Article: The challenges of global L&D: Survey

Learning & Development

The challenges of global L&D: Survey

The challenges of global L&D survey shows just how much L&D practitioners have to struggle against
The challenges of global L&D: Survey

A recent survey of 200 Learning & Development (L&D) senior decision makers by Open University Business School has revealed a pretty grim picture of the challenges that they are facing. ‘The Challenges of Global L&D survey’ says that nearly two-fifths of organisations do not have a global strategy for learning, and almost half the L&D decision makers think that learning is not seen as important. Other findings of the survey are as follows:

  • About 66% of the respondents said that organisations with a learning culture will be the most successful in the future, and 62% suggest that global learning programs will be the most important in the coming years. 
  • 60% are of the belief that effective learning is ‘critical’ to organisational success, as it helps companies adapt quickly. More than half the respondents said that there would be a ‘significant’ commercial impact if their L&D teams collaborated with the world. Over 50% believe that in-depth global learning programmes attract talent from across the world.
  • Only 20% of the organisations consistently share learning across geographies, and in nearly 50% of the organisations, the learning architecture was found to be ‘decades’ out of date. 
  • Lack of support from leaders and top management continued to be a big challenge for L&D practitioners, as 42% said that direction from the top was missing and their leadership doesn’t value learning. ‘Local resistance’ and outdated technology, both, was found to be a barrier in nearly 40% of the organisations surveyed.
  • Two fifths of the respondents said that they were already losing talented employees because they are not constantly being developed. The silver lining, however, is that 94% of the respondents are planning to increase investment in international training programmes. Over half also want access to market-leading learning, and almost half are worried that they will lose talent if learning is not shared effectively. 

Penny Asher, director of executive education at Open University Business School told Forbes, “Businesses wants to reduce costs but there is a greater commercial impact if you don’t get L&D right. Organisations then work in silos and the impact on performance is much reduced and you’re failing to realise some of the synergies... Learning is looked at as a cost and although there is often an investment in top talent that is not necessarily throughout the organisation... We are experiencing a fundamental shift that will affect every L&D department. Tighter margins and the increasing expectations of candidates and employees mean there has never been such pressure to get it right; those that do so stand to make great global gains.”

The report highlights the challenges faced by L&D decision-makers and practitioners globally, and discusses how the idea of learning differs across stakeholders.

With almost every industry witnessing disruptions of some kind, be it political, economical or technological, the need to encourage learning, and promoting a culture that values skills and knowledge have never been more important.

With automation on an unstoppable rise, conventional skills are likely to be rendered obsolete sooner or later. Hence, the need to look at learning and development as an investment, and not as a cost, is essential. However, as the report suggests, many are not of this viewpoint. With leadership support missing, and the sense of urgency absent, progress in L&D is still sporadic and stunted. The role of L&D decision-makers will be even more important in this scenario, as they will have to ensure that objectives of learning and skilling are embedded deeply in the fabric and culture of the organisation. Making a case for L&D will get increasingly tougher in the face of uncertain business growth and thinning margins, but focus and investment on learning must be presented as what it is – a solution to challenges. Undoubtedly, challenges lie ahead in the field, but so do opportunities to change the learning paradigm and inculcate a culture of learning. 

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Topics: Learning & Development, Strategic HR, #LAndDLeague

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