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Talent and Leadership Club - May 2024 themes

 The Talent and Leadership Club is a global community of over 1,000 ‘in house’ learning professional from 40+ countries and nearly 350 different organisations. Community members have access to expert sessions, case studies, a thriving discussion forum and much more.


The themes from these forums are anonymously summarised into a blog each month to provide insight into what is on the mind of learning professional working at the ‘coal face’. It paints a picture of a profession that is grappling with AI, economic uncertainty and the traditional challenges that the industry has been working on for years. The themes from the community are as follows.


Leadership Development and Frameworks

Members requested info from each other on leadership skills frameworks and how organisations are using and implementing leadership behaviours. The focus was a practical one and there was a desire to ensure there was a use for frameworks that are created. It seems to reflect organisations wanting to get a handle on the level of leadership competence either to support a skills focused agenda, or to identify higher performers.


Business Simulations for Training

Incorporating business simulations into leadership and commercial skills training is a significant interest. Community members were looking for recommendation as to who could undertake this work. This links with the topic or leadership frameworks with organisations looking to provide validation for leaders against frameworks. Again, pointing to organisations wanting to get an understanding of the capabilities of their people.


360-Degree Feedback and Performance Management

Designing and implementing 360-degree feedback tools is a recurring theme, with vendor recommendations being requested. Conversations also explored performance management strategies, debating the separation of performance reviews and compensation processes. This builds on the theme of assessment and developing an understanding of the capabilities organisations have within their people. I’ve experienced this in periods of economic uncertainty with organisations focussing on the bottom line much more, as well as seeking to understand who their key talent are so they can be retained.


Remote Working Policies

Organisations shared their approaches to remote working, such as limiting remote work to certain locations and setting maximum remote days. These discussions reflect the adaptation to post-pandemic work norms and navigating local legislation. The exchange highlights the challenges and innovations in remote work policies and the fact that we haven’t settled on a new normal just yet. It feels as the economy shifts the ability of employees to make demands of their employers in terms of where and when they work shifts with the more enlightened employers using working practices as a source of attraction that it feels will pay off in the long run.


Expert Sessions and Continuous Learning

The community is exposed to expert speakers each month with speakers this month including Dr. Keith Keating, author of ‘The Trusted Learning Advisor’ and Peter Cappelli professor of Management at The Wharton School and Director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources. These sessions are designed to reflect the needs of the community and provide insights into contemporary issues and best practices in performance management and leadership. Keith shared insight into being a learning partner and Peter talked on the subject of performance management. In June sessions include speakers on I&D, leveraging the apprentice levy, building a learning culture and the learning tech landscape.


Support for Returning Mothers

The community has a parallel discussion forum that focusses on the I&D agenda, but occasionally questions are asked of the learning community that have an I&D angle. This month there was an interesting discussion on the support organisations provide for mothers returning to work. Specialist providers were recommended and people also shared their experiences of using approaches such as return-to-work coaching.


AI in Learning and Development

It is coming up every month, and May was no exception. Discussions this month centred on incorporating AI into design and development of learning programmes with community members discuss vendors and thought leaders they have used and would recommend. There still isn’t consensus on the best approach to take here and there is a wide range of uptake. This makes sense as different organisations are in different places with some industries being impacted more than others as well as the usual range of budget available to devote to new technologies when there isn’t a proven user case. I’m also hearing a bit of resistance sneaking in as the reality isn’t seen to be matching the hype, yet.


Wellbeing and Engagement

Wellbeing came up in May with community members seeking advice and examples on what others have done to build wellbeing and resilience into their organisations. There is some pretty impressive work out there with case studies shared. Some of the approaches focussed on effective communication strategies that aimed to break down stigma and improve resource engagement.


So, what do the themes from this month mean and what can we do as learning professionals. Three lessons for me:

  1. Firstly, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, stay close to your business and understand their needs. My experience is that if you understand the way your organisation makes money, their route to market and can talk about it in the language of those working with customers and clients it builds massive amounts of credibility and allows us to do good work.

  2. Secondly, don’t overlook the basics. We might want to do interesting work that pushes the boundaries of learning, but our organisations might not be ready for it. There is often a journey to go on to take them to where we want them to be.

  3. Finally, there still seems to be a focus on wellbeing initiatives. This isn’t a problem in itself, but it does seem that most initiatives are in response to the volume of workload, pace of change, or other stimuli. The more enlightened organisations are building wellbeing in upfront so the support is systemic and not to address a potentially avoidable problem.


We hope this summary was useful. If you want to find out more about the Talent and Leadership Club and join then visit our website at


Ben Chambers, T&L Club Founder and Head of Learning at Grant Thornton UK

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