Why develop the learning organization of the future?

Companies today find it increasingly difficult to find people with the right skills. Manpower Group’s “Talent Shortage” report shows this year that 67% of the major Swedish companies say that they have difficulty finding the employees with the right skill. 10 years ago, this number was 31%.  A survey of the member companies in Teknikföretagen reported last spring that the shortage of skilled staff is now so great that it has not been possible to develop products and services as planned and that potential business is lost as a result.

A key challenge is an accelerating transition of the professions and skills that are needed. Digitization and AI accelerate this development. The World Economic Forum shows in a report that about 30-40% of the professional skill required in 2015 have been replaced by other skills in 2020. We are now in 2018 in the midst of this development. And it is exponential; AI, mobile platforms, Internet of Things, Big Data, Robots, etc. accelerate technological development and opportunities to operate the business in new ways.


In the past there has been discussions around the “war of talent” and a lot of focus within HR has been on “employer branding” and “talent managemet” to attract and develop the best performing people. Increasingly, organisations are now realising that it is not possible to live through just a few high-performers. All employees in an organization need to continuously develop new capabilities, and quickly. The L&D function and the organisation’s learning capacity will be central for survival.

In this change, we are individuals are also changing our preferences in how to develop and grow. Studies show that our ability to remember facts has diminished with an increased use of Google. We have placed our long-term memory outside of ourselves. A report from “Bersin by Deloitte” reveals some interesting facts:

  • We are inundated with information, meetings, being disturbed every 5 minutes (mail, social media). 2/3 says they can’t keep up with their job. As a result, 3 minutes of a typical week can be spent on learning.
  • We are impatient. The time we spend on learning is getting less and less. Today, a student spends an average of 4 minutes on a video.
  • 80% of the learning takes place in the work through contacts with colleagues. Google produces 55% of all course material (mostly videos) from the employees themselves.
  • The younger workforce, in particular, pay out of their own pockets to learn new things, for example, via Lynda.com, Coursera or Pluralsight.

A company’s offering for learning and development itself is important to attract new generations of employees. A report by PwC (“Millenials at work“) ranks opportunities for development and career as the most important factor in choosing a company.


All together, this shows that learning in your organization needs to continually develop! To meet new generations of employees, a world that is spinning faster and faster and where learning is increasingly happening in new ways.

Next: What is an effective learning organization?

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