According to Claire Schooley’s report, published by Forrester Research Inc, learning programmes in innovative companies are directly linked to employee effectiveness and organisational success – making the learning executive more accountable to the business. The procurement of learning, orchestration of the learning programme and presentation of training classes are only part of the job. The key aspect of the modern learning executive’s job is making sure that learning initiatives measure employee performance and relate to key business metrics.
Among the report’s recommendations are that organisations must:
- Encourage and reward innovative thinking on non-traditional learning approaches, such as embedded training and simulations, but also reward business acumen that keeps learning aligned with business goals.
- Proactively plan learning experiences, cultural change initiatives and other employee behavioral change activities at least ten to 12 months ahead of the start of any company initiative.
- Examine the many learning options that are available in addition to instructor-led training. These options include coaching, web-based simulation and gaming, contextual learning, and search. Implement the ones that fit best with the organisation’s culture.
- Create a learning culture that understands and values both formal and informal learning.
Comment: There might just be time for learning/training departments in the private sector to adopt this strategy before the current economic conditions really begin to bite – in the New Year. Otherwise, we could return to the bad old days of training budgets being cut drastically; corporate training being at best the poor relation and, at worst, completely divorced from corporate planning; with minimal in-house staff development allied to ‘poaching’ others’ skilled staff for key jobs. Of course, those who fail to adapt can always hope for refuge in the public sector, where economics often plays second fiddle to politics.