2 significant words for L&D in 2016

These two words will be taking center stage in learning and development circles this year

In this climate of certain uncertainty, the words 'agile' and 'career' are becoming even more important to L&D, according to one expert.

In particular, organisations must be agile in their approach to talent management, said Bridget Beattie, Executive Vice President Asia Pacific Middle East at Right Management.

Further, the best driver of agility is having a learning organisation, she added.

“That goes to how you recruit people, how you develop them, how you manage them and how you engage them,” Beattie told L&D Professional.

If you do it through the lens of a learning organisation that means you are able to respond very quickly to whatever is going on, added Beattie.

“Just the fact that you are going to recruit people for whom agility is their middle name is going to make a huge difference - their learnability has got to be high.”

Her comments come as the ManpowerGroup release a new report (Human Age 2.0: Future Forces at Work) which has found that a perfect storm of structural and cyclical forces (including shifting demographics, rapid globalisation, technological revolutions and highly uncertain business environments) are pushing the labour markets out of sync.

Another key finding of the report was that individuals have a responsibility to ensure they continue to update their skill sets independently, and/or seek out opportunities in the workplace.

“Hopefully the individual is also given development by the organisation on how to manage their career which starts with understanding themselves,” said Beattie.

She added that this involves looking at their key strengths and the environment in which they perform.

The employer’s obligation is then to create the framework to train leaders to have career conversations, and not just performance conversations, she said.

“Often those conversations are the missing ingredient, as managers are often nervous about their employees having a career conversation. This is because they can’t control where it’s going to go, in contrast to a performance conversation which they can control.”

The report also found that HR/L&D leaders should take a different approach to workforce strategies in light of technologies disrupting talent management.

“It’s got to be all about the lead indicators rather than the lag indicators,” Beattie toldL&D Professional.  

Beattie added that performance reviews are a lag indicator because it’s too late when they happen.

But career conversations are a lead indicator, and the things that really drive engagement are lead indicators, she said.

“If you have got engaged employees you are going to have higher performance and higher productivity,” Beattie said.

So how do you drive engagement?

“It comes back to communication, clarity and career. Career is always in the top three or four drivers of engagement, no matter where in the world, whatever organisation. The new big word is ‘career’.”

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