The Changing L&D Landscape
By Arijit Banerjee
This is probably the most exciting – and maybe even scary – time for Learning and Development (L&D) professionals, specifically in India. Things are changing fast in their industry due to recent developments in the world.
One might over simplify the Learning and Development role by merely thinking of it as a training job. However, let’s not forget that L&D is all about training ‘people’. People ‘from’ and ‘in’ different countries. Different kinds of people with experience in business analysis, product management and so on. People with varied talents and educational backgrounds. This makes it far more complicated than one can imagine.
That said, let’s look into the latest factors that are drastically changing the Learning and Development space.
The whole country is talking about the H-1B reforms that Trump is proposing. To put it in simple words, Trump does not want outsourcing companies to bring talent into the US via the H-1B visa route and send them back to their country of origin (after a short training duration) to do the same job. Instead, he wants them to try and hire local American talent as opposed to importing cheaper talent.
He has also proposed doubling the minimum salaries of H-1B visa holders to $130000. It will help ensure that only the cream of the talent pool makes it into the US. If Indian techies can’t go to the U.S on H-1B visas, the L&D department is going to be tasked with the responsibility of training staff without actually physically visiting the US, which will change everything!
Earlier, when an IT professional had to be trained to do a complex job for a client in the US, he was simply sent on an H-1B visa to gain hands-on experience. If that’s not an option anymore, L&D will now need to devise new techniques and programs to train these individuals to perform their jobs with the same level of expertise and efficiency as they would if they were to physically work with their clients/colleagues in the US.
Let’s not forget that these are no ordinary jobs. They’re rather highly specialized and complex jobs. These jobs require hours of training and context.
Let’s move from a 70-year old American president to ‘kids’ who have hit adulthood in the early 21st century.
According to a 2014 survey, Deloitte predicted that millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025 (and 64% of the Indian workforce). Business leaders still haven’t fully figured out what they want, but one thing is clear – they don’t (just) want money.
A common misconception about millennials is that they are entitled and not willing to work hard. However, that’s not really the case. It’s just that millennials are not into ‘delayed gratification’. They like things to move fast!
Millennials love to learn from ‘experts’ on-the-job. Not just that, they also want to work on something that’s impactful and has strategic importance. This definitely has a big impact on how millennials are (or should be) trained for their jobs.
If millennials want to be ‘mentored’ as opposed to just being ‘trained’ – it completely changes the way L&D handles them. There is a need to relook at the learning programs from the ‘mentorship’ and ‘meaningful’ perspective.
Also, let’s not forget that millennials grew up in an era that witnessed a rapid technological growth. This means that the techniques and methods adopted for ‘mentoring’ them need to be interesting enough for them to stay engaged and even learn.
An average employee logs in to Facebook more than 10 times a day. He/she is also likely to have an Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat account. There’s also a new trend of wearable tech like Fit Bits, Smart Watches and more. Let’s not even get into the number of times one unlocks his/her smartphone to use apps like WhatsApp, YouTube, and Amazon etc.
If an average person spends such a large chunk of his/her day interacting with mobile technology, it naturally means that what makes him/her tick (or learn) in the workplace also needs to be based on the same technology.
Learning and Development is a lot more than the PowerPoint Presentations and classrooms. L&D will definitely need to play catch up with the changing interests of the workforce, and leverage the latest tech into their teaching tactics to ensure high participation and success.
This might mean a mobile app that delivers on-demand learning modules or gamified smartwatch apps that help employees learn on the go. The learning and development space is certainly going to become more challenging – and exciting!
Only time will tell how drastically though.
Got your own predictions about this space? Share them with us via comments.
About the Author:
Manipal Global Education Services (MaGE)
Arvind Thothadri is the Vice President at Manipal Global Education Services. A post graduate from IIM - Lucknow with about 20 years experience, Arvind has spent the last 10 years in leadership roles advocating technology in Learning, Training and Assessment with customers across the globe.