Different organizations are at different stages of implementing their workplace learning strategies and many would like to realize greater success and more innovative approaches. This has led to questions about the efficacy of the L&D function, its impact on productivity and its role in building business agility. There are a number of indicators that impact the learning and talent management strategy, including organizational culture, HR’s role in strategy, the end-user experience, the employee’s elective participation rate and governance issues.
In this article we take a look at some of the lessons from top learning organizations that are at the forefront of applying business thinking to their learning and talent strategy:
- Define needs: Leading organizations analyze the problem at hand before turning to a solution. They also focus on the output in terms of value-added insights that support their business goals instead of merely capturing data points. These companies also work towards aligning learning and development with their business strategy by ensuring that everyone on their L&D team understands the priorities of the business. The best in class also embody a culture of evidence-based decision making.
- Understand the learner: Linking talent to learning calls for workflows that focus on wide-spread adoption. At the optimized stage of the talent maturity cycle, companies leverage big data to provide highly personalized career paths and learning recommendations, thereby ensuring that the participation is high. The emphasis is therefore on creating a “pull from employees” as opposed to “push from HR.” The way to ensure the pull is cultivated is to offer compelling content and a beautiful user-experience.
- Build strong stakeholder relationships: To integrate the work context in the learning and talent KPIs well, top learning organizations focus on breaking down silos between learning and talent. This means understanding how learning supports other processes such as recruitment, succession planning and onboarding. 88 percent of the top performing companies involve front-line managers in designing appropriate learning solutions.
- Address critical skill gaps within L&D: Top performing learning organizations focus on building capacity in their L&D function in order to enable them to deliver the business goals. According to the research and analyst firm, Towards Maturity, 90 percent of these companies believe that the role of the L&D function is shifting away from “learning delivery” service to a more consultative type of a role. This shift in role calls for L&D professionals to represent more performance consulting capabilities and better exploitation of new technologies.
- Ensure engagement: A communication plan for all stakeholders, analytics-backed learning feedback and multiple measures of employee engagement are critical to creating a self-developing organization. An engaged workforce helps create a heightened output in all aspects of human capital management including talent attraction, promotion, mobility, rewards and development. Measuring employee engagement and acting to optimize the engagement levels should be a practice that all leaders and functions are accountable to, not simply HR.
- Evidence-based decision making: Leading learning organizations are almost four times more likely to use learning analytics to improve service delivery. They are also three times more likely to use business metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of their learning programs. Such practices ensure that data, not conjecture, informs how business leaders and employees are growing, performing and adapting.
Developing a learning and talent strategy that achieves results is a journey. Benchmarking both formally and informally helps organizations identify the tactics that have the potential to make a difference —which approaches, when streamlined into actions, can help your business get closer to achieving your goals. Want to become a top learning organization? Click here to learn more about Skillsoft’s learning and talent maturity framework.