3 Things We Learned at HCI’s Learning and Leadership Development Conference 2015

We just got back from a few days in Chicago with a brilliant group of Learning, Talent, Organizational and Leadership Development folks at Human Capital Institute‘s annual Learning and Leadership Development Conference and we learned a lot! We had the opportunity to hear from great companies like Williams-Sonoma, T-Mobile, Fidelity, Xerox, Allstate and Pinkberry about the solutions to engaging employees in today’s volatile and shifting business landscape. These speakers shared great strategies and stories about how to maintain a competitive advantage through developing healthy and forward thinking learning cultures.


Here are 3 things we learned this year at HCI’s Learning and Leadership Development Conference:


1.We can no longer rely on “best practices – we need next practices!

There is no denying that the world we live in today is characterized by disruption and we learned that the only way to keep up with change is to change yourself. The need to shift mindsets was an ongoing theme throughout the conference. Ben Bratt VP, Talent & Org Capability at T-Mobile shared a quote from T-Mobile’s rebel CEO, John Legere who put it this way, “To transform the industry, we will have to force it to change.. and the only way to do that is by transforming ourselves in every respect. This means HR departments need to step up to the plate and re-think talent solutions. The future of work will require us to take an entirely new direction to the traditional way of doing things. The following 3 questions might start an interesting dialogue for your organization to approach re-charging your People Departments:


  1. If we knew we couldn’t fail, which legacy pieces of HR would we transform?
  2. If we had to rebuild HR from a clean sheet of paper, what ideas or first principles would we use as our starting point?
  3. What would we like the word “HR to mean in our organization? What’s our future brand?


2. Employees (not employers) are now in the driver’s seat of their learning and development.

Workers are now driving the majority of their learning goals, and we are seeing more and more employees designing their own development plans. With the increase in Millennials, “jobs for life have shifted to “a career for me. The idea of a career is viewed more from a personal standpoint and seen as an individual’s journey to deepen and broaden their skill set. Which means, organizations need to provide development opportunities for employees to manage their own future.


Employees are asking for development opportunities to grow their careers – people want learning! However, they want learning to be developed around their needs. This means shifting from traditional and formal learning to self-directed and micro learning. Learning should empower their future success, it should be easily accessible and should be self directed to allow learners to grow in the competencies they desire.


3. There is a shift from hunting talent to farming talent.

There is an emerging scarcity of talent for skilled roles. Organizations are realizing the high costs of relocating and importing the talent needed to fill skilled job roles. Instead of hunting to acquire new talent, organizations are shifting to growing and developing talent in their communities. This means that hiring teams need to look for “learn it all’s not “know it all’s.


To keep up with today’s VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment, we need to revamp the way we do things. We learned that success comes from experimenting with talent in completely new ways. Try out turning your learning and leadership development programs on their heads and see what happens – we dare you!


We’d love to hear your thoughts on the future of work. Tell us what you learned at HCI and what you are doing differently to implement new practices in your organization.

Mitchelle Boyle

Digital Marketing Specialist at Learnkit
Learnkit works with industry leading businesses and top academic institutions to create innovative custom elearning that delivers measurable, real world results
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