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HRD Conference: CIPD survey identifies L&D integration as major trend

The most commonly anticipated major change affecting learning and development (L&D) over the next two years is predicted to be a greater integration between coaching, organisational development and performance management to drive organisational change, according to a CIPD survey, launched yesterday at its annual HRD Conference and Exhibition in London Olympia.

Nearly half (47%) of the 600 organisations polled state this as the major L&D development. The next most common changes anticipated are: greater responsibility devolved to line managers (38%) and more emphasis on monitoring, measuring and evaluating training effectiveness (36%).

Organisational development/change management activity will be high up on the agenda for the next 12 months too, with 43% of respondents stating it is set to be one of the top three activities L&D specialists will spend most of their time on.

The other two are more operational, with 46% expecting to spend time on management/planning of L&D efforts and 44% on delivering courses/time in a training facility. The stand-out finding is the focus on organisational development/change management, which is increasing as an integral part of an L&D specialist's role.

Last year it was in the top three activities for 36% and in 2009, just 22%. This focus is clearly influenced by economic volatility and the cuts to the public sector, but also by gaps in leadership skills in the area of 'leading and managing change'. Over half of respondents (55%) identified it as a gap, second only to performance management (59%).

The most common focus of leadership development activities in the next 12 months will be enabling the achievement of the organisation's strategic goals (43%), improving the skills of leaders to think in a more strategic and future-focused way (39%) and developing high-potential individuals valued by the organisation (37%). Coaching is most commonly rated as one of the most effective talent management activities (49%), with in-house development programmes second (28%) and high-potential development schemes third (25%).

John McGurk, learning and talent planning adviser at the CIPD, said: "Learning and development specialists across the country will be judged over the next two years on how well they support organisations as they aim to gain competitive advantage through their employees.

"It is for this reason that practitioners should welcome the findings of this survey, which show a move towards greater integration between the disciplines of coaching, organisational development and performance management to drive organisational change.

"We are operating in a unique environment of public sector cuts and restructuring and with a private sector looking to re-emerge from the worst recession in a decade. Both of these challenges will require workforces that are change-ready and future-focused, equipped with the necessary skills to drive change in the long term."