HR 2016 – Changes and Challenges

In the Speexx Exchange 2015-16 Survey, we spoke to 220+ HR and L&D professionals who told us what’s happening in their organisations right now with regard to e-learning, business communication, mobile learning, talent management systems, and Big Data.

Things are clearly moving ahead, with more and more managers reaching their goals, yet a number of barriers still need to be overcome for them to really thrive.

E-learning and E-enablement 

An impressive 81 per cent of survey respondents have now introduced some form of e-learning, with over half of them having established or embedded e-learning across their entire organisation and made it part of their corporate culture.

Yet at the same time, the large part of HR and L&D managers (43 per cent) plan to invest just 10-29 per cent of their training budget in e-enabled or blended learning programmes this year.

This finding was slightly alarming to me. Despite e-learning being more cost effective on the long run, a realistic proportion of the budget still needs to be invested to get started and find out what works best. Just 8 per cent plan to invest more than half of their L&D budget in e-learning.

We were also curious about the benefits of e-learning – does it really deliver what it promises? The top benefit registered is ‘Flexibility and accessibility’ (as it was in the past two years), cited by an overwhelming 46 per cent. Clearly, we shouldn’t underestimate the opportunities e-learning offers in terms of engaging learners in remote locations, delivering globally standardised content and supporting students who travel frequently. A further 20 per cent believe that e-learning increases “Student motivation and retention.”

This strongly resonates with point 5 of Bersin’s Key Predictions for talent management in 2016: Bersin believes that “engagement, retention and culture” in general will persist as top priorities in HR and L&D this year.

Big Data 

Moving on, Big Data was all the rage in the past 12 months. While it helps to follow and predict consumer trends across numerous industries, Big Data has been slow to gain a foothold in HR and L&D. Just 17 per cent of the Speexx Exchange Survey respondents currently use Big Data for talent management purposes, while an encouraging 39 per cent want to start using it in the next three years.

Yet the benefits of Big Data in this sector cannot be ignored: The Towards Maturity Benchmark Survey showed that the top performing organisations are three times more likely than the rest to use benchmarking data to improve performance.

Almost a quarter of respondents of the Speexx Exchange 2015-16 Survey said they would like to use Big Data for tracking learner progress and results, while a further 21 per cent were not sure how to use it at all. If Big Data is to work, HR and L&D Managers need to start gaining a thorough understanding of its opportunities and risks, and stay informed about current trends.

When asked what they thought was the main barrier to applying Big Data for HR and L&D purposes, organisations cited, “Lack of management support” (30 per cent) as the top issue, followed by (unsurprisingly)“Lack of know-how in collecting and using data” (25 per cent). This shows that both HR and management need to act swiftly and find out what Big Data can actually do for them and what is realistic in their case.

Looking ahead 

The role of HR and L&D is becoming more complex as HR increasingly aligns into delivering more tangible outcomes to meet business objectives.  There are perhaps four key threads driving HR initiatives forward.

First, the on-going challenge of finding and retaining the best talent (28 per cent), aligning training and development with business needs (26 per cent), second, using big data for HR and people analytics (16 per cent), and finally developing great leaders (12 per cent).

While not all goals can be reached at once, knowing what lies ahead, being realistic about what’s right for the business and staying up to date with trends and changes will keep organisations on the right track.

Read the full post via Training Journal.

A famous quote goes, “What if you invest in your employees and they leave?” “Well what if you don’t, and they stay?” Whatever happens, those of us who think ahead and encourage our teams to continue learning and growing will ultimately be the ones to attract retain a productive and motivated workforce.

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About the Author:

Armin is Founder and President of Speexx, the world’s leading online language learning and business communication skills training service. He writes and occasionally speaks about learning languages online and the secret of the Perfect Blend and global talent management, Speexx, e-learning and generally believes in the power of communication. Follow Armin on Twitter and LinkedIn.