Valuable Skills Every L&D Professional Needs
COVID has caused devastating effects on the globe, both in terms of loss of human lives and economic slowdown. However, ironically, most of us will also acknowledge that there has never been a more exciting time for the L&D community than today. Initiated by the pandemic and accelerated by the increasing need for upskilling and reskilling across organizations, L&D leaders have rightfully gained a much-deserved seat at the C-suite table and are spending time crafting strategies and solutions for employee engagement, enablement, and empowerment. Personally, I have not spent more time in my entire professional tenure upskilling myself than I have in the past year. And that is perhaps the case with most of us. Everyone is looking to learn and grow.
With continuous learning being more pertinent than ever, L&D professionals need to move beyond their realm of the standard skillset. They need to arm themselves with skills that might not have been traditionally associated with their roles but can help them deliver what employees really need in a format of their choice and in the flow of work. These skills will enable L&D professionals to build workplaces of the future where every learning initiative will directly impact the bottom line. Here are some of those:
Asking the right questions and understanding the context of the business will never go out of fashion for L&D. Though not technically new for L&D stakeholders, consulting is still a skill where there is always scope for improvement. L&D folks must don their consulting hats to make a positive strategic impact on businesses. They should not instinctively jump into creating a requested training but challenge such requests by asking the right questions. They do not need to take the lead from business heads in terms of what training needs to be built but work at par with them as their consulting partners to carve the right solutions. Working with business leaders to develop L&D KPIs in sync with business KPIs is the need of the hour.
Content curation is perhaps one of the most useful skills for the L&D function to possess today. Gone are the days when creating content from scratch was a must-have skill listed in the L&D rulebook. With the kind of information overflow that we are experiencing across all walks of life, it is perhaps the best time to curate content from resources that are already available. L&D stakeholders should in fact question themselves if they are spending a lot of time creating all content from scratch. Today’s organizations capture a swathe of content in information systems—there are recorded Teams and Zoom meetings, policies and memo documents, webinars, case studies, pictures, videos of work, and much more—L&D should just take this content, extract the best out of it, and repurpose.
It is imperative for L&D stakeholders to know of the ways and means to personalize learning content and experiences for their employees. They need to go back to the drawing board and relook at creating customized learning plans that keep learners at the core of all learning initiatives. Creating personalized learning using technologies like AI, which are mapped to the competencies needed by the organization, is what would add value to the rapidly changing workforce dynamics. The L&D function will need to use rich analytics to continually evaluate what they know about an employee’s learning needs and then compare it regularly with what is being learned.
4. Leveraging Technology
As opposed to a decade back, when L&D leaders probably did not have to be well-versed with what technology could do in terms of improving work and productivity, they have been embracing new technologies smoothly for quite some time now. In the post-pandemic world, this is even more significant. Joti Joseph, a seasoned learning expert, shared similar thoughts in one of Harbinger’s recent Power Hours when she said, “We will never go back to a Chief Learning Officer not knowing what technology can do for their organization.” L&D professionals will be one of the first few folks in any organization to leverage the power of technology going forward—a big shift for the L&D community.
Are you an L&D professional leveraging your C-Suite seat to the fullest? What shifts do you see in the learning function in the post-pandemic world? Any other skills that you think would be of value? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.