Striving to Be Better…the Importance of Learning & Development

Maria Suasti 07.10.2016

The modern day workplace is continuing to evolve and transform. Emerging technologies, the narrowing of the generation gaps entering the workforce, diverse working practices, multiple locations and the rapid pace of change is having an impact on the modern day professional.

There is a pressure to maintain performance levels and continue to keep up with this rate of change. This has been reflected in the HR landscape over recent years. We have seen an extension of the HR function with Learning & Development and Training Specialist roles becoming buoyant on the market. 

Not too long ago, workplace learning meant learning from the person next to you or attending one day workshops, possibly offsite. Rather than outsourcing training, organisations are now investing in their L&D and training functions, eliminating the disconnect often perceived with training days in the past. Common buzzwords flowing through modern day organisations’ are as follows….

  • Onboarding
  • Talent acquisition
  • Talent mapping
  • Talent retention
  • Management development programmes
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Mentoring
  • Continuous improvement
  • Succession planning


The list goes on. One common denominator that is central to each of these buzzwords is Learning & Development. For any organisation to successfully implement any of the above it is imperative they have a working environment receptive to learning. Effective L&D Specialists will be invested in tailoring the learning strategy of an organisation to optimise performance and increase productivity relative to the function of the team. 

I read an excellent report recently by Laura Overton and Dr. Genny Dixon in conjunction with CIPD “Preparing for the Future of Learning”. Their research informs leaders of L&D to consider alternative approaches to workplace learning and consider the skills required. Digital technologies allow workers to learn through the flow of work activity. Combining a blended approach to learning enables workers to prepare in advance, learn at a pace that is comfortable for them. The challenge for L&D Specialists is to place themselves at the heart of design and delivery phase. There is rarely a one size fits all model or approach, therefore L&D Specialists must be given the autonomy to be agile, adaptable and flexible by constantly observing, listening, reflecting, evaluating and re-evaluating their methods of design and delivery. To do this effectively the talented L&D Specialist will not just be tech savvy, they will also exhibit softer skills, have an interest in organisational psychology and see their role as enablers, empowers and facilitators. They will have the ability to pick up on social cues and place themselves in the mind-set and perspective of the learner which is quite difficult and challenging.

Recently I joined Morgan McKinley as a Consultant on their National HR desk. My learning experience thus far has been excellent. I am fortunate to work for an organisation that delivers a blended approach to their learning strategy in a learning friendly environment. The social learning techniques and cues I’ve acquired already have been very beneficial. Delivering an adaptable, blended approach to learning methods is a great way to map progression and coupled with a focus on induction and on boarding it can have positive results for talent retention within an organisation. 

To conclude, the advantages of a learning organisation in my opinion far outweigh the drawbacks. The initial investment will no doubt reap the rewards in the long run in terms of productivity, work output, positive energy and work life balance. Organisations are recognising the important role HR plays in the role of Learning and Development and this is reflective in the current market where seasoned HR professionals are now seeking opportunities to specialise in L&D. It does however require commitment from the top down as aligning the learning strategy with the corporate culture of the organisation is essential for success.

Do you specialise in L&D? Or are you a Training Specialist eager to hear about current opportunities? If the answer is yes, please get in touch. Alternatively if you’re keen to expand your L&D function within your organisation, I’m eager to hear from you. As a Consultant in Morgan McKinley we recruit nationally for all HR and recruitment roles, from junior through to senior roles. For further information you can contact me via my details below.

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