Do you have a learning and development (L&D) strategy in place? Does it support the business plan objectives, or, is it just a list of cobbled together activities that are nice to do? Is the impact on that business plan actually measured?
Successful L&D strategies ensure that employees within an organisation are equipped with all the tools and training they need to grow and develop in their roles. Those last two are systematic for getting great people to join you in the first place! When executed well, L&D strategies have endless benefits for employers and employees. For employees, L&D allows them to learn new skills in order for them to excel in their job. And, as a result of this, employers are able to reap the full advantages of having highly-motivated, highly-skilled, highly adaptable people on their team.
However, having an L&D strategy and successfully implementing one are two very different things. Recent surveys, AT Kearney being one, show that 50% of top line strategic plans fail in execution – so what hope for an L&D strategy. Time and time again, businesses put L&D strategies on the back-burner in total disregard of their importance. But, they should be treated with the utmost importance, as only then will employees will be able to work to their full potential.
Let’s take the world of sport as an example. All athletes practice continuously to stay in peak fitness and to be able to keep moving up to the next level. In the corporate world, L&D strategies need to be worked on continuously in order for them to be effective. But, in the majority of cases, L&D is at best ad hoc and severely lacking in both consistency and follow up.
Like an athlete, L&D strategies need to be put into practice every day. In the same way that an athlete’s performance is reviewed, these strategies also need to be reviewed to determine if they are working or not. This will allow businesses to identify any weak points within their strategies; similar to an athlete’s coach giving them areas to work on during training. An athlete’s training is continuous, and so should be the implementation of L&D strategies across the entire workforce of a business.
There’s no denying that effective L&D strategies result in an extremely efficient, highly-skilled workforce, which in itself will guarantee employers a solid return on investment. But with so many strategies still failing to hit the mark, we need to ask ourselves one question: when will we start taking L&D seriously?