Gurprriet Siingh, Country Head, YSC India
The world over the new abnormal i.e. VUCA – unpredictable future, uncertain growth, slowing economies, slowing/reducing top lines coupled with lower budgets and increased pressure on profitability, has meant that the organizational approach to learning and development is undergoing a change. We have seen learning go from carpet-bombing i.e. 5 man days of training per manager to targeted development of HiPers and HighPos. Focused investment on developing specialized skills and rapidly changing roles and contexts have meant that the days of regular TNA's and training calendars are soon becoming a thing of the past. A lot of learning is moving to gamification, e-learning and cohort-based focused development. Environmentally, the emergence of MOOCs and free online learning content has meant anytime, anywhere, on-demand access to the best content in the world. All of the above mean that there is going to be increased expectation on employees to self-skill themselves in order to remain employable and skilled for the next level of transition.
What does this mean for L&D professionals and L&D consulting?
There must be a shift from offering content to curating content and directing learners towards content that is available in the environment. Rapid change in business models and roles, demands accelerated development of individuals and this is where the key demand is coming from. As a result, the 70 of the 70:20:10 will take prominence and consulting firms will have to come up with ways to offer on-the-job learning that is role based and is dependent on creating experiences that will lead to learning-in-role.
Simulations, gamification and collaborative, social learning will become the norm and organizations will need to be technology/digital first versus trying to convert existing content. Firms will need to be tech-savvy and will need to develop the capability to offer solutions across various online and digital platforms. Investing in technology will become key as technology will become a driver versus an enabler of learning and development.
Accelerated development will also demand mentoring and coaching and L&D providers will need to ensure they have robust functional and leadership coaching/mentoring services. An increased focus on impact and RoI will mean organizations will have to have robust impact and outcome measurement mechanisms in place. This will call for analytics and big data capabilities which organizations will have to build.
The meaningful work will shift to bespoke solutions and L&D firms will need to make a capability shift from being training and calendar providers to consultative engagement. Understanding client context and custom-designing bespoke solutions is where the premium business will move to. Training will become a mix of facilitation, action-learning, coaching/mentoring. Client engagement will become more complex as it will shift from running 50 workshops to managing a change program. The model will become more partnering and will demand immersion in the client context as well as the ability to out-think or co-think with the client.
All in all, this portends, over the next 5 years a key shift for the industry. We will not see a radical drop-off of the traditional services since younger, smaller organizations will still use some of these services. But these services will become commoditized and will not be large revenue earners. The key relationships and revenues will come from bespoke work and partnered opportunities that leverage digital delivery models, curated content, coaching/mentoring and deep analytics.
What does this mean for the role of an L&D Partner?
This means the role of an L&D provider will change from being an extra pair of hands or the owner of content to a strategic partner who enables capability development or strategy activation in a dynamic business environment.
This will require a change in mindset, client engagement, capability/skills and focus, which has all been highlighted above.
The market will be split between commoditized content providers who will slowly become irrelevant and high-end, premium bespoke consulting firms.