Change is nothing new – all organizations must deal with it. But it’s the increasing speed of change that is adding an extra element of urgency to the business environment. According to data from KPMG, 65% of CEOs argue that the next three years will be more critical for their industries than the last 50 ever were – an extraordinary state of affairs.
Nowhere is the impact of the speed of change more critical than in the world of learning and development – where organizations’ ability to adapt is directly linked to their ability to grow their own people, and give them the critical skills they need to expand into new areas and create new markets and opportunities.
Roadblocks to Delivery
At the heart of this is a requirement by L&D professionals to develop their workforce faster, and more efficiently. Virtually all (93%) of L&D professionals now say they want to integrate learning with work, with more still (95%) saying they also want to respond faster to changing business conditions. But there is a crucial limiting factor it seems – the problem of how to deliver training and learning against these ambitions.
Time, technology, and capacity to react now seem to encompass the new preventive factors many organizations are facing. Less than one in five (19%) L&D professionals admit they are currently making the progress they think they need fast enough – despite the fact they are spending more on technology. Many, it seems, are just trying to catch up, but with businesses being ever more global, requiring more and varying versions of content, with more data analysis, L&D professionals are in real danger of falling behind.
Counteracting Speed of Change
The only solution for L&D professionals is to counteract speed of change with speed of deployment – and increasingly it is being understood in the context of using outsourced training rollouts – true experts in technology and results-driven interventions.
Outsourced training to respond to change doesn’t have to be confined to educating employees about product launches or meeting mandatory health and safety requirements. Increasingly outsourcing partners are being harnessed to deploy everything from entire system rollouts (such as complex ERP platforms), through to organizational growth systems (measuring sales and performance). Culture and engagement transformation programs are also being supported. Mark Oliver, Managing Director EMEA at Raytheon Professional Services says: “Outsourcing has long been recognized as one of the seven key ingredients for creating globally diverse training programs and our own Large Scale Business Rollouts research conducted in 2016 reveals it is even more critical now.”
He adds: “Upwards of half of all large-scale training programs are deemed to underperform due to not applying them properly and trying to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach. But the benefit of using outsourcing ultimately provides L&D professionals with the ability to harness technology that is more cutting-edge than their own. It also delivers training more speedily, measures training outcomes, and enables customization of existing content to be made much faster.”
Stronger Business Impact
The result is that day-to-day administration is drastically cut too, leaving training professionals free to concentrate on what they need to do most – being strategic thinkers and planners. As Raytheon Professional Services’ research also finds, the three main priorities L&D professionals have when partnering with an outsourced provider are an ability to customize; enable technology integration/capability and improve the quality of resources they can give learners access to. Very few organizations can do all of this consistently well, and in-house. Other strategic reasons why L&D professionals lean towards outsourcing is:
- Getting learners to competency in a reduced amount of time,
- Handling a greater scope of projects
- The ability for in-house politics to be avoided.
The fact is, outsourced learning rollouts give employers a chance to keep abreast of change, by partnering with those at the very forefront of it. Not only are L&D professionals then able to be the strategic, board-level equals they need to be, but the process of outsourcing itself enhances their own continuous learning development – by enabling them to implement and run much larger learning programs.
With speed of change not likely to be slowing down, the question is not when or how quickly to consider outsourcing but with whom.
Raytheon Professional Services, in partnership with CorporateLeaders, is hosting the 5th Annual Raytheon Symposium in Frankfurt and London (13th and 27th September 2017).
 CEO Outlook Survey, KPMG, 2016:
 Towards Maturity, Unlocking Potential: Releasing the potential of the business and its people through learning, 2016