How to make your L&D strategy more responsive and relevant

by | Jun 26, 2017 | Articles, Featured

In our 2016-17 Learning Benchmark Report, Unlocking Potential, we unpacked five key outcomes that learning and business leaders are looking to deliver: improving efficiency, fine-tuning processes, boosting performance, cultivating agility and influencing culture.

Our previous article in this series looked at five ways to boost performance through learning. This week, we look at how learning leaders can deliver more responsive and relevant learning – cultivating agility in the organisation.

Delivering learning and performance support at the speed of business is becoming a defining characteristic for modern L&D teams – 95% want to provide a faster response to changing business conditions and 97% want to speed up and improve the application of learning in the workplace.

Our research shows that the organisations responding quickly to business need are using a range of tactics that ensure learning is delivered at the point of need and is connected to business outcomes. Here are some of those tactics:

Encourage conversation

In Unlocking Potential we identify what we call agility achievers, those top performing organisations that are meeting their agility goals. These organisations focus on nurturing conversation and connection.

We find that 57% make use of learning communities (e.g. action learning) (vs 42% of non-achievers) and 57% promote communities of practices (communities to support working practices/subject interest groups) (vs 47% of non-achievers).

Effective communication is also critical to agile organisations with 87% using communication tools such as chat, instant messaging, SMS, newsletters and  forums  (vs 71% of non-achievers).

Facilitate connection

The agility achievers not only promote increased connectivity between their colleagues but also make it easy for them through the technology they use with 77% using  file and presentation sharing applications (e.g. GoogleDocs, Dropbox, Slideshare) (vs 55% of non-achievers).

They are also more likely to use tools that engage individuals as they learn together online. For example, audience response tools are used by 26% of agility achievers (vs 19% of non-achievers).

Tailor learning to individual need and context

Technology can help L&D teams identify skills gaps and performance needs. Our data shows that the most agile L&D teams use software tools to support competency management:

  • 46% are using a Competency Management System (vs 32% of non-achievers)
  • 52% are using skills diagnostic tools (vs 26% of non-achievers)
  • 67% have personal development plans (vs 49% of non-achievers)

Use content to connect and engage staff

Agile L&D teams use techniques that enable them to deliver engaging, easy to consume content with 62% applying storytelling techniques in instructional design (vs 32% non-achievers) and 42% provide micro-learning (i.e. under five minutes) where appropriate (vs 18% non-achievers).

It is worth remembering that you are preaching to the converted when it comes to your learners. They want this as much as you do.

Our 2016 Learning Landscape research shows that 86%  find working in collaboration with other team members essential or very useful and 82% find general conversations and meeting people essential or very useful.

And when it comes to using technology to do this, there is more good news as 80% are willing to use technology to share their knowledge to help others learn.

The message from our research is clear:

To be a more responsive L&D team, empower your staff by focusing on their needs and maximising their opportunities to learn in the most natural way, nurture communication and connection, design learning in smaller engaging chunks and gather feedback and data to inform ongoing decision making.

Discover your keys to success by benchmarking

If you want to see how your strategy compares and find out what actions you should be prioritising at the moment, benchmarking is a great place to start.

The Towards Maturity Benchmark reveals where you can make quick wins and gives you the data you need to make a solid business case for the future, with personalised feedback and scores on 19 areas of effective practice. Identify the tactics that will deliver greater impact for your organisation at:

Compare your L&D strategy with the Towards Maturity Learning Health Check

Compare your L&D strategy

Review your L&D strategy to discover your strengths and opportunities for improvement with the Towards Maturity Learning Health Check.

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