Even as L&D teams have always played a key role in organizational development, their part has broadened to a greater extent in recent times to facilitate and support the constant disruptions. Amidst a huge demand for employee upskilling and reskilling, L&D teams have become change makers, rethinking how their businesses operate and finding ways to build a future-ready workforce.
As they facilitate development and training among employees and play an active role in shaping the learning journeys of their workforce, they themselves too need to develop certain skillsets to essay their role more prudently.
Here’s a list of 6 must-have skills that today’s L&D professionals need to develop and hone if they want to lead the way in terms of adapting to change in these challenging times:
1. Change Management Skills
2020 and most of 2021 have certainly been the years of massive change, and the L&D function has been integral in managing the interruptions to strengthen the future of companies. But it’s clear that Change Management has to be a key skill that today’s L&D professionals will need to master given that they will have to stay at the forefront of change always. Effective change management is essential to ensure that the organization keeps moving forward overcoming obstacles.
2. Leadership Skills
Another essential skill that L&D professionals require today is strong leadership skills so that they can create teams that contribute to a company-wide culture of learning. Confident L&D professionals with good leadership skills can help execute organizational goals and build professional development initiatives that result in high-performing employees.
3. Communication Skills
For the modern L&D professional, strong communication skills are one of the most crucial elements to have in their repertoire. Especially at a time when face-to-face training is an impossible thing, communications skills are all the more important in the virtual L&D world. Besides, the workforce today is highly distributed thanks to remote working which means understanding different employee’s professional training needs and then offering solutions is what L&D professionals must be adept at and clear communication is a must-have for this.
4. Organization Skills
In the current Covid era, L&D professionals need to design effective L&D programs that will cater to a wide variety of audience based in different locations and even time zones. This calls for them to have effective organizational ability since they will need to allocate time, money and resources in the best possible way for their program to succeed. They will need to have a perfect mix of eLearning courses by curating and organizing content, using multimedia and interactivities effectively at the right intervals and ensuring the programs flows methodically. Additionally, as L&D professionals work on multiple projects at the same time, they will need to be good at managing their time well, to make sure they meet deadlines and avoid backlogs.
5. Decision Making Skills based on Data Analysis
As most areas of businesses are results and data driven today, an important part of an L&D professional’s job is to analyse information before and after the training occurs. They will need to use KPIs and metrics to see where the skill gaps are and what the company requires the most. Without this data-driven approach to learning, L&D professionals will end up creating training based on just guesses which may hardly prove to be effective. The ability to make decisions based on data, reporting against key performance metrics and being able to analyze quantitative results is a key skill required by new age L&D professionals.
6. Critical Thinking
Another most important area for L&D professionals to focus upon before building L&D programs is to understand why they are doing it and what it means to the learner. This is where they require Critical Thinking as a key skill which includes the ability to conceptualize information, analyse and evaluate it. The next step is to take all this information and formulate a plan of action to create the actual training. In short, a lot of the final output is based on reflection which is why L&D professionals need to be critical thinkers.
At a time when L&D has already acquired a strategic position in the overall organizational hierarchy, it’s necessary that they possess skills that will help them make a real impact on people and organizations during this crucial time. The skills mentioned in this article are more like guidelines on what could prove to be useful for L&D professionals to deal with constant disruptions in the corporate world.