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Legitimising learning and development at work

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A strong learning and development strategy can be the edge that defines the success of a business. Why is it so crucial, and how can People Leaders make learning work?

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Many companies have begun to prepare for future talent challenges. An effective Learning and Development strategy has been recognised as a key factor in improving the employee experience on all fronts. To understand the importance of an effective learning strategy at work. HRD Connect explores the world of workplace learning.

Change is constant for businesses today. Consequently, leaders need to find ways to keep up with trends and the skills needed in the dynamic working world.

“Current workplace training programmes are not catering to the growing workforce – preventing both individuals and organisations from safeguarding their future,” said John Yates, Group Director Corporate Learning, City & Guilds Group.

Employees today need to continually improve their skills and keep up with the change of pace if they are to add maximum value to their organisations in the future.

“Organisations that invest in their contingent workforce are more likely to attract high-quality workers, and ultimately add more value to the economy by supporting the development of a skilled, productive society.”

Businesses now face an imminent war for talent, according to a whitepaper produced by Fujitsu. Learning strategies can be the solution to resolving talent problems.

“Although many organisations declare their people as their most important asset, they don’t always follow this up by assigning funds to develop their human capital,” said Glyn Roberts, Managing Director, Global Knowledge.

“Lack of available inhouse talent has serious consequences on business effectiveness. This can result in increased stress on employees and missing project goals.”

“L&D has many technology-enabled ways to improve knowledge transfer. Technology is allowing staff to consume learning through classroom sessions, eLearning and social media,”

“Those organisations that embrace what can be done, and effectively incorporate self-study into more traditional learning and certification, stand the best chance of developing and keeping a talented workforce.”

Employees could significantly benefit from an effective L&D system. However, businesses may struggle to construct an effective program that suits their workforces. Technology, communication, and versatility are vital when looking to assemble a valuable L&D program.

Studies by PwC revealed that 30% of jobs could be impacted by automation in the next ten years. Consequently, many participants expressed their interest in learning.

PwC found that 54% of UK adults (and 67% of 18-34-year-olds) said that they were ready to learn new skills or completely retrain to improve future employability.

The demand for learning opportunities is evident, and the advances in technology could make learning available to anyone that requires it.

Learning and development have long been the growth-enabler in successful organisations,” said Jo Daly, Head of Learning and Development, Made by Many.

“It’s a real tour de force when it comes to upskilling, retraining and supporting cross-generational teams.”

“Artificial intelligence and Virtual reality are going to have a significant impact on the future of learning. Businesses need to make sure they’re ahead of the curve by offering technologically-enabled ‘just-in-time’ learning.”

For an L&D strategy, there are five key objectives:

  • Attract and retain talent.
  • Develop people capabilities.
  • Motivate and engage employees.
  • Create a values-based culture.
  • Build an employer brand.

Businesses that succeed in accomplishing all five objectives unlock the benefits of having productive and skilful employees who are regularly engaged.

The benefits of an effective L&D strategy are apparent. However, there are many challenges in executing it well. If only 50% of a workforce is using the L&D prospects available to them, it could be a waste of time and resources.

Therefore, a learning program must be relevant and worthwhile. Digitalisation is pivotal in making a learning experience personal and accessible. Advances in technology can additionally improve the distribution of new learning methods and reduce costs.

“When deployed in a well-studied, strategic way, digital has the potential to deliver huge benefits. It can drive engagement and create an appetite for learning amongst employees,” said Dan Ferrandino, Managing Director, Knowledgepool.

“Organisations that can deploy digital in a strategic and balanced way while engaging with their employees will succeed in establishing genuine learning cultures, and develop the agile, multi-skilled workforces they need to thrive in the future.”

L&D leaders must ensure that the right skills, senior support, and resources are available before pushing an L&D program. Many companies have a learning strategy, but more can be done to ensure the success of employee development within an organisation.

Creating a personalised learning experience through technology can significantly improve the performance of a business.

In a future where the most in-demand skills are uncertain; learning could be crucial. However, creating an L&D strategy isn’t just about building knowledge, it’s about bettering the overall experience and culture within a workforce.

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