The L&D skills of the future may not be what you think 

Professional speaker and consultant Ian Rheeder explains why organisations may need to rethink their approach to learning and development.

In Deloitte’s 2018 Human Capital report titled The Rise of the Social Enterprise, it is clear that the most important skills of the future are the human skills; namely, sales, service and leadership, which are named some of the most pressing human skills required of the future business ‘ecosystems’. The same report identified the most pressing human capital issue for 2018 as getting the C-suite to work as a team.

That is why learning and development (L&D) needs to place more emphasis on leadership training to develop an agile, team-based ecosystem. The Deloitte message is clear: L&D must get the entire leadership working as one.

Furthermore, organisations have to invest more in training their employees to prepare them for the future world of work. Many studies have shown that training is one of the top drivers of employee engagement, which is something that organisations cannot afford to do without. Gallup’s 2013 State of The Global Workplace Report states that the global economy will grow by US$140 trillion in 30 years and that companies that do not improve employee engagement will face 'unrest and revolution’. This means that companies of the future must embrace “the rise of social capital and look after their employees." 

The Deloitte report states that “building a 21st Century Career” was a top-3 priority for employees, as respondents valued new roles and experiences that allowed them to continually reinvent themselves as opposed to a ‘steady progression along a job-based pathway'. In other words, the opportunity to acquire new skills is what employees find appealing when it comes to learning and development. That said, the same report notes that 50 percent of all the respondents did not have a learning programme to build their skills, which means L&D departments are falling behind.

Reads the report:

“A mere 12% of South African respondents state that their organisation gives employees exposure to high-performing peers, offers internal coaching, or provides mentoring and the facilitation of external coaches/mentors in career development programmes. It is clear that most organisations still focus on a traditional talent sourcing structure. Only 31 % of respondents feel that their organisation is effective in empowering them to manage their career.”

Thank goodness companies are starting to realise that AI should not replace humans, but rather complement them. AI for example can assist leadership training, but should not replace personal coaching and mentoring. In the coming year, organisations need to rethink their approach to L&D and view it is an opportunity to not only attract and retain talent, but also in an effort to contribute to socially responsible approaches to the future of work.

Ian Rheeder is the founder of Markitects, a sales and negotiation skills trainer, as well as a consultant, speaker and facilitator.