In my recent blog, is your learning in the dark ages, I talked about how L&D professionals are adapting to the modern workplace. I’ve since read with much interest the differing debates on how we measure the value of learning.
Workplace learning is changing, rather rapidly, with learners demanding instant access to resources (video, support materials, short interactive scenarios etc.) at the time of need. The advancement of technology and the ability to access content on the go is helping fuel the learner’s appetite for valuable content and, in turn, this can be seen as an opportunity to advance engagement.
But how does L&D prove its relevancy and value in the modern learning era?
Business departments such as HR, IT, Legal, and L&D have historically been seen as “support” departments. They are considered as indirect sources of value. This means they are treated as a necessary cost to the business as oppose to departments that drive profit. However, as technology changes these departments are becoming more strategic and finding ways to become more valuable to their companies.
For example, IT has been finding success with leveraging cloud services to help its companies reduce cost and increase revenues. Those in Legal are finding ways to package and sell a company’s intellectual property and HR is improving talent retention and increasing employee engagement. “support” departments. They are considered as indirect sources of value. This means they are treated as a necessary cost to the business as oppose to departments that drive profit. However, as technology changes these departments are becoming more strategic and finding ways to become more valuable to their companies.
But what about a business’s L&D function? Are they winning in terms of being seen as a strategic partner to its organisation?
Many companies see their staff as their most important (and most expensive) asset. And those that are seeing the value in actively engaging its staff and helping them increase their productivity are consistently outperforming their competitors. This is helping L&D elevate itself from a what is seen as a cost centre to a strategic partner. I’m lucky enough to meet with a fair number of L&D and HR managers and there is still a vast scale of how L&D is seen to be adding value to its own organisation.
Generally L&D team sit in the following three areas:
- Traditional L&D where there is perceived low value (Old thinking): L&D is there out of necessity. They are there to provide compliance training help minimise risk and to provide other basic training and resources. Companies will often spend as little as they can and their resources are made up of traditional classroom and eLearning.
- Traditional L&D with some best practice: L&D is seen as a relatively important function the business’s strategy and objectives. They take learning to the next level and focus on building skills and implementing some best practices to ensure staff can support a company in achieving its goals.
- Modern L&D (New thinking): L&D is seen as strategic partner, who are a key enabler in a company’s strategy and supported from the board down. They help by implementing a learner driven culture, maximising technology to delivery on-the-job resources at the time of need and their programmes are blended and curated, aimed at fully immersing the learner to capture their attention. They actively engage staff and, importantly, their managers to ensure performance is improved. Line managers also play a key part in helping develop the learning solution and continually support staff in their learning journey.
So what can you do to ensure your L&D department is providing high value to your business and be seen as a strategic partner?
Make sure you understand your company’s goals and strategy at a detailed level. Understand where the business is in the market, how its performing and what needs to be done to improve its performance. Be confident in seeing you and your team as strategic enablers and ensure that all aspects of your L&D services align with the rest of the company. Finally, become an enabler of change, ensuring staff are equipped with the skills and learning at the time of need in order to help drive the business’s and their own performance to a new level.
Interested in finding out more about how to build a great learning partnership strategy? Give us a call today to find out how we help you create an engaged culture of learners within your organisation.
Stuart Ford, Learning Solutions Sales Consultant, Bray Leino Learning
In my series of blogs I will talk through my thoughts on some of the key challenges facing Learning and Development professionals, along with useful tips and advice.
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