email icon
close icon

The Learning Team of the Future – Essential Skills and Responsibilities

Get CIPD qualified with us and join the Acacia family!

acacia learning logo

This year the virtual CIPD annual Festival of Work Conference and exhibition has sparked more insight, development and knowledge from expert commentators and keynote speakers.

Acacia tutor and practitioner Lesley Kaye attended this session and has kindly provided her feedback in this blog. The panelists were:

Kenny Temowo, Global head of Leadership Development Learning, Improbable
Josie Bailey, Leadership Development Lead, AND Digital
Bata Davidovic, Group Head of Executive Learning, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company
Michelle Parry-Slater – Commercial Learning Content Manager, CIPD


There were three main questions for this panel discussion, the first of which was what adaptable skillsets will L&D team need in the future?  Given the turmoil of the past year or so, adaptability, understanding the business, flexing resources and having an adaptable toolkit so that we may align with business needs and respond to change, were aligned messages.  In order to understand the needs of the business it was emphasised that L&D professionals should not ‘stay stuck in their silos’, but listen to the world around them, and adopt an agile approach to delivering organisational needs.

The second point for discussion was how we can upskill ourselves to prepare for the new era of working life and here the approaches were more varied.   The focus for Bata was on the importance of trying to elevate the team, helping them to identify the skills that are a priority, and asking ‘how do we add value’ and ‘speak the language of the business’?.  Kenny and Josie took more skills-focused approaches, with Kenny suggesting that shadowing others in the team is a practical way of developing, so capabilities are shared throughout the team.  Josie, on the other-hand encouraged learning teams to develop capabilities, or qualifications, in Agile delivery, and asking ‘what can we deliver this week, or in the next 2 weeks?’   She is also a great advocate of podcasts as they provide a wide range of learning topics in bite-sized chunks.

The topic of Agile prompted quite some discussion and while it is one methodology, it was emphasised that we can find ways to become flexible using some of the concepts of Agile, without actually having the qualification.  What was agreed is that when managing multiple projects at once, it is important to be able to zoom out and hold the big picture, using what makes sense as the right operating model for your business and not get lost in a fad.

At a time when so much learning has gone online as a result of recent World events, Bata indicated that there is now an increasing pull from the business for face to face learning as after all, we are social creatures who need human connection.  He anticipates that while it won’t go back to where it was, learning is likely to develop into a hybrid model.

To conclude the session the panellists were asked what skills should be prioritised, many of which are aligned with the CIPD HR Map 2018 such as creative problem solving and structured thinking, designing tech to grow the digital mind-set and agile ways of working.  From a behavioural viewpoint, having the courage to deal with the unknown, empathy and doing activities that help you become more creative as ‘ideas are your only currency’ as Rod Judkins wrote in his book of the same name.

Writing this as a pragmatist, the final point resonated with me – consider what practical guidance you can curate for others e.g. ‘how to guides’, checklists etc.

The question is, how are we going to blend all this together?  The panel agreed that we need to keep an eye on the long-game but be prepared to flex and change to deliver in the short term.

What capabilities do your people professionals need to develop to deliver business performance?  How will you ensure their flexibility and adaptability?  Answering and acting on those questions will help put people professionals at the centre of the organisation’s development.

Blog written by Lesley Kaye, Consultant & Associate CIPD Tutor

FCIPD, Coach, Facilitator and Change Consultant Lesley has delivered our CIPD qualification programmes in the UK, Bulgaria and Dubai. She worked for more than 15 years in senior HR management roles within construction management, defence and gas service organisations before embarking on a successful consultancy career in HR development, working with a diverse range of clients in  in the public and private sectors across the UK and Europe.

Find out more about Lesley here.

Contact Lesley on LinkedIn:

Get Your Free CIPD Brochure

Learn more about studying CIPD with us

Share this post