Can You Transform L&D from Order-Taker to Business Partner?

Transform L&D in your business by using metricsDo you think your learning organization can change from being an order taker to a true business partner? Does that sound like a dream? Do you think you can transform L&D in  your organization?

If you think it sounds farfetched, you’re not alone. This struggle has been going on for quite some time.

Many learning officers and the businesses they serve hold onto the false belief that training is a nice-to-have perk. Learning isn’t a value-add for the business. It can’t be measured or quantified and you certainly can’t prove that it adds a dollar value to the bottom line. And, if the organization needs to make budget cuts, then the learning function should be first in line.

I’ve railed against these limiting beliefs for some time, both here on my blog and in my book, ROI By Design.

Check out these posts to read some of my thoughts on this very subject:

Because this topic is such a passion of mine, I love it when I transition my clients away from this mindset. I also enjoy when I hear of others who have seen the light.

Transform L&D With Data

Take for example, this story recently posted by Chief Learning Officer Magazine. It describes how a financial tech company transformed their tiny learning department (only 2 people!) from the role of order taker to the role of business partner.

How did they do it? Metrics and measurement, of course! That’s where the rubber meets the road in the learning function. Businesses believe in data and proof. If you want to change L&D from a touchy-feely, smiley sheet function to a partner that is listened to and valued, data is your answer.

Consider this quote from the article:

One of the key challenges that learning organizations face today is getting a seat at the decision table. The learning and development challenge is to demonstrate impact on business performance…”

And this:

…[A]s the organization began to look more closely at overall business results, it recognized that learning and development could be a key differentiator in business performance.

Until then, the company’s learning organization — made of two employees — lacked a learning strategy, specific goals and metrics. It implemented several one-off training classes but was unable to quantify business impact.”

The Steps You Need to Transform L&D

As you read the article, I see the same steps that I go through with my own clients.

First, they realized their current actions would not cut it in today’s business environment.

Second, they assessed the business L&D needs.

Third, they prioritized those needs based on value to the business.

Next, they partnered with the business leaders inside the company and learned how to speak the language of business.

They then determined the metrics to measure, created learning programs aimed at those metrics, and then measured the impact of learning on the business.

It sounds so simple when you spell it out like that, but so many L&D functions and businesses find it so hard.

It really shouldn’t be. (See: Training ROI Is A Struggle—But It Shouldn’t Be)

Are you facing this struggle now? Do you wish you knew how to measure training so you could prove its business impact? To learn more, I hope you’ll check out the other blog entries that I’ve mentioned in this post. And if you want an in-depth exploration of this topic, consider order my book, ROI By Design. It will help you see just how simple this transformation can be.