Do you have a Learning Strategy that is integrated with your overall Talent Management strategy and is creating the business results that you expect?
Creating an effective Learning Strategy can be a daunting task. Research has shown that a Learning Strategy needs to be integrated with a comprehensive Talent Management strategy to have a positive impact to an organization’s business outcomes. More importantly, the overall Talent Management Strategy must be tied to measurable, meaningful business results.
Many organizations today have a Learning Strategy focused on providing some basic courses to meet the skills gaps of their workforce and staying in compliance. While this approach does meet the basic learning needs of an organization, it does not drive true business results. Here are a few steps that can help you create an effective Learning Strategy.
First, identify the issues that you want to address with your overall Talent Strategy. Are you having trouble finding candidates to fill your open positions? Do you have a strong pipeline of leaders? Has your employee engagement and productivity decreased? Focus on the most important issues impacting your organization.
Second, determine the key people needed to come to the table and define the business outcomes you are seeking to attain. These business owners should include and expand beyond the HR and Learning organizations. An October, 2010 Learning & Development study written by Mollie Lombardi of the Aberdeen Group states: “The top capability cited overall by 65% of all companies was visible senior leadership support for learning and development efforts. While direct managers are held accountable for development, senior leaders must make a visible effort to promote the importance of learning within the organization.”
Now that you have the right people involved, work together to define what your desired business results are and how those results can be measured objectively using business data to evaluate the effectiveness of the strategy. Be sure to focus on long-term goals to ensure the true success of your efforts.
Once your business outcomes and measurements are in place, evaluate the tools and programs that you can use to help meet those results. Do you need to create new or different Performance Goals across the organization? Are there new recruiting strategies that need to be put in place? How can you effectively utilize new learning opportunities to achieve your desired outcomes? Be innovative and use tools and programs that will engage, incent, and reward your employees.
Now for the fun part – the execution. Since you have included the key business owners needed to sponsor your strategy across the organization earlier in the process, it is time to get it started. Implement your new strategy with the support of your leadership team. The execution can be done in phases or all at once based on your business needs and the programs and tools you are using. Monitor the results of your strategy using your pre-defined goals and outcomes, both short-term and long-term. Adjust the strategy as needed to ensure that it has the greatest positive impact possible.
And finally – communicate your results. Be sure to let your key business owners know the results of your efforts, supported by real data, on an ongoing basis. Using the pre-defined measurements developed with these key stakeholders, you can effectively demonstrate the correlation between your Talent and Learning Strategy and the desired business results.