Four Key L&D Observations from 2017

By March 19, 2018March 21st, 2018No Comments

Four Key L&D Observations from 2017

Working with a diverse range of clients over the past 12 months, we’ve gained important insights into their expectations about the future of learning and development. 2017 was a pivotal year for the Learning & Development industry, with fresh, modern approaches to L&D becoming essential.

Observation 1.
Employers are not just focused on the short-term performance of a team member but the long-term results of the business. More than ever before, this strategic approach is central to the projects we work on with clients. We look at the current behaviours and habits of teams and work out a creative and engaging approach to increase performance, productivity and profitability. We take time to look at each person holistically and then strategise how we will move each person up or in some cases out.

Observation 2.
It’s no longer about a workshop’s bells and whistles, gamification, and online whizz-bang learning. Employers are focused on what will get tangible results, results that can be seen on the bottom line. In some cases, this has meant stripping back, simplifying and streamlining the L&D strategies we use with clients. We have rolled back the production of high-end eLearning and instead, with one client, shot some simple, almost amateur videos. These, coupled with a leadership team who actively coach the lessons in the video, made for a winning formula.

Observation 3.
In this fast-paced working world, L&D is all about iterations and agile working. Partnering with employers and being prepared to get in the trenches with them is gold. Once upon a time, you wouldn’t send anything to a client until it was ‘ready’ or ‘perfect’. Now, we discover together, review early samples, and talk frankly about if it will work or not. We’re not just a ‘yes’ supplier, we like healthy debate to make sure what we’re designing will lead to tangible results. This can sometimes feel like more work, but we save time on the old, bureaucratic style of project management. This means we can invest this time in solution-finding, bringing us closer to the result a client is looking for.

Observation 4.
There’s so much about what we’ve been doing as an industry that’s at risk of disappearing. Everything from the 8-hour workshop (I mean what mind-blowing content are participants really taking in come 4pm?), to workbooks of thousands of words, to Learning Management Systems that don’t work ‘on the go’. What is gaining traction is the emphasis on the role of the Leader in an employee’s learning. A leader needs to commit him or herself to the team’s development without question. A leader can’t palm off development as ‘someone else problem’. It’s about joint accountability to get performance and therefore results.

The future of L&D going into 2020 is truly exciting with old systems falling away and new, fast and economical approaches becoming the norm. If you’ve got some insights to share about L&D come 2020 (yes, it’s not the far away!), please leave a comment or drop us a line.

Ben Roulston – THINKA Co-founder, Growth

As follow-up, participants apply what they learn and leaders coach using the coaching cards provided, offering feedback to improve both team and individual performances. In due course, participants discuss what has changed, improvements or continued ‘roadblocks’ with their leader.

Follow up

(period defined by the business, with reflection and discussion)

A 5-hour workshop where we look at how leaders can work with teams on motivating, coaching and setting standards in effective ways.


Participants see how important communication and collaboration is when getting results. They learn how to work with each other to build positive store culture and design effective systems and processes.

Workshop 3

(5 hours, face to face)

As part of pre-work, each participant completes a survey that highlights what aspects of customer experience they’re comfortable with and what needs work. This influences the design of the program and its priority areas.


(30 minutes, online)

A 5-hour workshop where we work through the fundamentals of an outstanding customer experience from end-to-end.


Participants learn more about their ‘ideal customers’ and the typical journeys they go through, and how to design experiences that work for these customers.

Workshop 1

(5 hours, face to face)

A 5-hour workshop where we align the values, behaviours and actions required for an outstanding customer experience.


Participants see how to embed the values and behaviours of their business in practical ways – to improve customer interactions and promote long-term loyalty.

Workshop 2

(5 hours, face to face)

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