How L&D can have a voice in the organisation

I’ve just been reading through the LPI’s 2024 Learning Survey and there’s some good stuff in there. Such as the finding that just over half (53%) of L&D managers believe their learning strategy is mostly ineffective. That’s pretty damning. What’s to blame? Several things most likely, but the LPI thinks organisational culture is probably an issue.

Moving on to the question: ‘Has L&D really got a voice or is it still seen as a cost centre?’ Less than 20% (it’s hard to be exact from the graph, but I reckon it’s about 17.5%) say yes, they have a voice. That leaves just over 45% saying they ‘mostly have a voice although some see them as a cost-centre’ and 32% saying they are mostly seen as a cost centre. Again, not great.

In terms of skills that L&D managers think their team needs, AI tops the list, not surprisingly. Next was marketing and comms, which is interesting for us at Insights Media because we provide marketing and comms services (internal and external) for learning teams and leaders. Hello!

L&D has been aware for a long time that it needs to get better at marketing what it does in order to raise its profile and reputation, but is it making progress? A lot of the managers and team leaders surveyed said they could do better at marketing the L&D department and why it exists, at marketing development opportunities and aspirations for employees, and marketing the effectiveness of organisational learning.

One of the best ways that L&D can address the marketing challenge is by creating case studies – demonstrate what you do, how it works and why it works. Let stories speak for themselves.

Personalisation of learning is another area that needs L&D’s attention, according to this report. It’s something that gets talked about all the time and an area where AI shows huge promise, yet 72% of L&D managers say their attempts to personalise learning are not going well. A lot of content is still generic. Another area of concern is some of the terms being used – 42% of leaders and 48% of team members think learning styles are still relevant, even though the whole concept has been completely debunked. Kirkpatrick is another surprising item on the list of terms being used.

AI obviously features heavily in the report, but not in L&D departments it would appear – learning is definitely not leading the way with AI, with many only using AI occasionally and 30% never using AI tools. And 46% of learning leaders don’t know what an AI copilot is, rising to 62% among team members. I was pretty gobsmacked by those findings – that’s a lot of people who haven’t heard of the gen AI tool who really should have.

Time to wake up and start experimenting. It’s really not hard to have a go at using AI and the technology is going to have a huge impact on the function and its relevance, so there’s no excuse for the delay. Particularly if you consider that 23% of leaders would probably replace their entire L&D team with AI once they’d seen it action, with almost 5% saying yes, definitely.

This reminds me of a line from an IBM report produced last year: ‘AI won’t replace people – but people who use AI will replace people who don’t’.

Picture Credit: Yan Krukau

Roisin Woolnough, head of content, Insights Media