Aligning L & D to the Future of Work

By Rich Johnson | May 08, 2019

Insights and Practical Steps for Executives, Heads of HR and L&D Leaders.

Linkedin's 2018 Workplace Learning Report highlights the challenges of developing our people to reach their highest potential...which can result in success from purpose to profit.

The study provides key data from their survey of talent developers, people managers, employees and executives. Below I'll highlight a few of the key insights and some related survey results from Ignite for Chief People Officers, Heads of L&D and those of us who partner with them.

Soft Skills Are Priority

Across the board, the research indicates that the most important people development area for 2018 and beyond will be training for soft skills. With the rise of automation and AI, soft skills (like emotional intelligence) will provide even greater value and differentiation in the new work world. Specifically, the most important skills from an L&D program are:

1) Leadership 2) Communication 3) Collaboration

  • 92% of executives say that soft skills are equally important or more important than technical skills (Wall Street Journal)

Retention is a Major Motivation

Both executives and managers agree that a primary reason to invest in a stronger L&D program is to retain top talent. Executives say that the success of L&D programs is best demonstrated by the impact of learning on retention and performance metrics. Furthermore, the ability of heads of HR and L&D are more likely to find a seat at the senior leadership table as they successfully link employee development with key business outcomes. The good news is that employees themselves indicate that professional development is a factor in their retention:

  • 94% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development

However, the #1 reason employees feel held back from learning is because they don’t have time. So companies have to encourage and even provide incentive for employees to take advantage of L&D opportunities.

L&D Programs: Focus on Why and Who

Whether an internal learning university or an external partner providing leadership and professional development programs, an opportunity exists to improve and maximize partnership.

Managers surveyed indicated that they recommend L&D programs first and foremost to advance the career growth for their team member -which we've already tied to increased retention. Secondly, managers are looking for a criteria-based system to help them recommend appropriate courses/programs for their team members. Hence, the opportunities are:

  • Make the case your L&D program contributing to the career growth of participants
  • Provide tangible criteria for who are the best candidates for which programs.

The Influence of Millennials and the Power of Experience

As Millennials become 75% of the workforce by 2025, the powerful way they link work and learning should be an indicator for us all as to the importance of prioritizing investments and innovation in L&D starting right now.

"Millennials fundamentally think about jobs as opportunities to learn and grow. Their strong desire for development is, perhaps, the greatest differentiator between them and all other generations in the workplace." -Gallop

And Millennials are proven to respond to experience as a way of learning. At Ignite, we focus our leadership development offerings on experiences that connect, inspire and transform. Our programs cultivate soft skills for emerging leaders to executives, and our survey results indicate that creating L&D experiences (vs. simply trainings) yields positive results in the critical areas mentioned above: #retention, #business outcomes, career growth, motivation and #employeeengagement.

Our one-day Chicago Leadership Immersion on Diversity and Inclusion participants indicated:

  • 92% are better able to articulate and apply D&I strategies
  • 92% indicated this experience fostered an increased sense of purpose at work
  • 83% are more motivated to contribute to the success of their company 
  • 83% want to stay longer and grow as a leader

Please feel free to reach out if you'd like to learn more about what a partnership with Ignite can do to support your L&D initiatives. In the meantime, here's to further investment in L&D to help our people and companies reach their potential.

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