How are you evolving Learning & Development to drive business transformation?

Posted by Jamie Breshears , Joanne M. Kim, and Neha Yadav on July 9, 2018.

Today’s disruptive environment means organizations must always be looking to reinvent their business models and how they serve their customers. To enable these transformations, they need to be able to quickly reskill or upskill their people. Typically this has been the responsibility of the Learning & Development (L&D) function, but business leaders are telling us that L&D hasn’t been keeping up with the needs of modern learners. In fact, more than half (54 percent) of respondents to the 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey said they had no programs in place to build the skills of the future.1 As legacy L&D responsibilities become less relevant, L&D organizations should be looking inward to assess their current capabilities against those needed to advance the organization and ready people for the future of work.

BersinTM, Deloitte Consulting LLP research2 provides a picture of what organizations should be doing to effectively develop their workforce and support learning. A true high-impact learning organization (HILO) is always learning—the entire organization enables and supports a culture where learning is work and work is learning. There is increased focus on the business taking ownership of learning, which helps ensure that learning is tied to business strategy and goals, and on employees/learners owning their own development process and leveraging experiences for continuous learning.

Because ownership of learning no longer rests solely with the L&D function, L&D’s traditional role has changed, and new roles have emerged. Rather than “giving” development, L&D enables development to occur, anytime and anywhere. With this new role comes the need for new and enhanced capabilities and behaviors within L&D, both to facilitate “always on” learning and to keep up with the technological advances that are changing how employees learn.

Source: Deloitte Consulting LLP

For example, the role of instructional designer has changed from developing formal courses to developing learning experiences (experience design). Enhanced roles and capabilities within L&D have also emerged, such as learning technology portfolio leader, learning brand & communications leader, and learning data analyst.

Knowing where you stand
Creating an organization that is capable of constantly learning and developing itself may seem like a daunting task. Getting the right skills within the L&D function is key to helping accelerate the transformation—and that starts with assessment.

L&D professionals know the value of assessment in understanding where learners stand so learning can be targeted where it’s needed most. It’s the same with the L&D function itself. Transitioning from the left (traditional) side of the graphic above to the right (reinvented) side starts with understanding current learning organization capabilities and assessing how those compare to modern learning organization capabilities, as defined by Bersin’s HILO maturity model. Identifying where gaps exist provides a road map of sorts for L&D to develop a strategy and begin to modernize.

For example, one company we work with, a leader in the agricultural sector, sought to modernize its learning organization and enable a digital organization. Learning leaders wanted to know what skills and capabilities were needed to create and implement a digital learning strategy. A modern learning assessment gave them an inside look into the capabilities they excel in and where they have gaps to fill. Now they can use that knowledge to make critical decisions about how to source new capabilities, such as hiring new L&D talent, developing existing talent, leveraging expertise from other parts of the organization, or a combination of approaches.

Keeping business needs front and center
L&D functions are always working to create the right development opportunities and experiences for the entire workforce. But today’s disruptive environment means they should also be working to align their own capabilities with the needs of the business.

The 2018 Deloitte Human Capital Trend “From careers to experiences: New pathways” emphasizes the need for organizations to reinvent learning to support and enable 21st century careers. This is not only to help workers navigate what could be a 70-year work life but also to give employers access to the skills of the future. Assessing your learning organization’s capabilities against modern learning practices can help jump-start and guide this increasingly vital reinvention process. L&D reinvention, in turn, helps ensure that the business has the skilled talent it needs to weather disruption, enable transformation, and stay competitive.

Jamie Breshears is a senior manager in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Learning Solutions practice, where he leads the Digital Learning Experience offering.
Joanne M. Kim is a manager in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Learning Solutions practice. She helps clients enable impactful learning experiences for their organization.
Neha Yadav is a manager in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital practice, where she advises global clients on learning transformation and change management solutions.

1 Dimple Agarwal, Josh Bersin, Gaurav Lahiri, Jeff Schwartz, Erica Volini, “From careers to experiences: New pathways,” The rise of the social enterprise: 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends.

2 Dani Johnson, High-Impact Learning Organization: Model and Top Findings, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP, 2017.

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