How can we make L&D relevant, today

In an HR conclave last week someone asked me, “How Learning & Development are needs of millennial different and how should organisations make those developmental initiatives effective for them”. It was a panel discussion and thankfully we could conclude with a nice summary and a few take-away from that discussion.

People Development in a business organisation has three Building Blocks namely;

  1. Identification of developmental objective or the ‘NEED’
  2. Choice of the intervention/s or ‘METHOD/S’
  3. Measurement of the “EFFECTIVENESS” of the intervention in meeting the objective

These building blocks are fundamental hence can’t change with reference to anything whatsoever.

What changes is the ‘Context’ against which these building blocks are applied. The ‘context’ has two dimensions namely;

  1. Situation
  2. Time

As far as situation is concerned, it changes with the environment around the subject and the object. In 100 organisations there can be 100 different situations while amongst 1000 employees in the same organisation there can be 1000 different situations. ‘Time’ is another dimension which influences the situation and hence the ‘context’.

If we look at the changes during the last ~35 years following are amongst the bigger ones;

  1. Advancement in technology and communication
  2. Higher exposure of people due to globalisation
  3. Shortening of the lifecycle of products and industries
  4. Changing landscape of competition due to new alternatives, substitutes and new entrants
  5. Increase in the risk taking appetites of people
  6. Natural evolution of Human mind (This happens on a daily basis but effects are visible over centuries)

If we superimpose these changes over the building blocks of people development as stated above, we can derive that our L&D framework need to consider the following aspects for them to be relevant in today’s world

NEED related;

  1. Need to develop people on “Designing and managing change” is more relevant now
  2. Need to develop leaders on “Identifying and managing risks”, leaders will have to take more risks now
  3. Need to develop a competency to “leverage technology” in everything they do
  4. Need to learn “Managing Innovation”

METHOD related

  1. To use technological advancements in order to provide Flexibility of learnings as per convenience
  2. Method/s should be adoptable and customisable
  3. Because of ever changing environment a greater usage of experiential learning will be better

EFFECTIVENESS measurement related

Don’t measure the ability to ‘recall’ through theoretical tests, rather measure non-tangible aspects such as;

  1. Ability and Will to TRY / make a whole hearted attempt
  2. Behaviours at the time of failure and ability to learn from a failure
  3. GRIT

If we adopt the above, the learning and development will be relevant irrespective of the date of birth of a person.

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