Everyone talks about business alignment of L&D yet there is a lot of confusion around the same. Simply put, “It means equipping people with skills that can be translated into business outcomes”, says Abhijit Bhaduri, Chief Learning Officer, Wipro Group in the L&D Leadership League twangout on ‘Making L&D Drive Strategic Initiatives’. In times of slower economic growths and the world shrinking down, opportunities come like flash mobs and that is what creates a need for people with very specific skill sets. This is also the time when L&D need to invest and focus more on re-skilling.
Highlighting the importance of learning being translated into business results, it was very rightly put by Abhijit, as ”It’s not what’s inside the classroom that matters but what comes outside”. To achieve the desired outcomes from the training initiatives, the L&D first needs to re-look at the business requirements and customize the trainings to fit those expectations. It could mean experimenting with the content, duration or scope of trainings. As an end result the programs should be able to deliver business growth and that itself is a true measure of a program’s effectiveness. “It’s all about understanding the user’s perspective. L&D should not simply offer a training menu expecting functions to pick up one of the trainings available, without even asking and understanding whether or not someone requires that training”, says Abhijit.
L&D should have a strong understanding of business issues and as Abhijit says, “L&D professionals should be able to answer the three key business questions:
- How does this business make money?
- How do we sell what we make?
- How do we deliver business?
L&D should always consider the three fundamentals drivers of businesses – finance, sales and delivery, while planning their training initiatives as this is what they should be impacting positively through their efforts”.
Talking of bringing in line managers to be performance coaches, Abhijit shares, “It requires will and skill to be a coach and a mentor”. One who has the skill but lacks the will to transfer knowledge cannot be a coach. He emphasized upon the fact that learning no more means learning in set environments, now it’s more about being adventurous, experimenting and being able to learn in a chaos. The session offered great insights on how learning and development can transform from being a support function to a key enabler of business growth.
- Key Takeaways:
- L&D needs to understand and leverage technology, social media and online communities for more accessible and convenient learning
- L&D cannot function effectively without having a sound knowledge of how businesses function
- It’s now more and more about learning in a chaos rather than learning in set environments
- L&D professionals need to upgrade their knowledge and understanding of the growing business needs regularly to stay abreast or they may lose grip
- The effectiveness of any L&D initiative lies in the occurrence of repeat business as would be the case with any other service
- Will and skill both are important for delivering learning
- It’s very essential for L&D to understand user perspective and align themselves with the business’s and people’s expectations and requirements