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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
World of Learning Conference, Birmingham, UK, September 28 and 29, 2010
Article Type: Resources From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 10, Issue 2
The two conference halls at the two-day World of Learning Conference at the NEC, Birmingham were full with delegates listening to leading learning and development (L&D) experts from major organizations presenting a comprehensive program including case studies that tackled the key industry issues today.
Chaired by BBC TV presenter Nicholas Owen, the sessions opened with keynote speaker Ruth Spellman, CEO of the UK’s Chartered Management Institute (CMI). Addressing a packed audience, she outlined what businesses need to thrive and how L&D can contribute towards the future of their organizations.
Gaining management buy-in
After summarizing the impact of the current economic climate on industry in the form of job losses, headcount freezes and pay cuts, Spellman then outlined “the new world of business,” where the speed of change is accelerating and where managers should be ready to deal with these changes and seize opportunities. She said: “L&D professionals have to re-invent the way they operate, looking at new solutions that will serve the business better in the mid to long-term. They need to keep pace with an ever-evolving labor scenario, while driving the agenda upward to ensure boardroom buy-in.”
This management buy-in is more crucial than ever. She observed, with concern, that: “CMI research shows that only 51 percent of boards currently accept responsibility for L&D, which puts a greater emphasis on our industry to raise awareness of the outcomes that poor investment will reap.”
She also stressed that attention needs to be paid to morale and ensuring staff retain a sense of focus. Spellman explained: “The challenge for those in the HR industry is to re-engage the current workforce, especially as a CMI survey shows that 42 per cent of managers are reporting a fall in employee engagement.”
Preparing for tomorrow’s workforce
She explored further changes in the labor market and how the industry has to adapt to an increasingly older workforce. The CMI and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development recently teamed up to explore the issues of managing an ageing workforce. The results showed that by 2020 one third of employees in the UK will be over 50. According to Spellman, this means L&D professionals have to extract their skills and share them, as well as keep them motivated and in suitable roles.
She highlighted that action also needs to take place at the other end of the age spectrum to ensure a better qualified workforce, ready to take on the challenge of becoming tomorrow’s managers and leaders. Spellman concluded: “For today’s L&D professionals, their role is a balancing act between adapting to changes, focusing on current requirements of the workforce and demonstrating to boards that HR has a pivotal role to play as businesses emerge from the recession.”
Andrew GeeSenior Project Manager at Venture Marketing Group.
For more information
The World of Learning Conference and Exhibition 2011 takes place on 27 and 28 September 2011 at the NEC, Birmingham, UK. To register your interest to attend, visit www.learnevents.com/register-your-interest