Learning and Development: The Key to Retention and the Future


Audience members at the HR Exchange Network’s 2022 Corporate Learning online event learned that learning and development is not a luxury. It is a must have. Also, experts who spoke at the event revealed that the pandemic accelerated advances in technology and therefore in digital learning. Indeed, the future has arrived. 

WATCH: Corporate Learning 2022

Sheila Jagannathan, Head of the Open Learning Campus at the World Bank Group, spoke of artificial intelligence-based chatbots. Learners interact with chat bots, and the more they use them, the smarter the chat gets. 

In addition, Iyad Jabri, Chief Technical Officer at Cypher Learning, gave a rundown of how machine learning is revolutionizing the learning experience. 

“Machine learning finds paths and patterns that administrators and educators haven’t even thought about,” said Jabri. 

Keeping with the theme of technology, John Blackmon, Chief Technical Officer at ELB Learning, used case studies to teach the audience about the potential of virtual reality (VR). He described how VR is a form of experiential learning and therefore can be more effective. 

HR Tech Moves People

“Immersive learning gets 100% attention,” said Blackmon. 

For example, as part of the presentation, viewers saw a Fendi case study designed to help staffers reduce theft. They saw a showroom on the screen, and they could move around it with their mouse. There were things they could identify to help cool the temptation and minimize the ease of theft. 

At the same as the technology is rapidly evolving, so is Human Resources and its approach to talent. Steve Boucher, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Degreed, talked about evaluating people based on what they bring to the table. 

“We’re talking about skills versus jobs,” said Boucher. 

Skills Hiring

In other words, HR leaders are assessing the skills someone has rather than the years of experience. Boucher provided examples of how to dissect a job applicant’s profile. He pointed out how a person with 20 years of experience working might not have the same talents as someone with 7 years of experience, and he demonstrated how to break down someone’s profile to make such determinations. 

Learning is about more than hard skills. Leadership requires studying human relationships, communication, and more. Elise Smith, CEO and Co-founder at Praxis Labs, and Maria Colacurcio, CEO and Founder of Syndio, had a riveting discussion about how people are seeking change when it comes to unfair disparity in the workplace. They raised the issue of the gender pay gap and access to opportunities. 

“With DEI, the goal is to have a more just workplace, a more just society,” said Smith. 

Diversity is often overlooked in L&D, but it is becoming more prominent as people demand more moral authority in businesses and as those in people analytics study the numbers and share the business case. They use storytelling to inspire, motivate, and develop the sense of urgency.

Storytelling with Data

In fact, Iain Boomer, Global Director – The Academy – Global Learning at AbbVie described how to use data to tell stories. He used LEGO blocks to help people visualize the steps involved in structuring the story. 

“Data literacy,” he said, “is the ability to explore, understand, communicate using data.” 

Another big trend in HR and learning is personalization and providing a sense of purpose. Lya Icaza, Director of the Talent Marketplace at USAA, stressed the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace. She described its relationship to creating strong teams. 

Sebastien Girard, SVP, Chief People Officer of Centura Health, described what it has been like in hospitals since the pandemic began and now that things have improved. He stressed how learning and development is vital even as the economy begins to struggle. 

“The real danger,” he said, “is to have less learning.” 

Watch on-demand videos of all the sessions, and experience other relevant content on HR Exchange Network. 

Photo by Anna Shvets for Pexels

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