Modernising Learning: Delivering Results – The Business Leader’s Perspective

by | Oct 30, 2014 | Articles

Dr Chai Patel CBE FRCP, Chairman of HC-One, challenges business and learning leaders to take action in his foreword to the 2014-15 Benchmark Study.

Any organisation can have an aspiration to be whatever it is they want to be.

In our case HC-One was created in just 94 days as we stepped in to rescue over 220 care homes from a provider on the brink of financial collapse. Faced with a legacy of damaged morale among staff, we’ve taken on a pretty daunting, rather ambitious task of wanting to be the kindest care home operator in the UK. You can’t achieve a goal like that without providing the best people with the best skills, the best values and the best approach.

Our goal was to achieve complete transformation and it was imperative that we achieve it quickly. This is why we made learning and development a catalyst for change. In doing so, we’ve shown that modernising learning has delivered results that matter to our staff, to our residents and to our shareholders.

I welcome the findings outlined in the 2014-15 Towards Maturity Benchmark Study because they provide clear evidence that learning innovation has the potential to drive this level of business transformation across any business in any sector.

The evidence for change, gathered from over 600 L&D leaders and 5,000+ learners over the last year, is compelling. Learning innovation, done well, is delivering business impact, improving staff engagement and productivity.

This report highlights that to deliver its full potential, a modernised learning strategy has to focus on outputs first. This means that as business leaders we need to take genuine ownership and allow quality time to the issue of building skills at board level. We need to back our demands with resources. We expect to be able to recruit skilled people and so often we consider internal investment in learning to be a cost. However, for many the education system is flawed and for businesses to be successful we need to take the longer term view. This means a commitment to recruiting the right people and to building their skills. And we must invest in the right tools to meet their needs. An all modern IT platform, new media, resources, online communities and redefined courses, they are all part of the essential modernised learning mix that builds business success.

Modernising learning also demands that today’s learning professionals need to respond faster and support learning and performance at the point of need.

This report shows that today’s L&D professionals are more hungry than ever before to support long term business change but whilst the top performing learning organisations are forging ahead, many are failing to achieve their potential.

I believe that the evidence presented highlights that both business and learning leaders need to challenge their thinking about learning and its role in business transformation.

For business leaders, it is clear that we must recognise that we have to define purpose and outputs at a board level. We need to put effort into making what we are doing at board level relevant at an individual level. We must say to our staff ‘you matter and your contribution matters’.

The Learning and Development team is as critical to you as your finance, marketing and product design teams. We need to hire the kind of L&D professionals who know how to design interventions for modern businesses that work for individuals and deliver real change.

We need to expect more. As business leaders, if we demand that our learning function just delivers courses (live or online) then that is what we will get! Instead we need to keep our focus, and the focus of our learning teams, on critical outputs that are essential for the business. Be clear about what we are trying to achieve but be open minded to the solutions.

To learning leaders, I would encourage you to use the evidence outlined in this report to challenge your own thinking about the critical role that you can play in supporting change and building performance. Build the skills and attitudes within your L&D teams that will help you design and support learning interventions that support individual aspiration and organisational goals. Don’t rely on technology alone to deliver results but focus on outcomes, work with (and sometimes challenge) your business leaders to achieve them.

This report shows that business and learning leaders need to work together and provides an evidence based approach to help us achieve just that. The New Learning Agenda at the heart of this study is a shared learning agenda that sets out a roadmap for both business and learning leaders to make business transformation possible.

I encourage business and learning leaders alike to use the evidence from the Towards Maturity Benchmark Study to challenge traditional thinking about learning, performance, talent, technology and change. But don’t just read it, take action where it counts to deliver lasting business transformation.”

Dr Chai Patel, CBE FRCP
Chairman, HC-One

About HC-One

HC-One provides dementia, nursing, residential and specialist care for older people, with 15,000 staff working at over 220 separate locations. The business transformation achieved has been recognised by staff, by external validation, by UK government (as reported in the Cavendish Report) and by the wider learning and business community, (winning 9 awards for excellence in 2013/14)

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