For today’s organizations, aligning a learning strategy with business goals is a high priority. However, this is not an actual reality for many organizations.
According to 2018 Brandon Hall Group research, three out of four organizations believe that aligning learning strategy with business goals is the top L&D priority. But only 36% of organizations actually have a learning strategy that is aligned with business goals.
The good news is that for organizations that do achieve alignment, they are 40% more likely to increase key business metrics.
So what’s the secret for developing strategic alignment with organizational strategies?
In Alan Landers’ Chief Learning Officer article, “Do You Know How to Create an Actionable Learning Strategy?,” he suggests several steps to help organizations develop strong learning strategies, including understanding one’s business and strategic objectives; evaluating current capabilities, limitations and resources; and determining an appropriate and meaningful strategy. Let’s take a look:
1. Understand your business
It is vital for learning leaders to understand the business inside and out. This includes grasping the organizational structure, financials, interactions with customers and clients, and the inner workings of team relationships. In this step, learning leaders can identify the key performance indicators that each department is responsible for maintaining.
Additionally, leaders must earn credibility and trust within the organization, as well as build connections with management and employees.
2. Grasp the organization’s strategic objectives
According to Landers, it is critical for learning and development leaders to demonstrate how they can help employees achieve business objectives. To do this, learning leaders must determine what is working and not working within departments; ascertain the concerns of department leaders and employees; identify strengths and weaknesses within departments; review department productivity reports; evaluate existing technology; and review employee competency levels.
3. Evaluate the skills and limitations within the learning function
In addition to determining the learning staff’s capabilities, it is important to understand the learning resources and technology available to the learning department, as well as the learning department’s reputation throughout the organization.
4. Assess all of the organization’s learning resources
Once leaders ascertain what learning resources are available, they must get creative. This entails considering the different ways to combine and re-combine resources in order to increase learning capabilities within an organization.
5. Create a learning and development strategy
This strategy should include a specific training curriculum for each department. Leaders should communicate this plan throughout the entire organization. Once the strategy is implemented, consistently evaluate and refine. And don’t forget the important step of reporting on the results and exactly how each department’s key performance indicators have improved.
The bottom line is that developing strategic alignment with organizational strategies is clearly worth the time and effort. There is no question that developing an actionable learning strategy will yield meaningful improvements in an organization’s learning and productivity.