The Learning and Development (L&D) community do not have the in-house capabilities to drive their ambitions of organisational changes, according to new research from the CIPD.

The professional body for HR and people development have today released a report L&D: Evolving roles, enhancing skills that shows that while 87 percent of L&D organisations think that business planning is a priority in their field, only 47 percent believe they have the skills to make this happen.

Ruth Stuart, research adviser at the CIPD, said:

“It’s very interesting how, as L&D professionals, we constantly champion the importance of staying ahead of the game in terms of skills and capabilities, but don’t take our own advice. In this volatile work environment we need to be agile, adaptive and ambidextrous to drive performance and stay relevant, aligning our work to the wider business.

“In order to do this, we need to ensure that the correct L&D resources, roles and capabilities are in place. Evaluating your team’s current skill base, starting to build on capability gaps, and then making continuous professional development (CPD) an everyday reality are the first steps. We’ve seen that although practitioners seem to understand the importance of alignment between L&D activity and organisational performance, many are struggling to achieve this in practice. A clear line of sight is therefore key, as is being clear on vision and purpose and ensuring all resources are deployed innovatively and effectively.”

The research was conducted with Towards Maturity, provider of the latest benchmark research on effective practices for modern learning approaches. Surveying 600 L&D professionals across 45 countries, it reveals that a large proportion of firms are not actively investing in their L&D capabilities. Over 50 percent of organisations surveyed said they are not planning on changing role focus towards instructional design, content development, technology, performance consulting and data analytics.

This also filters down to the L&D function itself – despite nine out of 10 L&D professionals looking to improve performance, productivity and sharing of good practice, only 53 percent agree that there are more options than just ‘the course’ for building skills and performance.

Laura Overton, Managing Director of Towards Maturity, said:

“It’s clear that L&D professionals have higher expectations than ever before, aligning themselves with wider business needs and accumulating more responsibility. However, this makes it imperative that we stop and reflect on our own L&D first if we are to adapt and evolve to the changing contexts of work, and the way we support individual and organisational performance.

“The challenge is how to focus our roles and shape our own professional development to make sure we are future-ready. We need to first identify all internal and external factors influencing L&D roles, and consider what’s driving change. We then need to self-reflect and assess whether there is a healthy mix of roles in the L&D function, before deciding which changes we need to make to drive performance in our individual organisations.”





Steff joined the HRreview editorial team in November 2014. A former event coordinator and manager, Steff has spent several years working in online journalism. She is a graduate of Middlessex University with a BA in Television Production and will complete a Master's degree in Journalism from the University of Westminster in the summer of 2015.