The Future of Learning and Development

The pandemic unveiled new challenges for organizations, including how they develop their people. Now it’s time to discard the old approach to learning & development and embrace agility.

Change has always been a constant in business, however, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the rate of change and gave rise to new and unexpected challenges for business leaders. The notion of “business as usual” has become a thing of the past. Companies simply won’t last in the long term without constantly reinventing themselves for the new hybrid world of work.

Facing unprecedented disruption, organizations must prioritize resilience to bounce back from this crisis and prepare for future challenges. One way to do this is to move away from traditional learning and development, to training that is less costly, mindful of employees’ time, and easily retained. 

Agility is the key to becoming a more resilient organization. Agile organizations thrive in unpredictable, rapidly changing environments. They continually evolve and embrace uncertainty and disruption and are far better equipped than traditional organizations for the future.

Embracing Agile Learning

To become an agile organization, talent development leaders must embrace agile learning. New competition, technological innovation, changing customer demands and environmental, political, and economic shifts require agile learning for organizations to survive and thrive. 

Gartner defines agile learning as “a mindset and method of skills development, via iterative short bursts, applied in the flow of achieving outcomes that can dynamically adjust with changing needs.” It is the direct opposite of traditional learning that is perceived by many to be too expensive, too time consuming, and largely ineffective.

Learning and development must also evolve with the times to keep pace with changes, yet 31 percent of HR leaders admit that they can’t create skill development solutions fast enough to meet evolving skill needs.

Create Learning that ‘Sticks’

Adult learners retain new knowledge and develop new skills when they can immediately apply it. When training on a new technology, for example, adult learners must not only understand how it applies to their daily tasks, but they must also use the newly acquired skills as soon as possible. Relevance and immediate application are critical, yet 33 percent of HR leaders report that they don’t effectively integrate learning into the employee workflow. Agile learning and development happens in real time, right in the flow of work, not after hours of exhaustive training. 

Leadership coaching is the perfect catalyst for agile learning and development. It is dynamic, flexible, and personalized to accommodate different learning styles and adjusts in real-time to meet rapidly changing business needs. It is focused on the individual, while also addressing larger organizational goals. Leadership coaching happens in the flow of work, creating an opportunity for leaders to apply new knowledge and skills immediately.

In our latest white paper, we explore organizational resiliency, and the shift to agile learning and development. The paper details:

  • Why the hybrid workforce is here to stay and how it is driving the need for agility.
  • Why more companies are investing in building—not buying—skills.
  • Why HR, and learning and development in particular, must become more agile.
  • How agile companies are accelerating leadership development.

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Piyush Gupta

VP of Product and Technology
Piyush Gupta is VP of Product and Technology at Sounding Board and champions the voice of customers and users with deep empathy. Piyush envisions Sounding Board to be the first window of coaching experience for professionals and leaders worldwide. His approach is deeply rooted in proven scientific research, modeling human behaviors, and data-informed insights to deliver mindset shifts and desired business outcomes for organizations at scale. He believes that a world-class UX is key to drive simplicity that will lead to millions of professionals to access coaching for their development. Piyush co-invented the world’s first ‘landmark intelligent driving directions’ technology that led Google to redesign their routing algorithms for the Asian markets. For the next decade, he led two disruptive FinTech companies to the market leadership positions and delivered two award-winning products that serve more than 70 million users worldwide. His teams filed 20+ patents while he himself authored three patents. He is an active startup investor and advises selected AI-driven startups on business and product strategy. He is the recipient of the World Summit Award, one of the most prestigious international honors for product innovators. In addition, he is a James Swartz fellow, the most prestigious fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University funded by the founder of the iconic venture firm, Accel Partners. Piyush holds an MS in Software Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

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Tommy is at his best helping clients think through complex challenges in order to create a positive impact on their organizations. He thrives when interacting with others whether helping his team succeed or working with clients to build long-term partnerships. He has extensive experience consulting with organizations on driving their employee experience, guiding organizations through change, and working to ensure organizations are moving the needle when it comes to their results.

Most recently, Tommy was a Client Services Leader overseeing some of GP’s most prized accounts on a global level. His responsibilities included overall client growth strategy, retention, and satisfaction. He represented all of GP Strategies’ major business lines including leadership, coaching, and engagement, digital transformation, outsourced services, and technology implementation solutions.

Before GP Strategies, Tommy spent several years with TTEC Digital (formerly rogenSI) where he led the sales team,  eventually becoming the regional Learning & Performance practice leader for North America. While managing the P&L and sales team he also led the largest global relationship for the firm (Deloitte Globally). During his time at TTEC, he focused on delivering blended learning solutions that incorporate technology and hands-on training. Before TTEC Digital, he spent several years dedicated to strength-based leadership disrupting the business landscape regarding performance management and employee engagement with thought leader Marcus Buckingham at The Marcus Buckingham Company / TMBC (now ADP).

Tommy has had the privilege of working with some of the most well-known global brands in professional services, retail, technology, and healthcare including Deloitte, Facebook, Microsoft, Bank of America, Novartis, Gap Inc., lululemon, and Intel. Several projects he led for Deloitte were Global GNPS, New Partner Pivot, NextGen Partner Program Deloitte China, Present to Win, the RPM project on performance management, and Unconscious Bias.

Tommy holds a BS in Health Sciences from Texas A&M University, and an MBA from Universidad del CEMA.

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Lori Mazan is the Co-Founder and Chief Coaching Officer of Sounding Board, the preeminent global leadership development enterprise platform changing the face of leadership development through innovative technology for leaders at all levels of an organization. Lori is a seasoned executive coach who has guided hundreds of corporate executives through 1:1 coaching focused on business outcomes and developing critical leadership skills. Client companies advanced by Lori’s expertise include Fortune titans such as Chevron and Sprint as well as high growth and public companies like Intellikine, and Tapjoy, plus 10XGenomics, which became a public company in 2019 while top executives worked with Lori and the Sounding Board team.
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Christine Tao is the co-founder & CEO at Sounding Board, a Silicon Valley startup redefining how organizations are developing their leaders. Her extraordinarily rapid career growth to executive management in the media, mobile and tech sectors of Silicon Valley became her inspiration for founding Sounding Board. As she began to manage larger teams and be responsible for growing revenues, it became clear that she needed a “sounding board” to coach her on the development of her leadership skills. That’s where her Sounding Board co-founder, Lori Mazan came on the scene. A seasoned executive coach focused on leadership development, Lori coached Christine on real-world leadership skills that had a direct impact on business outcomes. Based on her positive and impactful experience with leadership development, Christine was driven to make leadership development coaching accessible to people at all levels of the organization.
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