Raed Haddad, Managing Director at ESI, discusses in a short interview with Informa Middle East, the key aspects of measuring learning and development, its challenges and current market trends.

What are some of the latest learning and development trends?

The most important trend that comes to mind is the focus on measurement. Several years back, companies were willing to buy hope by investing in people and hoping that everything is going to be great. Nowadays, the focus is more on measurement rather than hope. It is very critical to bring in the various data points that show the value of the investment in training to the company’s senior management, putting a lot more pressure on Learning and Development than ever before. Measurement is one of the trends that I think is paramount in Learning and Development today.

Another trend is that Learning and Development is now more linked to the business strategy. However, it still needs to be more aligned because talent management as a subject is about strategic conversation such as how to retain, attract, and develop talent, ensuring specific standards. This approach is probably as close to strategy as it had ever been before, though it has always been talked about. This is an area in Learning and Development where talent management is absolutely critical from onboarding to exit interviews.

What are some of the current themes in the field right now?

I would say that one of the hot topics right now is investment in the right leadership, both in terms of HR professionals (not the administrative part of HR as we used to know it) and the visionaries that can help a company develop their talent. It is very important to understand that measurement is a key part of selecting and retaining such talent.

Another theme is the focus on what will be needed in the next several years, especially when you consider that there is a retiring workforce that will be leaving the company; the replacement of those roles is going to be really critical. The companies that are going to implement this the right way are going to have an advantage while the ones that will not get it right will probably have less of an advantage.

What are some of the challenges?

The main challenge is the staged approached where the initial focus is on consistency which evolves into the stage of efficiency and eventually to the final stage with emphasis on the overall business value. Through this journey, it is critical to have in mind the ageing talent that is soon to retire as well as the new blood that is entering the workforce in order to have a balanced formula that works for both parties.

What is the current status of learning and development in the region?

I am happy to see that the focus on nationalisation programmes in the GCC is finally taking momentum. I believe that the role of Learning and Development is absolutely critical to support this trend.

Indeed, Learning and Development in the region has changed tremendously positively over the course of the past several years as companies now are more interested in investing in their employees. This indicates that those companies see the benefits of developing the future leaders, building the right foundation that is critical to the next 10 to 15 years down the road.

The above article is an excerpt from the HR Guide 2015 created by Informa and the HR Observer. This HR Guide is an extensive research highlighting 8 priority areas that you will need to focus on in 2015 to ensure the success of your organisation.



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