Many forces and mega-trends are re-shaping the way L&D and talent development creates and delivers business value. Economic instability, technological advancements like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning and geopolitical changes have encouraged businesses to look beyond their traditional boundaries for opportunity and growth.

Innovation at the 4th edition of the ATD Middle East Conference continues in 2019 to help kick-start the L&D and HR transformation journey. Under the theme of Preparing Talent for the Future, the 2019 ATD Middle East Conference will take place on 14 – 15 April at the Ritz Carlton DIFC Hotel in Dubai. The 2019 conference will provide delegates with unrivalled opportunities to benchmark against global practices, engage with international keynote speakers, network with 500 L&D leaders, and discover practical takeaway tools that maximize their learning experience.

We will be announcing the 2019 agenda and stellar speaker line-up very soon, so make sure to visit the event website for the latest updates. You can also register your interest here.

We asked senior L&D and HR experts to share their insights on the latest trends shaping the future of talent development. Here’s what they had to say:

What are the latest 3 trends you are seeing in how organisations are developing and managing their talent?


  1. More and more organizations are moving towards leveraging and developing people’s strengths as part of their talent management mandate
  2. Providing an option to employees to choose what they want to work on is another trend that plays a key role in motivating and engaging talent
  3. Moving away from punishing for failure to do something or experimenting is another critical trend that organizations will have to evolve to if innovation and ideation is at the core of their being

Sandhya Nagee, Director Talent & Development MENA, Thomson Reuters

  1. Interest and participation in collaborative experiences (e.g. membership to councils, exchanges, cross-functional project teams) as a means to develop people and solve problems is on the rise.
  2. Talent sharing is a new norm. Organizations are accessing talent by partnering with universities, freelancers, and consulting firms, to get the work done that needs to get done without impeding on the organization’s ability to pivot when required. Agility is the name of the game.
  3. Designing for results is pervasive. Regardless of a person’s role in managing the talent pipeline, the ability to design experiences that engage talent while driving results is critical.

Dr. Patti Phillips, President & CEO, ROI Institute

  1. Expanding their learning architectures to support professional development needs. Offering a series of options to meet the needs of every learner; from physical libraries for the more conservative learners to video learning and gamification for millenniums. Building the capacity to support personalized learning.
  2. Utilizing talent analytics to make strategic decisions. What are the areas that people need the most support, what are the preferred means of development, what works well within the current set up, what do statistics tell us about the future and a series of other questions that talent professionals answer based on data.
  3. Targeting different skillset in recruiting to reduce talent development time. It is true that as the average life of a skill is reducing dramatically, companies have lowered the bar when it gets to technical skills and have turned their full attention to soft skills like adaptability, agility and so on.

Vlasios Vlastos, Head of Training, Dubai Airports

  1. Succession Planning at all levels – Identifying High Potentials and finding ways to motivate and retain them. Optimise their potential by unleashing their potential.
  2. Creating a Coaching/Mentoring Culture: All managers trained on Daily Coaching. Great way to manage performance on daily basis. Creates a culture of Learning, Nurturing, Open feedback and more importantly colleagues being empowered to find the best solution all by themselves.
  3. Leadership – Learning On the Go… – More emphasis for Leaders to Learn on the go. Quick 5 mins learning in form of reading, video, clip etc. Leaders expected to share this learning with others thereby adding to the learning culture.

Dinesh N. Chaudhari, Associate Director of L&D, Jumeirah Beach Hotel (Jumeirah Group)

  1. For GE, focusing more on impact and outcomes than hierarchal needs
  2. More development options across multiple delivery platforms easily accessible at a time of the learners choosing
  3. Much more focus on digital by which I mean learning about digital as well as learning in a digital way

Tim Highet, Regional Director at GE Crotonville Customer Leadership Learning, GE, UK

  1. Using more microlearning to engage the learner of the future. As I said earlier, people have less time than they did say, 10 years ago. So we are seeing organizations adapt to this reality and create small mircrolearning assets that are easy to consume when and where the learner needs it (really at the moment of apply). I like to think of this as the YouTube effect—folks learn how to do the craziest things on YouTube –and they want to see this kind of learning at work.
  2. Embracing blended learning. We see it every initiative now. Just having classroom training no longer meets the business needs. The learners of the future expect this and they want to have an element of gamification or coaching or online elements built into the program.
  3. Leaders as teachers. This might not seem like a new trend but it is not going away. Leaders need to be part of any major initiative. They have the knowledge and the vision and employees want to hear from them.

Elizabeth Hannah, Senior Manager in ATD Education, ATD, USA