2020 is now well and truly upon us, and many Learning and Development (L&D) functions are putting together their plans for the year ahead. We all know the benefits of training for both the employer and organisation. For most, these are a given and few would deny the generic benefits, which include:
• Improved employee motivation and well-being
• Reduced employee turnover
• Improved organisational efficiencies
• Reduced organisational risk
• Increased capacity to adopt new technologies
Historically, L&D teams could often justify their L&D spend on the benefits above without too much question. However, today this is not enough. Although most business leaders would accept these generic benefits, in tough economic times, this can sometimes not be a strong enough business case to justify the investment required – particularly when there are often countless competing priorities.
So, what is the answer for L&D teams? How do you create your plans and strategies that can demonstrate real business value over and above what is often thought to be the ‘softer benefits’ (even though all of the generic reasons would have financial impacts)?
The key is to link your L&D plans to the organisational strategy and demonstrate how L&D can truly support the organisation to succeed. This is a bold statement, but is one that I truly believe. L&D is a key enabler to organisational success and can add real, tangible, business value if done right. But remember, if you make this claim then you will need to be able to back this up later on in terms of ROI metrics.
So now is the time to make sure that your L&D plans are aligned to your business strategy and my ‘top tips’ for this are as follows:
1. Engage with your Senior Leadership teams to understand the organisational goals and challenges – make sure you really understand these and question the links to skills in each case.
2. Don’t just focus on the tactical priorities – build a 3-5 year plan that articulates how L&D can support the business strategy over the long-term.
3. Agree the business KPIs for the training upfront – what measurable things do you want people to be doing as a result of the training? If you can agree these and build them into the training programme, you will be able to measure ROI. “For an investment of £X, we got an improvement in Y-metric”.
4. Acknowledge where you don’t have the internal expertise or resource to deliver the solutions. Your role as an L&D team is about facilitating the intervention – if you have the right partners, you can often deliver more in a shorter time period.
5. If you are using a supplier, then partner with one which has an in-depth understanding of your business and sector, as well as the L&D expertise – having this will enable them to really partner with you to align development solutions to business goals. They can even support you to articulate the links and benefits to your business leaders.
Would you like to discuss your training plans for 2020?
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General Manager – Learning and Development
A Bit More About Andy:
Andy Kennard has a BA (Hons) in Business Information Systems and a Post Graduate Certificate in the Psychology of Organisational Development and Change as well as over 10 years’ experience leading Learning and Development programmes from both in-company positions and as a training content provider. Andy’s in-depth expertise of all aspects of the people agenda including Learning and Development, Performance Management, Change, Talent, and Employee Engagement. At Industry Forum Andy heads up the Learning Centre and is responsible for the learning and development aspect of the organisation.
Click here to contact Andy.