Author Topic: Being a strategic partner to the business  (Read 1003 times)


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Being a strategic partner to the business
« on: April 19, 2017, 11:47:07 PM »
Being a strategic partner to the business

Research shows that learning and development is absolutely critical to the success of every organization. Study after study shows that learning is a key factor in increasing employee engagement, as well as attracting and retaining top talent. In addition, the act of learning is the only way an organization grows and improves. Organizations that succeed have cultures that encourage and empower every individual to learn from their experiences and grow in their mastery of skills. But the vital role of L&D can be diluted if it's not setup correctly at the beginning.

It's very common that in the evolution of organizations that the HR function is brought in first. After all, once the founders hire a few employees, there's a real impressing need to address compensation and benefits, payroll, and adhere to the ever-growing complexity of employment law, and because one of HR's top priorities is risk mitigation, learning often first arrives in the form of compliance training. It's followed shortly by some kind of management training, again to address the problems that have arisen by the actions of some inept managers.

If you are not intentional about shifting the role of learning and development to be a strategic partner, it can remain in the service of risk mitigation, which is important, but ultimately not in the long-term interest of the success of your organization. It's your job to make sure that the learning function takes the lead on maximizing the potential of your talent. Initiate your partnership with leaders and HR professionals. Set up the meetings, and ask great consulting questions.

Take a deep dive into what the various functions need, and the current state of the employees' skills, abilities, and attitudes. Be sure you spend time identifying what ideal state looks like too. Explore what the top performers are doing that sets them apart from the rest. Get crisp on what peak performance looks like, both for your current phase in the Greiner Curve, and the next one coming. As you have these meetings, map your findings to the Learning Matrix I created, adding notes for Current and Ideal states.

This will give you a very real picture of what is needed, and will help you prioritize your learning initiatives. It will also help you engage in meaningful conversations about talent acquisition, management, and development. This becomes the roadmap for programs for your high potential talent, also called HiPos, as well as every employee group and function. It also plays a key role in succession planning, making sure that every vital employee is backed up by a viable successor who's being prepared to step in when needed.

This learning strategy or roadmap is something you'll want to share widely with key stakeholders as it will help you gain support and resources. Over time, you want to continue to drive the execution of your learning strategy, holding yourself accountable for delivering results that matter in your organization. If you want to have a helpful framework for how the learning function grows over time, and intersects with talent management, I highly recommend you use the Bersin frameworks published by Bersin & Associates which is now part of Deloitte.

There's quite a few frameworks, but I want to bring your attention to these two, as they will show you how you will build out the layers of learning over time as your organization grows and matures. As you can see, the model is held by Learning Strategy & Business Planning at the top, and standing on the groundwork of a Learning Culture. Learning strategy is delivered to various audiences via the learning architecture, using Solutions, Approaches, Disciplines, Tools & Technology. All of this is scaffolded by the value of measurement and organizational governance.

In addition, you can see the key role learning plays in the overall talent management strategy, both attracting and retaining key talent. It's also considered an important part of the rewards package. Please note that the talent strategy takes into account Workforce Planning, Capability and Competency, as well as Leadership Development, Succession Planning, Career Growth, and Performance Management. As you understand these frameworks, you can communicate the true value of L&D to the business, and that's what the best L&D professionals do every day.