The future of work is here. Employees need to be upskilled and future-proofed today for the changing world of tomorrow. And playing a key role in this are the L&D professionals, who not just have to be the change makers but have to be continuous learners as they cater to both the workforce and their own skilling and development. As they build a future-ready workforce, they have to become a future L&D professional themselves.
1. The role of L&D professionals has undergone a sea change
The evolving technology, increasing adoption of digital tools and systems, changing user behavior and expectations have not only impacted how we work, but the roles we play and the skills we need to perform them. From a one-size-fits-all, one-and-done training strategy, L&D professionals, today, have to enable and support the organization for agility and change management. They need to play an active role in shaping the learning journeys of their workforce by keeping one eye on the business goals and other on the future of work.
2. Today’s L&D professional is a Consultant
Learning and development professionals have a unique role to play in an organization. Often tasked with upskilling of the workforce, they need to understand the requirement and strategize accordingly to deliver on it. This often means working with business leaders to identify challenges in their area of work and working backward to identify the right solution (mix of tools, systems, programs and content) to develop talents, knowledge bases, skills, and abilities for the overall success of the company and the team/individual. This is a far cry from the L&D professionals of the past, who were ‘coordinators’ responsible for sourcing the right training content/ coaching program.
3. The new-age L&D professional needs to have a holistic skillset
From core domain skills, like understanding of learning solutions, L&D’s contribution to the learning culture, instructional designing approaches, the overall operating model especially in today’s virtual world of work, to advanced skills like consulting, communication, influencing (without authority), data acumen, project and finance management, the new-age L&D professional needs to have a well-rounded personality with a holistic skillset.
4. The way to humanize virtual training is with a user-centric approach
Although technology provides an avenue for scale and reach, it is L&D’s role to transform the avenue into an engagement playground by adding value to the training program and building an enhanced user experience. This can be done by keeping the user at the heart of the strategy and designing to elevate his/ her learning experience through different modalities.
5. To future-proof the workforce, L&D needs to upskill itself
The half-lives of capabilities are dwindling and there’s a constant need to reskill and upskill. This is true not just for the employees, but for the team responsible for their capability development: the L&D function. What this call for then is L&D to evolve in order to bridge the skills gap, stay ahead of the curve and, most importantly, prevent the organizational capability development efforts from being hampered.