What is happening in the world of L&D (Training)? Is it changing?

Experienced L&D people are bleeding out of organisations and going freelance

training roomWhile talking to a colleague, he confirmed that there appears to be a trend in the training world at the moment. This trend is supported by the change in readership of both my site and blog are getting.

Here is the thought – I’d appreciate your views on this:

Experienced professionals are leaving organisations and going freelance, leaving behind managers and less experienced individuals to carry on delivering.

The evidence:

Times are tough for many organisations and firms are looking to reduce costs. Learning and Development (Training) is seen as a “luxury” so cuts are targeted. People with experience and significant qualifications and competence are seeing the opportunity to take redundancy and “go freelance”.

At networking events there is a distinct increase in the number of “new” coaches and trainers – mainly coaches!

On forums and online networks, there is a trend for a lot of self promotion, and on the whole it looks like people new to the industry, rather than established people “desperate for work”. This activity I have seen on a number of forums and discussion groups I moderate (TrainingZone and LinkedIn)

Types of articles being read. There is certainly (on this site) a trend towards some of the basic articles on “basics of training”, the How to… type of article. The reading numbers for these have gone from 10-12 a day to 30-50, for each article. The numbers here are going through the roof. The extent to which this is L&D professionals looking to information, or people from outside L&D (managers) I do not know – maybe I should add a poll to the site… now there is a thought…

E-Learning

Are those colleagues left behind looking to e-learning as a cost effective way of meeting their organisations needs? certainly, some of our advisers have just undertaken significant contracts providing “Instructional Design” expertise to some of the UKs biggest E-learning providers, as they have a large and growing order book.

Is it that E-learning is more effective? or because it is easier to purchase? E-learning is great for knowledge based acquisition, but not effective (at the low cost end) for behavioural change and improvement. It also requires little skill from the purchaser to have a product, as the role of the “training professional” is to write the basic spec and project manage, not to look at the design itself.

Coaching

Why are so many people leaving industry and setting up as “coaches”? Why are so many people still confused by coaching? Well this latter question is harder to answer – why are new people going freelance and calling themselves “coaches” – simple.. research being published by organisations like the CIPD show that coaching is on the increase, and must be in demand. over the past 2-4 years many people have completed “accredited” and prestigious coaching courses so deem themselves ready for the coaching market.

The CIPD reports says that “90% of organisations now use coaching” which in the context of “Coaching at work” is correct – coaching as a MANAGEMENT STYLE is prolific and has been encouraged. However the growth of the executive or performance coach market (from a purchasers point of view) has not increased at the same rate. Indeed one-to-one coaching seems to be on the cost cutting list. Coaching at work and employing external coaches are not the same thing.

People that call themselves “coaches” but actually deliver “training” are doing themselves and there clients a disservice.

Sustainability

Sustainability needs to be maintained both within the organisation, sustainable standards, skills abilities etc, and in the market place. If too many people pitch for the same work, then often the purchaser will use price as a differentiator. This is not healthy for either side in the long run. A freelance individual must have a sustainable business model, and client organisations must have a sustainable supplier. If you are paying £100 for a current service – what will you do when that provider goes bust – and the going rate is £1000? How long will your budget last? 

Outsourcing

One advantage of outsourcing e-learning is that the activity can be done anywhere in the world. India and other parts of the world have high quality software people, but English and grammar is not as good as many of us require it to be. Outsourcing has its own dangers.

Conclusions

When looking to cut costs – be careful what the “price” is of that activity – better to get added value than a “lower cost”.

While an experienced L&D professional my look expensive on the budget sheet, what is the overall saving they are providing your organisation over a year? The purchase of one wrong. ineffective training intervention can easily outweigh the salary and benefits package of a good performer.

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About Mike Morrison

Mike Morrison is a consultant and change agent specialising in developing skills in senior people to increase organizational performance.
Mike is also founder & director of RapidBI, an organizational effectiveness consultancy.

Comments

  1. It’s an interesting point you make and it’s certainly true that there are many more freelance HR people (not just trainers and coaches) at networking events. But surely this is just the stage we’re at in the economy. I doubt very much that this will be the catalyst that takes e-learning into the mainstream. there are bound to be applications where it works but as a trainee myself there is a real benefit to face to face training where you leave the work environment.
    I think as the economy recovers so will learning and development budgets.

  2. Sheridan Webb says:

    RT rapidbiNew Blog post What is happening in the world of L&D (Training)? Is it changing? … Interesting article

  3. RT @rapidbi What is happening in the world of L&D (Training)? – blog detailing secondary impact of recession on training

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  5. Heather Townsend says:

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  6. RT @garygorman: RT@rapidbi What is happening in the world of L&D (Training)? Is it changing? Times are tough for many..

  7. RT @RapidBI What is happening in the world of L&D (Training)? Is it changing? » Management, Leadership & Business De…

  8. RT @rapidbi: What is happening in the world of Training? [Lot more freelancing - including me!]

  9. RT @rapidbi: What is happening in the world of Training? Is it changing?http://bit.ly/2m2pVp Please vote in our poll (to the right of blog)

  10. Experienced L&D people are bleeding out of organisations and going freelance
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