It is a strategic imperative that the learning and development (L&D) function must evolve—or it risks becoming irrelevant. With disruption affecting the learning environment, numerous factors play a role in defining the approach needed to master disruption. As such, a Deloitte study showed that, when it comes to learning development, a majority of factors fell under the responsibility of the larger organization, not just L&D. Still, L&D must take the initiative to influence and drive these factors—quickly—to catalyse the learning environment in the organization.
Integrating learning throughout the organization demands a different mindset and approach. For learning to become adaptive in a world of increased employee mobility, the focus should be on interdisciplinary skills development. In fact, learning should encourage people to move across jobs, experiment new roles, fail, learn and share. The upshot of having such an approach is that it encourages employees to develop and learn in the flow of work, share information, make better decisions, and evolve to meet market demands.
What steps should the CLO take?
A majority of CEOs believe that their organizations do not have the skills to adapt to the disruptive technologies. Skills are becoming obsolete at an alarming rate. For instance, software engineers must redevelop skills every 6-12 months. To keep pace with these changes, CLOs must now become the catalysts for next-generation careers by delivering learning solutions that inspire people to reinvent themselves, develop skills, and contribute to the overall knowledge development.
As companies move to overhaul career models for the digital age, the L&D infrastructure undergoes transformation to keep up with employees’ demands for learning and career growth. Yes, employees themselves are pushing for dynamic skill development that is “always on”. The concept of continuous learning has ushered in new rules and challenges. It is transforming the L&D function inside-out. However, the onus lies on the CLO to channelize and direct the transformation that is taking place. To lead in the transformation of L&D into a “learning organization”, the CLO must take the following actions:
- Lead employee development in all areas of business. With integrated learning becoming a reality, the responsibility lies on the entire organization to take ownership of learning development. However, CLOs must define the path and milestones for employee development, learning outcomes, objectives and behaviours that influence all business decisions.
- Create conditions to foster learning. A “learning organization” should focus on creating conditions conducive to employee development. The CLO needs to create a competitive framework keeping in mind the organizational and talent trends. This shows the way forward for knowledge delivery methods to employ. Moreover, user experience and content continue to play a pivotal role in knowledge dissemination.
- Develop new skills for L&D. Research into learning trends points to three main categories of capabilities: enablers, approaches, and experiences. In effect, these three capabilities help in transforming an organization and its people into a competitive force. The CLO must figure out the requirements falling under each of the capabilities to fill the emerging needs of the organization.