While recent reports indicate a rise in executive support for L&D, some big challenges still lie ahead.
In a study by specialised recruitment company Robert Half, Australian Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) said their learners are their top priority for 2017, suggesting a stronger focus on L&D in the year ahead.
Similarly, LinkedIn’s 2017 Workplace Learning Report found that 69% of organisations see talent as their top priority.
So while it seems that executives are seeing the value of L&D, are they effectively driving training and development in their organisations?
Sarah Rodgers, principal at Iolite Consulting Australia, told L&D Professional that Australian organisations haven’t invested in leadership until quite recently – something she says must change.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with a mixture of leaders, and what I can say is that in my experience, when the leader has been supportive of the L&D strategy, more gets done,” she said.
“A leader’s own demeanour and behaviour, coupled with their interest in L&D, is a great chemical reaction. If you can get those things working in a positive way, you’d be on top of the world from an L&D perspective.”
But this combination in a manager is often hard to come by, and persuading the others can be a difficult task.
Steve Hoskins, managing director of Stop At Nothing (SAN) Australia, says the main challenge for L&D professionals is getting leaders in their organisations – such as C-level, board, management team leaders – to see that the previously coined ‘soft-skills’ of the people that work with and for them are far more important that the ‘hard skills’ and on-the-job knowledge.
“People leave people, not companies. People are attracted to companies for what they represent, what they make…what they do…what they represent,” he told L&D Professional.
Hoskins pointed out that managers spend untold sums on attracting talent to their organisations and then once they are inside the company, it can be all too easy to just let the people ‘sort it out amongst themselves’ in regards to their aligned goals and happiness levels.
“We need leaders to truly open up to getting the collective employee base to be able to be themselves at work, encourage an environment of open and honest dialogue, have structured check-measures to ensure this is happening via skip-level meetings from the intern to the CEO,” Hoskins said.
“The work culture needs to embrace external programs that get everyone talking with each other, looking after each other and realising that whilst we need leadership and hierarchies to operate a functional business, we are all human beings.”
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