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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 that 67% of the major Swedish companies say they have difficulty finding the employees with the right skills. 10 years ago, this number was 31%.  A survey of the member companies at the Swedish industry organization “Teknikföretagen” reported that the shortage of skilled staff now is so severe that it has been problems developing 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 needed. Digitization and AI accelerate this development. The World Economic Forum shows in a report that about 30-40% of the professional skills required in 2015 have been replaced by other skills in 2020. Technological change is exponential; AI, mobile platforms, Internet of Things, Big Data, Robots, etc. accelerate technological development and opportunities to operate the business in new ways.


The “war of talent” has created a lot of focus within HR to work with employer branding and talent management to attract and develop the best performing talents. Increasingly, organisations are now realising that focusing on a few high-performers isn’t enough. All employees in an organization need to continuously develop new capabilities, and this need to happen quickly. The L&D function and the organisation’s learning capability will be critical for survival.

Employees have changed their 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 overwhelmed by information, meetings and are 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 spent 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 at work through contacts with colleagues. At Google employees produces 55% of all course material (mostly videos) themselves.
  • The younger workforce, in particular, pay out of their own pockets to learn new things, e.g. using LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, Pluralsight.

A company’s offering for learning and development 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 selecting an employer.


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

Next: What is a successful learning organization?

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