Learning And Development Professionals – My Biggest Pain Points

Learning and Development Professionals : My Biggest Pain Points

Top Learning and Development professionals around the world discuss their biggest challenges. What themes can you pull from these comments? We’re still calling for more submissions, so send yours in now.

In the August 2015 issue of Accelerate Magazine, we asked five senior Learning and Development leaders, to share with us, their biggest challenges yet. We learnt about some of those issues :-

  • legacy, for one, was about the fact that corporate L&D can still be very much tied to the tried and tested ways of doing things;
  • there’s a difficulty in striking a balance between the conflicting priorities of what is needed versus what can be supported through capability development;
  • the impact of new ways of learning and how open organisations are to moving with these trends and finding out what works best for their own people…

We want to continue this discussion and call all learning and development professionals out there, to step forward and share with us, their biggest challenges right now. Here are some contributions we’ve received so far.


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Annika Anand

Annika Anand

I firmly believe that the only difference between companies lies in their people and that every company is as strong as its Training team. My primary pain point is when companies lose sight of the importance and value of training to the individual. Yes, training is meant to drive business performance, but training is also a key factor of engagement. Without engagement and stickiness, people leave, taking their expertise with them and reducing team morale – this definitely has a negative impact on business performance.

Training Need Identification has to be three-pronged and should include :

  • where the business wants to go;
  • gaps in performance versus objectives; and
  • how the individuals want to grow within the organisation.

When all three issues are addressed, the Learning & Development team is well on its way to creating a responsive learning organisation.

Annika Anand is an L&D professional who has worked both in consulting and as part of the broader HR team, across multiple industries and countries. She has worked on organisational restructuring, training strategy and training lifecycle and performance management. Most recently, she has leveraged her project management skills to successfully launch the blended learning option in her current organisation.


Roger Brooks

Roger Brooks

Become the shiny object that people pay attention to!

Today’s business climate inundates business professionals with training, education and information. As learning professionals, discovering innovative ways in which to engage learners is the challenge of the day.

In many cases, there’s so much information out there that it’s created noise; neither good nor bad, just noise.

Multiple forms of media are everywhere and if your team isn’t investing time, energy and resources in publishing content that is fresh, edgy and informative, it likely won’t be consumed.

In many cases, there’s so much information out there that it’s created noise; neither good nor bad, just noise. I challenge my team to ask ourselves “is the content we develop different, fresh and edgy enough so learners WANT to engage, not just be forced to engage?”

It creates a whole different experience when learners crave what you produce. This new digital age has created competition for us all in L&D and Communications which is healthy but challenging nonetheless. I say become the shiny object that your learners pay attention to. It’s what drives your team’s value across the organisation and it’s become what is expected.

L&D professionals, I suggest you partner with your marketing teams to build a marketing plan aimed at your target audience- your learners. There are simple, easy to follow marketing rules that help you engage and PULL audiences into content vs. pushing it down. That’s the real difference and the real value.

Create the want, create the crave and keep on shining to rise above the noise!

Roger Brooks is the Chief Operating Officer at Girl Power 2 Cure, Inc . He was formerly the Executive Director of Training & Communications for Safeguard, a leading manufacturer and distributor of business products and services designed to help small to medium-sized business owners run and grow their business. Roger’s 13+ year career in learning & development has spanned across such industries as retail, restaurants and franchising. Additionally, Roger serves as the Board Chairman for Girl Power 2 Cure, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organisation whose mission is to make Rett Syndrome the first curable neurological disorder. His motivation is his daughter Juliana. Girl Power 2 Cure, Inc. strives to make a difference one girl at a time and works to support the more than 500,000 girls and women currently suffering from Rett Syndrome.



Sameera Bhalla

Sameera Bhalla

My primary pain point is when the Learning and Development goals are not aligned with the HR strategic goals. The objective of Learning and Development should be to allow employees to think for themselves, come up with their own solutions and answers, rather than us giving it to them in the form of full content.

Sameera Bhalla is an HR professional with proven experience managing multi-skill teams worldwide in various HR functions including planning, job descriptions, recruitment, orientation, training & development, employee relations and performance appraisals. Currently, Sameera is an Instructor, Coordinator, Major Program Review, Conestoga College, Ontario, Canada.

Nadia Vinegas

Nadia Vinegas

It’s already the 21st century. Knowledge and learning is not limited to the classroom only. There are many methodologies already available that companies can adopt including self-directed learning which is effectively about making learning available where and when the employee needs it. Many corporate leaders perceive training purely in terms of the cost factor, forgetting the long term effects that a strong L&D team can bring to support the business, thereby keeping it relevant and competitive in this rapidly changing world.

Nadia Vinegas is a learning and development specialist at WPP, who undertakes the design and implementation of their training programmes in collaboration with business stakeholders and subject matter experts. She has designed and authored customised learning solutions including user guides, job aids and quick reference cards using adult learning.  Armed with more than eight years experience, at multinational companies including Johnson & Johnson and IBM, Nadia has worked extensively in a regional/global capacity with a proven track record in designing and managing L&D programmes and initiatives.

Content in itself is not the end goal – the aim is for training to allow people to gain awareness about new ideas and be open to embracing them, understanding the ramifications of these ideas, how things work and what sort of issues they may face. – Sam Aduke

Sam Aduke

Sam Aduke

My biggest L&D pain point is HR or training managers who organise training for their teams in order to tick off boxes on their KPI list. Typically, they squeeze in as much content as possible into either one or two day courses with what appears to be uncaring consultants. I don’t think this approach works. Content in itself is not the end goal – the aim is for training to allow people to gain awareness about new ideas and be open to embracing them, understanding the ramifications of these ideas, how things work and what sort of issues they may face. If delivery of the right content in itself works, training would achieve far better results than most perceive. The reality is that the application of these ideas in the workplace is just as important. We need to be far more concerned with the net results of the initiatives we bring to bear.

Sam Aduke is an Agency Training and Development Manager at UAP Life, an insurance and financial services company in East Africa. Sam oversees the design, development and administration of learning modules and online certification programmes. Armed with a Postgraduate Diploman in Computer Science, Sam also oversees the induction and onboarding of sales managers and financial advisers.

Mohammad AlHariri

Mohammad AlHariri

Few companies truly understand the value of HR in an organisation. For some, HR remains ambiguous and may be perceived as being a cost centre (as opposed to a profit centre), an organiser of social acvitities, an administrator or a watchdog. Some consider it as apart from the other business functions and don’t consider it the driving force behind a winning team and the bridge between a company and its people.

My primary pain points today relate to strategic transformation, employee value proposition,
equity and credibility.  My main areas of focus are learning and development, talent retention, reward and benefits for high performers, high calibre talent recruitment and performance management. There is nothing more satisfactory than equipping, exciting, motivating, involving and moulding willing employees for future roles and opening the doors that can help them step forward.

Based in Qatar, Mohammad Alhariri is a Human Resource and Trainer leader with Aramex International, which is in the logistics and supply chain business. A dedicated and responsible coach and team player, Mohamad rose from the ranks and possesses ten years’ relevant HR experience in both Dubai and Qatar.


Call for more submissions

If you are an L&D professional, feel free to submit your comments to this question :
What is your biggest pain point in L&D right now?

1. Comment length can be between 300 – 650 words;
2. Enclose a short bio and high resolution photo (jpeg format) of yourself;
3. Submit your comments via email to editor@verticaldistinct.com.
Please note that all comments are subject to editorial discretion and may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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