collaboration in the form of microblogs, videos, and discussion forums will generate the synergy that can positively impact learning and ensure that it is sustained. Social tools will give way to a form of training where employees are pulling out the learning they need from various resources available and not waiting for the information being pushed to them. The company intranet is an old yet an effective tool for facilitating training programs.

Unlearning is the best form of learning

Making people ready for change is a part of the survival kit. It is important to be able to keep up with the ever-changing environment through change management and learning programs that are adaptive in nature. This approach of learning helps in minimizing change resistance. This can only be achieved when unlearning is accosted in a positive manner and facilitated as a part of the culture. 

The onus of building a learning culture has to be the DNA of an organization that spans across each and every individual and department and not be restricted to the L&D team. One of the most seamless revolutions of the last decade has been the expectation of business to have HR as their ‘business’ partner and not just an enabling function. Similarly, the organizations have understood the need for business leaders to be great people managers. It is important to learn the art of hiring and retaining people and keeping the focus on softer aspects like behavior, trust, and camaraderie. This will enhance productivity rather than just relying on functional skills. This role change or rather a role merge is a great case study of how learning new skills is becoming a need for every organization. The code to unlock maximum potential is creating opportunities where people can pick up skills that were traditionally never considered 'a must' as a part of their role. 

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Topics: Learning & Development, Strategic HR

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