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The L&D Career Landscape in the Era of Digital Business: An Overview

There is a widespread wrong perception of an L&D role that likens the former’s role to  Human Resource or HR that has the consequence of limiting the scope of L&D. Recently, SpringPeople hosted a panel discussion with industry experts to address this topic. Let’s take a closer look at the insights that emerged from this discussion.

60% of organizations are India believe that L&D will definitely benefit them in longer-run, whereas 25% and 15% of them look at L&D as a must-do – the activity that is important for enabling better practices within the organization, which clearly implies that L&D experts have a long way to go.

L&D Function

Though Learning and Development (L&D) in an organization is a part of Human Resource (HR) Management, the role of L&D cannot be compared with the role of an HR. Human Resource or HR is all about recruiting people, coordinating with all teams across the organization, and helping to decide employees should be paid, rewarded, or retained. Whereas an L&D team, small but significant, plays a crucial role in training and development of the employees.

And this is validated by the results of a survey conducted by Grant Thornton in associated with IIM Kozhikode. Responses from several L&D industry leaders from top organizations indicated the significance of learning & development as a function is growing steadily and impacting business bottom line.

Contributions of the L&D Team

It is an L&D executive’s initiative which constantly helps employees to learn new skills and to be motivated & productive at work. The exponential advancement in technology, where any latest tech becomes obsolete within few months, has forced organizations to redesign their business models to sustain and flourish. It becomes imperative especially during such period to update, train and re-skill their workforce to cope up with the rapid changes.

Dasarathan Elumalai, Technology Learning Capability Lead, ANZ – “There are a lot of opportunities for L&D folks. The more and more new versions of technologies are released, the more is the opportunity for an L&D.”

L&D Career Opportunities in IT vs non-IT

Be it in any industry – “Learning is everywhere and is a constant process”. It is not the industry but the knowledgeable workforce which is a key to business success. IT or non-IT, L&D roles are in high demand amongst all. Almost all industries are invaded by IT in some form or the other. Nowadays most industries are techs like Fin-tech, Agro-tech, Pharma-tech, or Retail-tech.

L&D teams are there in Commercial firms, Healthcare, Manufacturing organizations, Education, Retail & Manufacturing companies, Law and financial firms, Training consultancies, Technology training providers, and Central and local government. L&D is critical for IT given its constant change, however, there is no denying that L&D is also equally needed in non-IT core industry.

Choosing an L&D career in IT or a non-IT should be purely based on one’s interest and aspirations. One must do a market analysis about the company, their employee strength, forecast the business demand, and analyze what type of knowledge will aid them and finally analyze whether or not you can do justice to the role offered – All these should ideally drive your choice irrespective of the company’s sector.

Indispensable Skills for an L&D Professional

Whether you are an Educator, Tech Learning Capability Lead, or an L&D manager, you are expected to have a ton of qualities for the training to be a success. Here are few important once which must be embraced to thrive as a successful training and development officer.

1. Knowledge of the Business

Deep and thorough knowledge of the products or services provided by the organization is a must when you are responsible to build an efficient and productive workforce. When you are completely aware of how a product is built, bought, delivered or to which set of customers the product is being consumed, you will be in a better position to analyze the type of skill sets your workforce requires.

  1. Assess Training Requirements

Awareness of your team’s training requirements is very critical for an L&D professional. It is critical to conduct a thorough training needs analysis before drawing a conclusion to determine the kind of training your employee needs. A Tech Lead or a Manager will only figure out the faltering productivity, which is only a symptom. An L&D Manager, on the other hand, should have knowledge of what sort of training the team needs – basic, intermediate, or advanced, classroom or instructor-led online training to fill the skill-gap.

  1. Passion for Continuous Learning

An Educator’s passion for continuous learning might not have a direct impact on the training participants, but this is an essential skill. To teach and motivate others you first need to be enthusiastic, which can be brought about by reading blogs, academic papers, attending seminars, and becoming an avid reader. This will also help you in staying updated with all the latest technologies, researchers and recent trends.

  1. Strong Communication Skills

When you are an educator or an instructor, you are not only a trainer but also a communicator. And communication is only effective when it reaches out to the right set of people at the right point of time. Along with knowledge and learning, one must have strong communication skills. Analysing the trainee’s problems, conducting training and conveying knowledge and thoughts – all these needs a proper knowledge dissemination through words. Afterall a good communicator becomes a good training manager.

  1. Be Efficient

Resources can be limited at any point in time. Tight training budget, no proper tools, no time, or money – all these can be constraints as its a corporate house after all. One need to utilize resources carefully and efficiently. Opt for cheaper but effective ways of learning.

Bottomline

To conclude, L&D Career is not as complex as it sounds. It’s rather challenging and interesting. Harshal Sawant, Head – L&D, Altran says, “L&D profession is very fulfilling for two reasons. Firstly the satisfaction of edifying people, and of training and guiding them towards a fruitful career. Secondly, the L&D profession exposes one to multiple fields and that definitely opens up a lot of opportunities.”

 

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Payel Bhowmick

The author is an analyst at SpringPeople & writes on emerging technology trends for IT professionals. Passionate about technology, her current area of focus is the digital revolution currently underway in the edu-tech industry. When not at work, Payel splits her time between writing, reading and watching sci-fi movies.
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