A Transformation of the Learning Function: Why it Should Learn New Ways | McKinsey

Talent Development

Learning and Development (L&D) functions have always had an opportunity to demonstrate its value in a “business-as-usual” environment. However, amid a pandemic and in a post-pandemic world, there is a significant opportunity for L&D organizations to deliver business value in a world where a) jobs have been redefined, b) skill requirements have changed, c) ways of working have been altered, and d) employee preferences have shifted, to name a few. However, “rather than being regarded as one of the most forward-thinking functions in an organization, leading it through a learning transformation, many feel that their L&D functions struggle to keep up with the needs of their businesses.” The article argues that L&D functions must undergo a transformation and adopt an agile operating model to deliver significant value to their organizations. To do so, L&D must overcome some of its challenges, including that many (not all) L&D functions today: 1) are overly stable—to the point of rigidity, 2) have their own key performance indicators, which are not necessarily linked to overall business goals. 3) focus on what is meaningful to them rather than on broader organizational goals and associated key performance indicators, 4) have cumbersome legacy platforms and systems that slow down the response rate to changing business needs. To overcome these and other challenges, the article argues that “L&D function needs to strike the right balance between stability and dynamism, assembling the components that will create a stable backbone as well as the dynamism needed for the function to keep pace with an organization’s learning needs.” The exhibit in the article shows an excellent summary of how organizations can build both stability and dynamism into all elements of an L&D function: its strategy, structure, people, processes, and tech and systems.

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