Biggest Challenges Facing L&D Professionals

Biggest Challenges Facing L&D Professionals
Brian Clark

WorkPlan Director, Brian Clark, shares his thoughts on 3 big challenges that L&D professionals are experiencing based on real conversations he’s had at recent events.

I have had the pleasure of attending two conferences very recently. It was fantastic to engage with people face-to-face and enjoy presentations in-person rather than on my laptop screen. I travelled to Melbourne to attend the Not-for-Profit People Conference and I also attended the Institute of Learning and Performance’s Impact Summit on the Gold Coast. There was so much positive energy at both these events and the attendees were eager to engage with others and share ideas and issues.

Across these events, I had some very interesting conversations about a range of topics, and I thought I would share some of the topics of conversations I had with people.

Here I would like to consolidate some of what I learned about the major challenges facing the learning and development profession and the organisations they work in. The feedback I received in the Not-for-Profit People Conference came from a variety of professionals in that sector including a few L&D people.


Having access to adequate resources is a common challenge for learning and development professionals- these resources include time, people, technology and financial resources. The latter is often considered variable in many organisations based on economic factors impacting business performance. Based on my conversations, time and people seemed to be mentioned most often as challenges impacting the delivery of planned learning and development initiatives.


Positioning learning and development as a strategic driver in an organisation has been a challenge conveyed to me for many years. Learning and development is not seen as strategic in most organisations and does not get included in the executive management team or ‘C’ suite. Virtually all the people I spoke to work in an organisational structure that places learning and development as a subset of human resources and in certain industries it is part of health, safety and environment, (HSE). It was mentioned often that learning and development lacked visibility to the executive leadership and therefore it was poorly understood as a vital business function.


The last one I will include here is measuring impact. This is a challenge that is related to both of the aforementioned challenges. Learning and development is usually allocated a budget with an expectation that some impact will be identifiable. Often this is defined as Return on Investment (ROI). The problem is, much of the impact achieved by learning and development professionals does not fit into a standard ROI calculation. Many impacts are less tangible and may not be visible to the executive leadership for a period after a learning and development initiative has been completed.

These three challenges are just one of the many topics of discussion I enjoyed at these recent conferences. I believe they are also evidence of how much we can learn when we can speak to other people in an informal way outside of a commercial relationship. I hope to attend more conferences and summits in the year ahead and recommend you consider attending some as well. They are an excellent learning opportunity and the energy I felt in both these events gave me a real boost.

If you looking to have a chat about learning and development within your business. Reach out and connect with me on LinkedIn, or contact us today.

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