The standard approach to Learning & Development or “training” is outdated in tech companies today. Spending months analysing skills gaps and creating training matrixes is now defunct – by the time your research is completed and packaged in a neat and easy to understand format, the priority for the business has changed. So, if this standard approach to L&D is all you’ve ever known, how can you adapt in order to show your value to the organisation?

To provide the level of support your colleagues deserve, you need to understand all of the nuances of the organisation. Not only must you seek answers to questions such as “Who are our clients?” or “What is our product?”, but also “What tech do we use, who uses it and why do they use it?”; “Where are the pain points for managers and the teams?”;  “Where can efficiencies be found and how can L&D assist with that?”. As an L&D specialist, you need to ask yourself, “How can I ensure that someone is developing their skills in the right way and as quickly as possible?”

And it doesn’t stop with the here and now. Future proofing people is just as important. What are the tech trends for the next 2-3 years and how will they impact us? How will our product adapt and change in the market?  Do we have the skills availabe? How far in advance do we need to plan for?

The value of L&D is to be a trusted advisor to the organisation, someone who knows the business, can quickly analyse a situation and propose a solution to a specific gap; someone who understands the people, and can adapt solutions quickly to the ever-changing nature of the tech industry. In essence, you need to be all things to all people at all times!

So how do you accomplish this?

First, identify the key stakeholders. Who will be your voice of support when you need it? Who are the key decision makers? Who knows more about the product than anyone else?

Second, trust is key. Without it, you will struggle to provide any value to the organisation. Building trust with people at all levels is crucial. Talking with and meeting people, understanding their area,  their specific ways of working, their own individual personalities and communication styles.  Constantly being on top of what’s happening in their world will quickly build up a trusting relationship with your key stakeholders.

Third, provide some quick wins. It’s easy to talk about what you’re going to do to provide value, but sometimes its better to simply show them. Providing a quick and easy solution to a pain point will quickly demonstrate what you can do and will lay the groundwork for building additional trust.

Once you accomplish all of this, you can begin to add value to the success of the company. It will take time and a lot of work, but the rewards are; a successful and thriving company, a fantastic place to work, and amazing colleagues who support each other and help each other to become the very best they can be.

In the end, isn’t that what being in learning and development is really all about?

Written by:
Sarah McGowan
Learning and Development Manager, eShopWorld


Want to learn more about L&D in the ever-changing nature of the tech industry?

Join our L&D Manager Sarah McGowan at the first “Rise & Learn” breakfast event by Trinity college Dublin’s Learnovate on Weds 30 Jan 8am–9am in The Alex Hotel, Dublin 2. Find more @