This week’s QuestionTime features Emma Bawden.

Global Talent Development Director – Pandora. A driven, innovative and resourceful Talent Director with international, omni-channel experience in telecoms, fashion wholesale & retail, manufacturing and construction industries.

Passionate about delivering commercial and creative learning, talent, and career development solutions for dynamic brands.

Enjoys projects resulting in effective organizational culture change, with proven track record for leading projects and teams to improve organizational design and employee engagement.


In your opinion what is the biggest anxiety within the world of learning and development at the moment?

Something that keeps many people, in L&D and out of L&D, feeling anxious is the resource in their departments. Regardless of role, I think a common feeling is one where demand is greater than supply. Often called “doing more with less.”

The way this relates to L&D is that employees want a lot of organisational support to learn and development, but often L&D departments have small headcounts and/or budgets and are unable to satisfy this demand.

I think the answer lies in promoting the 70:20:10 model, which will result in less pressure to provide formal learning opportunities and more opportunities to realise on-the-job learning experiences.

Who or what is informing your thinking around L&D?

The two concepts I think about every day (and aim to apply!) are:

The 70:20:10 model and the lessons on systems thinking in Peter Senge’s book The Fifth Discipline.

I think when these concepts aren’t applied it’s the reason why we so often have knowing-doing gaps, and I think when the concepts are applied they create learning cultures, and ultimately strong business results.

What is the most exciting innovation on the horizon for learning?

I’m really interested to see the impact of Tin Can API/ xAPI on a company’s learning culture. That’s exciting.

What “game changers” would you like to see and why?

I’ll use this opportunity to talk about something that bugs me…the standard PDP form…

My view is that planning your own development is important and motivational. Companies, quite rightly, encourage employees to think about and plan their development, and I’d like a widely-used game-changer in the way that employees think about and plan their development.

For something that’s so important and potentially motivating why do we rely on a boring old form? Regardless of it being a paper version or electronic, we really must ditch the forms and the tables and allow personal development plans to be much more…personal!

I think that could be a great foundation to more game-changing L&D approaches.

What do you think the world of L&D will look like by 2020?

I would welcome the rise of talent management in businesses. Of course, some businesses already have robust culture of talent management but I haven’t experienced that as the norm. For me, a culture of talent management means a truly joined up approach to people management and organisational development, and I think we’ll be far more joined up by 2020.

What advice would you give your 21 year old self?

“Collect life experiences”

Between the ages of 21 and 24, I lived and worked in the Philippines, Japan and the UK doing a variety of jobs from credit/purchase ledger control, to mapping coral reefs, to teaching English, to modelling western-style wedding ceremonies. And I’d do it all over again in a flash. In fact, I think that’s still the advice I would give myself today.

Next week in QuestionTime we focus our attention on the thoughts of senior learning and development manager Paul Duxbury