1.1.1 We focus on the L&D professional

Stichting Organisatie Leren - SOL - what-if-we-train-them

We have developed this Learning Journey for Learning & Development / Human Resources / Talent Management professionals. If you are part of the learning team in a (larger) organization you will probably recognize the following dilemma's.

The first dilemma is described in Sloan Review:

  • Learning is as high a priority as ever for corporate leaders. Before the pandemic, learning and development (L&D) efforts aimed at reskilling and upskilling workforces ranked among global CEOs’ top concerns. COVID-19 has accelerated existing trends in remote work and automation and shined a spotlight on digital skills gaps in organizations.
  • Despite concern at the top and significant investments in training each year, many organizations are failing to meet employees’ learning needs. Gallup data shows that only 4 in 10 employees strongly agree that they have opportunities at work to learn and grow.

The second dilemma is described in Mercer:

  • Learning & Development is the biggest driver of employee engagement globally.
  • Global levels of employee engagement and commitment are moving up but still are less than 30%, which means that organizations have a wealth of untapped talent being wasted, and in the worst case scenario, draining company resources. There’s serious room for improvement.

The third dilemma is described by the World Economic Forum:

  • Research shows that, in developed countries, almost 50% of all jobs are likely to become redundant and go out of existence in the coming years as they will be either automated or those jobs will no longer be required as the services that those job roles offer will no longer be needed.
  • Learning & Development programs must be molded to take care of the changing workforce and organizational requirements to create a future ready workplace.

The fourth dilemma is described in the ROA research, (Borghans et al., 2014):

  • Research of the Maastricht University shows that workers spend an average of twenty-one hours a year on formal courses and other training, and 484 hours on informal learning. This is totally in line with the 70:20:10 principle where 90% of all learning is informal.
  • Yet, still most of the Learning & Development budget is spend on formal learning programs (check your own budget!).


So where do things go wrong? In line with Argyres (Harvard professor) we as members of the development team for this Learning Journey strongly believe:

  • Learning is defined to narrowly. We have as Learning & Development professionals to look at formal and informal learning. Hard and soft skills. Individual and social learning. Theoretical and practical learning. In other words, integrating everyday work with everyday learning.
  • We fail to reflect on how internal behaviors and thought patterns block effective learning. We have to look deeper. Beside the upper current, we must also consider the undertow. To make the invisible, visible. The unheard, heard. The non-negotiable, negotiable.
  • There is a challenge for Learning & Development professionals to take a 180-degree turn toward informal and upward learning based on the intrinsic human need to learn.

In other words, we have to create a more Learning Culture. A safe place where learning is part of everyday work. Where mistakes are learning examples. Where learning leaders give the right example. Where teams solve sticky problems in a learning way. Where employees are happy and productive. Where life long learning is not a far away goal but something you automatically achieve by combining working and learning into one.



We focus ourselves on the L&D Professional!

The challenge for Learning & Development professionals is to shift its role from a mainly supply driven controller to a more demand driven facilitator and moderator.

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