+Scott Watson

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Corporate learning and development priorities 2011

Investment in HR as a discipline has fallen dramatically in comparison with last year but investment in people development as whole remains a top priority according to Corporate Learning Priorities Survey 2011 from the Henley Business School. Talent retention and managing change are the other two top priorities.

While developing the HR team is not seen as a priority, 74% of respondents said that developing people to achieve growth and competitive advantage is paramount (up from 69% in 2010). Retention of talent is the second highest priority for development activity with 73% identifying it as crucial, a rise from 63% last year, and concern about managing change, reflecting a continuing volatile economy, came third with 64% naming it as a learning objective, compared with 60% in 2010.

The survey, of 2,500 HR and non-HR senior managers from private and public sector organisations employing in excess of 500 people, captures a snapshot of learning and development priorities at a time when public sector organisations are implementing severe cuts and the private sector is facing increased competition and having to do 'more with less'.

Despite the apparently positive attitude towards development as a whole for next year, there seems little appetite to focus on HR capability with the development of HR teams plummeting in the priority list from 34% in 2010 to just 3% in this year’s survey. HR and non-HR respondents also have a very different view on Learning and Development spending this year with 24% of respondents in HR roles saying they will spend more in 2011 as against 32% of those in non-HR roles.

Nick Kemsley, the co-director at Henley's Centre for HR Excellence, believes that while focus on HR capability may have become a victim of the times it is vital that HR continues to develop and transform in 2011. He believes HR functions have to address gaps in their content, structure, process, system and skills to ensure they are meeting the needs of organisations - or risk being side-lined. He says: ‘This change must happen quickly. HR will need to live the values of the post-downturn world – speed, pragmatism, tangibility, impact – in its own evolution, or else risk being left isolated in a business world which has to get on with things with or without its help. If HR can pull this transformation off, then the kind of work which happens within the function will be genuinely business-critical and offer both enormous opportunity and challenge for those who want to, and are able to, work like this. HR would be a place where a connection with business strategy and performance was immediate and tangible’.

Other key findings of the research include:

Attracting new talent - 64% said this was important, compared to 52% in 2010
The development of middle managers remains significant with 43% naming this as a first or second priority

Just over a third (35%) of respondents place developing senior managers in first or second place, while 31% identify developing the management skills of new leaders
The overwhelming majority of respondents will be doing more, rather than less, learning and development activity in 2011 – specifically many will be ‘doing it for themselves’ with 62% of respondents saying they would be doing more informal knowledge sharing between peers and 59% more mentoring between peers in 2011 than in 2010

Article published on this blog and 'Britain's Got HR Talent' Linkedin group with kind permission of Craig Gordon, www.HRBullets.co.uk

No comments:

Post a Comment