L&D leaders are failing to tap into the expertise of their providers

by | Mar 16, 2017 | Articles, Featured | 0 comments

Towards Maturity research has long shown the importance of the relationship between L&D leaders and their learning providers. Yet, only 3 in 5 L&D leaders understand the critical questions that they need to ask of their learning providers.

From a technology perspective, 89% of L&D leaders work with their suppliers to provide live online platforms, 75% to use learning management systems, 57% to develop custom content and 45% to offer best practice video from outside of the organisation.

Whilst expectations from using the tools are high, the promise does not always follow. Despite 96% wanting to improve organisational performance, only 25% believe they are currently achieving it. 90% are looking at learning innovation to drive business innovation but only 17% believe they are getting the results they want.

And this isn’t an isolated incident. Our Annual Benchmark Report, Unlocking Potential, highlights that whilst we are all looking to deliver business impact, few have the skills to design content or embed technology effectively. What’s more, only 60% believe that they understand the critical questions they need to ask of their learning providers to fully harness the potential of the solutions that they are buying.

In contrast, Top Deck organisations (the top 10% of the Towards Maturity Index, consistently reporting the best results from across the benchmark sample) are three times as likely to report that their solutions are improving performance and driving innovation and, what’s more, over 90% are tapping into the expertise of their providers as part of their strategy to unlock the organisation’s potential.

So how can we ensure we’re helping L&D professionals to follow the Top Deck’s lead and ask the right questions of their provider?

Towards Maturity’s Ambassadors, currently 27 companies from across the L&D industry, work collectively to drive change. Identifying and improving effective practice, raising awareness and driving the L&D profession forward. Between them, they serve more than 300,000 customers across the globe.

At our latest Ambassador briefing we asked them: “What are the critical questions that need to be asked of suppliers to deliver results that unlock potential?” With more than 300 years of experience between these senior leaders, a number of themes emerged:

How can we improve our user experience?

  • How can we make the technology we use in the business for HR as good as apps/websites we use in ’normal life’?
  • How can we integrate learning and work?
  • How can we enable our managers to support learning application?
  • How can we create an environment that makes people excited, happy and wanting to stay in the company?

How can I improve organisational performance in this area?

  • Be specific, be clear on your organisational strategy and where the project fits
  • Ask yourself are there new ways we should approach this problem that we’ve not thought about before?
  • Ask for evidence, examples of impact and effective practices
  • How will we evidence an improvement in performance?

How can we work together to demonstrate value?

  • What does good look like?
  • What is the total cost of ownership?
  • Best price does not always provide best value – how can you build an effective business case for all stakeholders and not just for purchasing

What will the future look like for you?

  • Learning initiatives establish the groundwork for the future, what is your provider’s vision for the future and does it map with yours?

To be forward-thinking and future focused, L&D professionals need to ensure they are getting the best solution for their unique needs. The world of work is changing at an incredible pace and today’s learning professionals play an essential role in equipping staff for constant change. Make sure you’re asking the right questions to get the answers you need to unlock the potential of your organisation.

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