Is a new approach to Learning & Development emerging?

There are many arguing the case and there is a strong argument to support it though perhaps no surprise as the change was very much needed. CEOs have long asked the question as to why there were not more younger talented individuals pushing at the door to become directors and leaders. Whilst the average age of board directors has increased by over 10 – 14 years in the last decade, this has left many younger talents feeling that their paths to progression have been blocked. At the same many L&D professionals have spoken of their great processes and procedures to enable talent which, it is fair to say is slightly at odds given the above and present outcome.

This pot has been simmering for some time, so the change was inevitable. The pandemic, of course, has been a catalyst but the trends and the debates were already in play.

· Many have been left disengaged by working for Corporates and are seeking a stronger work/life balance that frees them up to be the professional they aspire to be. They want to learn and improve, and they are doing it themselves.

· Learning has changed. Some of the traditional ideas are no longer fit for purpose. Many want to embrace new ideas, original thinking and greater inclusion. Where do you naturally go if you want to hear about the new and the exciting?

· Cafes, restaurants and hotels have all become acceptable places to work and do business from. This is empowering talent to now change course, establish their own businesses and try to take hold of their own destiny.

· One cannot underestimate the disillusionment in leaders which has spread from the top to the bottom of the workforce. This is partly because the demands are ever-increasing on top management which has made it harder for them to adapt.

There is an argument that we may well see a great new era in entrepreneurship as many have started their own businesses whilst on furlough or as a result of being made redundant. It has been forecast that we may well see an increase of 40% in the number of new businesses being founded in 2021 as many seek to create greater control over themselves and their own destinies.

However, the one missing piece to the above is the need that most of us have which is to belong and feel connected to a community. It was a great advantage that corporates possessed; a strong culture that engaged, developed and retained talent. However, the concept of culture has been eroded but we are confident that it will re-emerge. Already it is clear to see that many companies are working hard on their value propositions, on how they communicate with their people and ultimately how they are able to bring their teams together effectively against a difficult backdrop. Not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur.

We may see a new era in entrepreneurship but we will also see new approaches to L&D within the corporate environment. Some argue that companies will not have the budgets to invest in people but the counter is that business simply cannot afford not to as great talent is being lost and business will need to be rebuilt on strong pillars with people at the centre.