Five Learning And Development Professionals Share Their Top Pain Points

Five Learning and Development Professionals Share their Top Pain Points

Some of L&D’s biggest issues include legacy, consistency and innovation

We wanted to reach out to top learning and development (L&D) professionals in varying industries and hear first-hand, about the kind of issues they are facing right now. We know that Learning and development, much like any other role, has a few sizeable challenges to work through, from the need to deal with change effectively, to being able to serve an increasingly global and geographically-dispersed and diverse population and to getting buy-in to learning from business leaders.

In reaching out to these five L&D personalities, we see that these challenges include :

  • corporate L&D still seems tied to the old ways of doing things;
  • the challenge lies in balancing the conflicting priorities of what’s needed with how this can be supported through capability development;
  • professional visibility and relevance;
  • achieving consistency; and
  • coming up with new ways of learning.

Here’s what they had to say.


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David James

David James

I was a speaker at Training Journal’s 50th Anniversary Conference very recently and there were some key themes coming out from that day around modernising L&D – and how far away we currently are.

I’m now working with an innovative new online learning company, Looop.co, and it took me seeing this ‘new world’ of learning to recognise how outdated many of our L&D practices are.

This new world is one of different – and more sophisticated – learner expectations coming from their empowerment and access to knowledge and learning online, outside of the corporate infrastructure. L&D now needs to pay attention. In the words of Andy Lancaster, Head of L&D at the CIPD – the workplace is changing fast and L&D must evolve.

Corporate L&D seems hamstrung by the old-world. This is in spite of the forgetting curve and low engagement with traditional e-learning. Employees are more used to pulling the information and know-how they need – at their moments of need from Google and YouTube.

At Looop, we’re working with more and more businesses that are waking up to this and seeing the opportunity to engage top performers in creating resources – helping to promote excellence – and sharing expertise whilst developing their people by capitalising on existing habits, motivations and preferences – that are so successful outside of work.

What is important is that L&D recognises the power of providing resources in a format that can capitalise on the appetite of employees to serve themselves at their moments of need and apply – and to influence performance there.

These modern learning habits of searching and finding knowledge and know-how for immediate application, aren’t a fad and aren’t cheapening the learning experience. They are helping to empower individuals to perform to a new level. It almost doesn’t matter whether it’s learnt or just known – for a great deal of the time. What is important is that L&D recognises the power of providing resources in a format that can capitalise on the appetite of employees to serve themselves at their moments of need and apply – and to influence performance there.

David James was Director of Talent Management, Learning & OD for The Walt Disney Company EMEA, where he worked for eight years at Disney’s European HQ. He recently joined Looop.co, and now sees the opportunity to engage learners in how they want to be engaged with online learning – rather than E-learning.

Petra Kulynycz

Petra Kulynycz

In terms of our current focus, within the People and Development department, our strategy this year has been to improve retention, particularly at a junior chef level.

It’s no secret that our industry has been suffering over the past few years from a lack of well trained, dedicated chefs.As our brand continually expands, we find it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain great chefs and so our focus has changed to ‘growing our own’.

This has meant building robust training programmes at all levels to ensure that we can train chefs coming in with little experience, as well as developing those already with us that want a career within the group.

We’ve also invested a lot into reward and recognition to ensure our superstars feel valued. We’ve only had a dedicated L&D department for two years but have been opening restaurants since 2008 – so there’s been a certain amount of catching up to do. We’re lucky that our restaurants have always had a great culture of learning, but ensuring consistency through the implementation of company programmes has been a challenge…[more]

Petra Kulynycz leads the Learning and Development team for the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group to ensure they offer innovative and inspiring opportunities for all staff to learn and grow. Petra oversees the Jamie Oliver Training Academy ensuring all new managers, senior chefs and head office staff are effectively on-boarded and also manages their leadership development programmes across the estate.

Written by Laurence Karal.

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Accelerate Aug 2015 IssueAs featured in the August 2015 issue of Accelerate Magazine. This article is locked for further viewing. Please consider subscribing to Accelerate to view this and many more great articles. You can choose to purchase an annual subscription or just a single issue. 

Photo above from left to right : Kate Stranks, Group Learning and Development Manager at Bristan Group Limited; Betsy Urdaneta, Expert Learning and Development Consultant, advisor and coach; David James, Director of Talent/Learning and OD, Looop.co; Richard Heaton, Learning & Development, Organisational Development and Talent professional; and Petra Kulynycz, Head of Learning and Development at the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group (Petra’s photo by Carla Costelini). All photos courtesy contributors.

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