Global Human Capital Trends 2015; Deloitte University Press

This report from Deloitte puts Learning and Development as the third highest talent challenge facing organisations (from a survey pool of 3300 business in 106 countries). Sitting only behind culture and engagement and leadership, it got an average importance rating of 74/100. It’s up from 8th place last year. On the face of it, it’s encouraging for L&D professionals to see their domain rise to prominence but the celebrating is short lived when you look at how the profession is responding to the challenge. Last year 75% of organisation thought they were ready or very ready for the L&D challenge; this year 40% think they are. “The capability gap between the importance of the issue and the ability to respond grew in magnitude by an enormous 211% over the last 12 months.” P25.

Also interesting to note is that Oceania lags well behind the rest of the world in valuing L&D, with it giving it a 66% importance rating, the lowest of the 11 global regions surveyed. It’s possible I suppose that we know something the rest of the world doesn’t, but in our view it’s more likely that it’s us undercooking how critical L&D is to organisational success.

So, if we aren’t responding effectively to the challenge, what should we be doing? Deloitte emphasises the value in adopting emerging technologies such as MOOCs. We’d urge caution in choosing your toolkit; try seeing where MOOCs sit on Gartner’s Hype cycle for Education. They also advocate a more strategic approach to L&D which we strongly support. Our experience is that one of the biggest challenges L&D has is to shift thinking from seeing learning being a cost-based activity to a strategic investment. To do that, you need to be clear about the strategic contribution L&D plays, and you need to be able to measure the impact. Unless you do that, all the conversations in the world around leveraging technologies and meeting learner’s needs won’t get you there.

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