The future of L&D department debate continues


The EPIC Social Learning debate (which I spoke about yesterday) continues.  Today I am posting another contribution in favour of the motion.  This one comes from Nic Laycock:

“First, social learning is not a fad, it is not something new and it is not something that since the evolution of humankind has ever had a date on it. It is a fundamental part of our humanity. As humans we learn by interaction – that is social learning – nothing more nothing less.

Secondly, the motion is not about the end, death-knell, diminution of an L&D function. In supporting the motion I strongly back Jane Hart’s explanation. The motion is not about Training departments per se diminishing as a result of social learning. Rather it is about the fact that the traditional training department has run its course – with the opportunity now to powerfully transform itself, if it will, into a true business added value function by leveraging new technologies to become a key business partner.

It is self-evident that Financial Directors, who are not for the most part fools, respond to strategic business decisions to cut costs by looking for savings from areas that line managers do not believe add value to their businesses. I have been personally involved from both sides in enough Overhead Value Added studies over 20 years to know that training gets cuts when managers cannot relate any benefit to the expended effort and expenditure. That is why “Training” budgets get cut.

It is only when added value is seen that budgets are maintained or even increased as the business challenges mount. The fact that the traditional Training function has chosen to stick stubbornly to outdated teaching methods (often hiding behind dressing them up in fancy clothes and calling them e-learning of the worst kind) is the cause of its dramatic decline. Their cost benefit is not seen – and in many cases there is no perceived benefit at all – a total mismatch between what the Training function believes it is doing and what management sees is being delivered

Recognising that traditional training, whether face to face or enhanced by the wonderful range of new tools, is only a constituent part of the learning spectrum – albeit one that enhances what can be done purely by social interaction for certain aspects – provides a way back for L&D to where it should be – at the centre of business strategy and performance improvement. If L&D cannot recognise that, then in the end it deserves what will surely happen to it – oblivion. It will be replaced by something else – which will be a ubiquitous, community driven culture of sharing and self-driven learning which is now developing strongly throughout society and in which “training ” will have to find a new place to stand. What is that called? Social learning expressed in the business environment!

Right now, there is the opportunity to take a lead and help the transformation – but not with blinkered and denial ridden attitudes.

If you believe that L&D has a future as an important function in organisations then you only have one choice – support the motion!”

Nic’s career was with ICI where he began as a Site Training Officer, then as a functional Training Manager for the science research part of the business and ended up as International Training Manager – running training and management development from a performance enhancement basis for 2,000 staff in 76 countries – at which time he won the UK National Training Award. He then worked in Consultancy as Organisation Behaviour Director (global) with a productivity improvement practice focused on efficiency programmes – which were based on Overhead Value Analysis – hence the ability to comment on why training gets cut.  He now runs  Amos Laycock Consulting working with large companies to encourage transformation through people skills.  Nic blogs at Nic’s Discoveries and Nic’s Insights: Communities at Work

If you would like me to post your contribution in favour of the motion, please let me know: 

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