As we step forth into 2018 and further to our previous post about how L&D strategies have evolved, we would like to put down a few thoughts on the importance of L&D to business and how one can go about effectively aligning L&D approaches within the organization.
While of course L&D professionals strive to align their processes and methods to business outcomes, a glaring deficit observed is lack of drawing intelligence from existing data and resources, which otherwise could have improved learning efficiencies and training results. How can we approach this?
Partner with Business
Business leaders rely to a substantial extent on HR and L&D for achieving their goals. It is necessary for L&D to truly partner with businesses in their organization to understand their pain areas and challenges; having mutually conceded on this, chances are stronger that L&D will be able to cover gaps in knowledge and understanding basis stakeholder’s feedback.
Reports? MIS? Measurement of Outcome?
To be able to justify itself, L&D essentially has to express its efficacy (atleast attempts to) by way of reports and MIS, but let us be concious about how much time we spend collecting what type of data. Reports for all learning activites can’t be standard and one needs to spend time beforehand to undersand what will be measured and how.
Get Business’ buy-in
It is important for L&D to understand the business stakeholders sensitivities. Matters like how L&D will operate, resource deployment, course structure and duration, assessments and the likes. Convene on metrics mutually so that business is content with the L&D proposal.
Metrics that matter to Business & L&D
Before crusading to train, L&D needs to understand how business learders categorize their team members. Take efforts to peg the the knowledge levels, skills and performance of different categories and work out what input and training would impact different categories. This will help draw up optimal learning structures.
Let performance relate to the learning
For business to value L&D, it is vital to work with stakeholders and learning facilitators, to draw synergies between learning and performance – L&D needs to demonstrate this effectively so that it emerges as a true partner to business.
Use existing data and information
The need for learning begins with gaps and deficiencies. Begin with current knowledge and the data that already is there, especially data used by business to conclude success / failure. For L&D, it is invaluable to be have a symbiosis with internal sources who can share such information. Equally important is the knowledge of how this data is maintained and accessed.
Study and correlate with industry and/or external data
Given the dynamism of the marketplace and constantly evolving business practices, L&D needs to be abreast of these; moreover, with the way technology is evolving, L&D needs to explore and discover which are the most optimal learning approaches for their audience.
For those novice, analytics can be done internally if the scale of measure isn’t very voluminous. However, for L&D already using Learning Analytics, it is advisable to know how to use is effectively – meaning not just running reports because it is doable but to first understand what needs to be measured and then drawing up reports and summaries.
At the end of it all, L&D needs to be knowledgeable of how business works, business patterns and performance and the emphasis should be on linking learning to business outcomes – when L&D is able to demonstrate this linkage and subsequently alignment of their approaches and techniques to business needs, it helps build L&D credibility and worth.