The Future of Learning and Careers

By Josh Bersin, Founder and Principal, Bersin by Deloitte

A cursory look at the current and emerging HR pratices would undoubtedly reveal that organizations have undergone a radical transformation over the years. Business structures, operating models, and the nature of workforce have dramatically changed. Further, with increasing automation and the need for productivity, businesses are well-poised to adopt these changes and streamline their business models.

The new construct of “careers”

Stability in careers is passé and the concept of a “Lifetime Career” spanning over 30 years is a thing of the past. All elements of careers have undergone disruption – expertise, duration, and rewards.

Employees (particularly millennials) feel the need to “keep up”, organizations are having a difficult time meeting this demand. In fact, the 2017 Global Human Capital Trends Report has rated Learning & Development as the second-biggest issue among business and HR leaders primarily due to jobs getting hybridized and therefore requiring multiple skills. Furthermore, millennials consider learning opportunities and challenging work experiences as the number 1 driver of a “good job” even ahead of compensation. Against backdrop, it is imperative that organizations adopt career strategies to build more forward-looking career models that encourage continuous learning, improve individual mobility, and foster a growth mindset in employees. The sad reality however is that the L&D function is unable to keep up with the pace of change. Deloitte research shows that employees rate their L&D departments a dismal -8 in net promoter score, lower than almost any product in consumer landscape.

Solution: Evolve, invest and pivot the L&D Function

To meet the growing demand for knowledge, organizations should consider focusing on four key areas. First, L&D should work hand in hand with business to build a learning strategy that delivers on the business promise. For example, a leading Indian MNC has started using an LMS platform that is powered by artificial intelligence thus enabling employees to access business specific learning content that is most relevant to their roles.

Second, invest heavily in the L&D function (technology, people and governance). For example, a large Indian conglomerate is currently in the process of over-hauling their in-house learning university to deliver business aligned curriculum. Third, focus on creating a world class employee experience both within classrooms and in the virtual world. A leading public sector bank has integrated Mobile Learning Apps along with their classroom sessions to create an “always-on” learner experience. Finally, go beyond “creating” to “curating” content. Given limited budgets combined with the access of world class online courses from websites such as Udemy, Coursera, etc. it may actually be more cost effective to curate higher quality content at significantly lesser cost.

At Deloitte, we have identified leading practices that organizations can consider inculcating in their L&D DNA. These include, creating a culture of learning by rewarding managers for developing their people; re-engineering PMS to focus on development and rewarding internal hiring; creating career paths and self assessment tools; designing curriculum that focuses on building hybrid skills; and leveraging next generation learning technologies with a focus on learner experience.


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