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Cath Everett

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Informal learning and driving innovation future of L&D and HR

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Ever increasing interest in informal and continuous learning will be the key driver for change in the learning and development function over the next 10 years.

 
According to a report published by research and consulting firm Bersin & Associates, this growing focus on informal and continuous learning will result in the further adoption of internal social networking tools such as blogs and wikis, while forcing learning and development professionals to continue re-engineering their skills and approaches to cope with shifting demand.
 
But just over a third of the HR and business leaders surveyed for the study also cited ‘driving innovation’ as one of their top three staff challenges for the year ahead, up from only 14% in 2010.
 
This emphasis on innovation is a reaction to the lack of risk-taking that has taken place over the last couple of years due to the difficult economic climate, the report said. But as the world economy moves back into tentative growth mode, organisations are now starting to show interest in moving into new markets such as green products and services. They are also beginning to recognise the need to reinvent their brands in order to meet the requirements of buyers with less money and more conservative values.
 
As a result, there will be a growing understanding that companies need to rethink their leadership, development and talent management strategies in order to develop deeper levels of skills specialisation as well as focus on the career development of staff in key job roles such as sales, finance, IT, marketing, engineering and HR.
 
The study entitled ‘Enterprise Learning and Talent Management 2010: Predictions for the Coming Year – Building the Borderless Workplace’ also revealed that 17% of respondents believed ‘globalisation’ would be a top three business strategy, three times as many as in 2009.
 
Because of low economic growth in developed economies such as the US and Europe, companies of all sizes were starting to move both staff and operations to developing countries such as India. Such activity was forcing HR functions to develop more international operational structures and HR and learning and development programmes.
 
Josh Bersin, president and chief executive of Bersin & Associates, said: “Pressured by the globalisation of most markets, HR organisations are shifting toward a business focus on innovation, growth and new product development.”
 
This meant that they needed to create a borderless workplace that encouraged innovation, expertise and collaboration by focusing on leadership strategies and programmes that enabled all personnel to become better at what they did, he added.

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