Editor's Note: This post was originally published in June 2016 and has been updated to reflect the current climate.
In order to stay relevant in our organisations, we need to make sure that the value of learning keeps up with the evolving and changing nature of workplace learning.
With rapid developments in the way we interact with technology in both work and our daily lives, learners now demand, and in some cases expect, instant access to resources and information at the point of need.
This advancement of technology and the ability to access content on the go is fuelling the learner’s appetite for instant valuable content. This has been a prominent challenge for many L&D professionals over the last few years, but it can also be turned into an opportunity for advancing engagement.
So how does L&D prove its relevancy and value in the new learning era?
Historically, business departments such as HR, IT, Legal and L&D have been seen as ‘support’ departments – meaning they are not a direct source of value for the business. This results in them being treated as a necessary cost to the business as opposed to departments that drive profit.
Of course, many ‘support’ departments have caught onto this and have subsequently become more strategic in finding ways to add tangible value to the business.
For example, IT has been finding success by leveraging cloud services to help companies reduce cost and increase revenue. 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.
But what about L&D? Does the business see you as a strategic partner?
Many companies see their staff as their most important (and most expensive) asset. And those that are seeing the value in actively engaging their staff and helping them increase their productivity are consistently outperforming their competitors. This is helping L&D elevate itself from what is seen as a cost centre to a strategic partner.
Generally, the perception of an L&D team sits in one of the following three areas:
- Traditional L&D where there is perceived low value: L&D is there out of necessity. They are there to provide compliance training to 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 courses and eLearning.
- Traditional L&D with some best practice: L&D is seen as a relatively important function for 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 the company in achieving its goals.
- Modern L&D: 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 deliver 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 too, to ensure performance is improved. Line managers also play a key part in helping develop learning solutions and continually support staff in their learning journey.
So how can you provide 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 it’s 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 skills and learning at their 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 strategy? Get in touch today to find out how we help you create an engaged culture of learners within your organisation.
Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning
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