Elephants Don't Forget
The race to the bottom must
As L&D professionals and suppliers of learning
technology, we have a collective responsibility
to the sector and to the employees in the
corporate workplace, who rely on L&D to help
them to improve and develop.
Essentially, we have a responsibility to help
employers to educate and their employees
beyond their current role, and to fulfil their true
workplace potential. This responsibility
transcends individual competition for
promotion and recognition, and corporate
competition between technology suppliers.
This responsibility underpins a healthy
corporate L&D sector.
I'm an ex C-suite executive of household-name
regulated firms who has been both a recipient
of training, and a sponsor of in-house L&D and
external suppliers. I now supply artificial
intelligence to the sector and I see it at a crossroads and dangerously close to becoming
There is a real risk of the industry dumbing
down to the lowest common denominator in
an apparent race to deliver low cost training in
the least disruptive (to business as usual)
fashion. Hence the focus on the wonderful
array of clever and super-efficient technology.
My concern is not about technology that
facilitates better cost efficiencies and more
interesting and engaging user experiences.
This is to be applauded. Rather, it is my belief
that increasingly, employers do not see their
role as an educator and most importantly, do
not see the correlation between investment in
employee education and EBITDA (earnings
before interest, tax, depreciation and
It seems that the development of human
capital to full workplace potential is
unfashionable in the UK and other markets. I
previously worked for an ex nationalised
industry (British Gas) and saw the genuine
value created and harvested through a deepseated belief in the training and development
of young men and women through traditional
A good friend and ex British Gas colleague (still
serving after 30 years) tells me that being
accepted as an apprentice 30 years ago was
akin to 'winning the career lottery'. I wonder
how many youngsters and employers feel the
same way today?