What Happens When You Align Learning Strategy with Business Strategy

businesswoman addressing meeting around boardroom table

businesswoman addressing meeting around boardroom tableFor eight years, Chief Learning Officer magazine has honored top L&D organizations with their LearningElite awards. They say these awards go to “organizations that employ exemplary workforce development strategies that deliver significant business results.” The process is rigorous and peer-reviewed. The ultimate winner is chosen after the top five competitors compete in a final capstone project. Winners represent the elite when it comes to learning program success. Their secret is aligning their learning strategy with business strategy.

What makes these organizations elite? What separates them from countless other L&D groups? For clues, let’s look at two of this year’s winners.

Alignment From Day One

In this year’s competition, Deloitte earned fifth place. The company employs eight CLOs, each linked to a segment of the company. The point being to align the curriculum they create to the specific needs of the segment. Each CLO meets with the chief talent officer (CTO) in their segment. They learn the goals for client services, market growth, operational performance, and talent. These discussions lead them to define the learning and development priorities for the year. But it’s not just a one-time meeting. The ultimate goal of learning and talent development is to drive business performance, so they check in regularly to ensure the learning and talent functions are still in tune with the business reality. This alignment is built into the structure of their company

Your takeaway: When the focus of your team is to align learning strategy with business strategy, it raises the profile of the L&D function. It’s how learning professionals earn their seat at the executive table. L&D pros exhibit their expertise as they create strategies designed to improve outcomes and help the business reach its goals.

The Criticality of Learning

Accenture placed first among this year’s LearningElite award winners. The learning team noted that company leaders understand how essential learning is to the success of their business. In the article, Accenture Global Learning Lead Allison Horn makes a key point. She says “the business strategy and learning strategy are so intertwined that they think of them as one strategy.” Can you say the same for your organization? If not, why not, and how can you move toward that type of alignment? Part of the answer is for learning professionals to own their expertise. That comes through dedication to learning the science behind effective training design. L&D pros with instructional design (ID) experience know how to create measurable, repeatable learning programs. ID skills are the secret to creating programs that improve performance.

Your takeaway: The professionalism of the L&D function is a two-way street. Learning professionals trained in ID must deliver results that command respect. Stakeholders must see the role the learning function plays in achieving long-term goals.

Aligning Learning Strategy with Business Strategy Delivers Results

When L&D pros align themselves with their business partners, what results should you see?

  • A belief among company leaders that learning programs are essential for success
  • Learning teams produce hard data showing the impact learning has on the business
  • L&D pros that have earned their seat at the executive table
  • Learning teams and business teams speaking the same language of business results

At eParamus, we train learning professionals to align learning strategy with business strategy. Do you want to learn how to do this within your organization? Then please contact us here at eParamus. We can show you how to make this critical link.

Please follow eParamus on LinkedIn and feel free to connect with me, Laura Paramoure, PhD to discuss the learning challenges you face.

Photo copyright: stockbroker / 123RF Stock Photo


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