Research digested: How to solve a problem like L&D, Knowledgepool


How to solve a problem like L&D, KnowledgePool.

Why read this report
This report is useful for understanding the challenges facing L&D teams. It also sheds light on how managers see L&D. The report shows some interesting differences between how managers and L&D professionals see their role and the challenges they face.

About the research
In August 2018, Knowledgepool interviewed 113 L&D decision-makers and 102 line managers in organisations in the UK with more than 100 employees.

Standout stats
Alarmingly, only one in four L&D professionals say they are clear on L&D’s role within their organisation. And almost two-thirds think there is a belief within their organisation that L&D delivers little impact or value.

The top five frustrations for L&D professionals are lack of alignment to business needs (41%), a focus on discrete courses rather than holistic learning programmes (34%), not enough focus on the employee experience of learning and outdated technology (29%).

The report is not all grim reading, as 78% of L&D professionals and 77% of line managers believe that L&D needs to have a bigger impact on business outcomes such as productivity.

When it comes to the factors forcing the L&D function to change, the top two most pressing issues, according to L&D, are the need for L&D to better impact business outcomes (78%) and digital transformation (77%). For line managers, the top two factors forcing change are the greater need for workforce agility (81%) and the need to upskill employees more quickly than ever (80%). The fact that there are different factors at play here could be a cause for concern for L&D, especially if these factors are also viewed as the priorities.

Organisations also need to be mindful of the fact 51% of L&D professionals say they feel overwhelmed by the speed of disruption and technological change and 64% feel that there is a lack of support from the wider business when it comes to evolving the L&D function. Organisations need to support L&D if it is to deliver on its expectations around digital transformation.

When asked, What are you looking for from the L&D function over the next two years and how can it best future proof itself?’ Line managers say they are looking for new ways of thinking (69%) and focus on enhancing connections/sharing knowledge as well as on courses (67%). By contrast L&D wants to focus on developing its ability to predict and resource that skills that will be needed in the future (55%) and regularly review programmes to check they support/enhance business goals (50%).

There are some big challenges here but the research says L&D is optimistic about managing them, with (75%) reporting that they are keen to modernise L&D within their organisations and to embrace the opportunities this will present to them personally.

How will they do this? Well 93% of L&D professionals will be looking to increase their understanding of new digital tools,90% will be focusing on the personalisation of the learning experience/involve employees in learning design, 89% will get better listen to their employee/stakeholder community (89%) and 89% will be establishing a more vibrant coaching culture.

In order to achieve this, L&D professionals see their role majoring more on connecting people, processes and skills (36%) and enabling change (32%).

Final word
The line manager context in this research is useful for sense-checking L&D’s priorities. The good news is that L&D and line managers are broadly aligned. The areas where they are aren’t aligned should be a cause for concern. Use this data to provoke some conversations with managers in your organisation.


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