TalentLearning & DevelopmentThe secrets of an exceptional Learning & Development team: Hannah Brindle, MD, Virtual College

The secrets of an exceptional Learning & Development team: Hannah Brindle, MD, Virtual College

Hannah Brindle, Managing Director, Virtual College - sponsors of the award for Learning & Development Team of the Year 2019 - reveals the secrets behind excellent learning and development, and how it will transform in the near future.

What makes a truly exceptional L&D team? It’s a burning question for today’s organisations, as a changing world of work, political uncertainty, and a technological revolution call for more adaptable and incisive leaders and workforces than ever before.

Ahead of the HR Distinction Awards 2019, May 2nd at The Grosvenor Hotel, London, Hannah Brindle, Managing Director, Virtual College – sponsors of the award for Learning & Development Team of the Year 2019 – reveals the secrets behind excellent learning and development, and how it will transform in the near future.


What makes an exceptional Learning & Development team?

I think there are a number of key attributes that make an exceptional L&D team including the ability of the team to:

  1. Align L&D activity with the organisation’s strategic direction, brand positioning, culture and values.
  2. Act as the pivotal point for all organisational development activities, policies, procedures and standards.
  3. Work proactively and collaboratively with and through key stakeholders – where the leadership and operational management of an organisation really value the input and support they get from the L&D function.
  4. Raise awareness, understanding and the benefits of L&D across all levels of the organisation – get their people enthused and engaged with learning.
  5. Embrace and drive forward technology enhanced learning, blended learning solutions and new L&D technology and theory as standard operational practice.
  6. Quantify the impact it has on organisational, team and individual performance.
  7. Act as exemplars and role models in the application of key organisational learning in their day to day role.
  8. Actively get involved and support wider cross company projects and developments – many of which could have an L&D output.
  9. Be externally recognised and awarded for the exceptional work they do.

How can a truly exceptional Learning & Development team transform a business?

A truly exceptional L&D team can transform a business by developing enthused, motivated and engaged employees who are truly committed to the vision and goals of an organisation. They can develop employees that are interested in and deeply care about the success of their organisation – leading to better performance and overall achievement.

What do you think are the primary barriers facing the improvement of L&D within businesses?

I think many of the barriers facing the improvement of L&D within businesses are linked to how we think about it. As L&D professionals we need to change our mind set ………..we need to move away from the idea that our work is about process and training inputs – it’s about outcomes, performance and results. We also need to quantify and prove the impact and difference our interventions are making.

We should embrace innovation, new thinking, new technology – be curious about “the new” and what’s happening outside our limited work environment. It’s important to take a managed risk – if we keep doing the same things we inevitably get the same results – shake things up a bit and try a different approach. We should also get managers actively involved in training, developing, coaching and mentoring their teams – high levels of management engagement in L&D deliver better outcomes – L&D team efforts alone will never be enough.

How do you think Learning & Development teams will transform in the near future?

As I’ve already mentioned we need to change our mind set to increase our relevance and impact. The main metric L&D teams use to measure their success today is employee engagement and we need to think about what this means in all aspects of our L&D remit. Culturally we are moving away from top down “push” learning to creating inspiring “pull” learning environments – where learners are fully engaged and want to learn. This means inevitably that we are moving away from traditional formal approaches to more modern informal learning methods. As we transform we will focus on:• Outcomes rather than inputs• Bite size / micro learning rather than long programmes• On demand learning that can be accessed and applied in the work place straightaway• Self-directed learning• Technology enhanced learning

What does it mean to Virtual College to sponsor the award for Learning & Development Team of the Year?

Sponsoring this award is an enormous privilege.

Here at Virtual College we are passionate about creating inspiring learning so that people, organisations and communities succeed and flourish. We do this by putting the learner first and sparking their enthusiasm for learning.

We believe the most effective way to deliver great organisational results is to make learning immediate, accessible, meaningful and engaging – using the latest tried and tested technologies to underpin our approach.So sponsoring the award for L&D Team of the Year – the ultimate exemplars in L&D performance – is a complete honour and truly inspiring.

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