It’s high time that everyone owns learning

by | Aug 9, 2018 | Articles, Featured, General, Interviews

Jenny Lycett thinks it’s high time that everyone owns learning, not just the L&D department. “I think there are plenty of benefits from organisations seeing L&D as a shared responsibility and I think this is a huge change from what we’ve seen in the past,” she says.

The Head of Marketing at global workplace learning company Kineo, Jenny says one of the great things about Towards Maturity’s 2018 benchmarking report, ‘The Transformation Curve’, is this idea of ‘shared responsibility’.  It’s the fourth stage of maturity in the transformation model and when organisations reach this stage, then the business and L&D are working together to make learning decisions.

Why does Jenny, a Towards Maturity ambassador, think this is so important?  “It feels as if the L&D profession has been struggling with this idea of ‘control’ for some time.  We’ve been using phrases like ‘let’s not become a bottleneck’ and ‘let’s put learners in the driving seat’ for a long time.  But, after all, we really are all in it together.”

When L&D and the business work together, that’s when L&D can start having a significant impact on the organisation.  Jenny says that when there is joint responsibility for learning, L&D is then party to and contributing to, much wider business data – things like efficiency measures, sales targets, margin improvement, talent retention rates.  “And then we can start measuring outcomes and significant business results.”  Without that joint responsibility, Jenny thinks L&D will restrict itself to just measuring outputs, such as completion rates and learner satisfaction, but not the deeper, more insightful business data that can lead to change and real business impact.

Of course, being all in it together means involving the learner too.  Learner needs should be at the heart of learning, whilst still being aligned to overall organisational needs.  Jenny thinks L&D and learners need to share responsibility. “It doesn’t just mean the L&D function saying ‘OK, over to you – you’re all responsible for your own career development from now on’.  It’s a meeting in the middle.  You tell us the tools you want, we’ll provide them in the most suitable way we can.  You access and use them whenever you need to.”

The other group of people that L&D needs to be working with is external partners.  Jenny says that if L&D works in close collaboration with its external training providers, then those training providers can make sure that what’s on the table will help the organisation on its journey to transformation.  “As a trusted partner we won’t just try and sell you something or just tell you what you want to hear – we’ll challenge, question and really unpick what you are trying to achieve.  The longer term benefit of that is that you’ll embed a learning culture in your business a lot more easily and your L&D team will start to develop a consultative, problem-solving culture in how it approaches the rest of the business.”

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