An aligned L&D plan is expected to operationalise a part of the leadership strategy
Over the last decade, HR leaders have invested a lot of thought and energy on how to make HR a valuable business partner. A major part of this effort has been around aligning structure and processes; and now learning & development is emerging as the critical piece of the jigsaw. Some essentials that help create a credible and high impact L&D are follows.
Alignment with business: A leadership strategy that supports the business strategy provides alignment at a high level. An aligned L&D plan is expected to operationalise a part of the leadership strategy by driving the development of current and future people capability needs through capacity, capability and culture building approaches. Such an alignment provides a strong connect for business and builds confidence in the leadership about L&D.
Addressing diverse populations: Three categories of people are to be addressed by the L&D plan: a) High Potentials b) Solid Managers and c) ‘Getting Ready’ population. The first step is to have clarity on how the talent pool is spread across these three groups and across locations and business lines. A differentiated approach that balances the needs and expectations of the business, target population, impact and costs is required. A major tilt towards one of the populations’ has the potential to lead to disengagement among other populations.
Diversity of approaches: A best-in-class L&D approach would always have elements of learning experiences, mentorship and training built in its portfolio, in line with the 70:20:10 principles. A mix of self-paced, blended and in-person learning approaches are essential today in any L&D plan.
The provider question: To do it in-house or outsource to a service provider; to do it centrally or to do it regionally, is an organisation specific choice. Drawing a requirement – capability grid where even the internal team is dispassionately assessed on key parameters, can assist in decision making. A centrally-managed approach to address company-wide themes, critical issues facing solid managers, culture transformation projects and development of high potentials provides for a closer line of sight to the leadership and is preferred universally.
Technology and social media enablers: The learning management systems of today are morphing from a central gateway for bought-out courses, to a repository for best practices and a platform for exchange of views, knowledge and ideas through integration of social media tools. The L&D plans of today have to harness this appetite for interaction as it fits well with a growing orientation among employees for a more self-directed way of learning and exchanging ideas. Organisations need to leverage public social media platforms should the LMS not provide such an opportunity.
While efforts are being invested for a sound L&D approach, it is important to boost that investment with longevity and continuity in sight. The approach to L&D is not just a programme but a process consisting of a roadmap of continuous assessment and reflection, challenge and support.
Anupam Sirbhaiya, Country Manager of Centre for Creative Leadership India