Aligning learning with business strategy

Aligning learning with business strategy

It’s not just a choice, it’s a necessity in a fast-changing world

Time and resources have become more precious than ever. Balancing personal interests with work responsibilities often leaves little room for learning that doesn’t directly contribute to our immediate objectives and future needs.

This challenge isn’t unique to individuals but holds true for organisations as well. The days of mindless, box-ticking training and development activities are behind us; the new imperative is aligning learning with our strategic objectives.

Research by Deloitte has exposed a stark reality: only 40% of companies say their learning strategy harmonises with their business goals, and a mere 13% ensure that their leadership development initiatives sync with their business strategy. This misalignment poses a significant threat to an organisation’s growth and prosperity.

Why align learning with strategy? 

Business leaders have discovered the importance of aligning learning initiatives with strategic goals. A report by LinkedIn corroborates this fact, showing that companies doing so are not only more likely to report positive business outcomes but also outperform their counterparts.

Deloitte’s research reinforces this point, revealing that organisations that invest in employee development aligned with their strategic objectives experience a remarkable 26% higher revenue per employee than those that don’t.

It’s not just a choice, it’s a necessity. The tangible benefits are profound:

Enhanced performance: By aligning learning initiatives with strategic objectives, employees acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in their roles elevating individual and organisational performance.

Skyrocketing productivity: Equipping employees with relevant training and development opportunities improves productivity. This heightened efficiency and effectiveness results in substantial progress towards achieving strategic objectives.

Innovation and adaptability: Fostering a culture of continuous learning ensures that employees remain up-to-date with industry trends, fostering an innovative and adaptable mindset, which is paramount in today’s rapidly changing business landscape.

Efficient resource allocation: Aligning learning initiatives with strategic goals ensures better allocation of resources. Training investments are directed towards areas that wield the most substantial impact, curbing waste.

Where to begin? To effectively align learning with your strategy, identify the capabilities that you deem critical to your success. Craft realistic learning goals and create practical, job-based learning programmes that empower your employees to actively practise the new behaviours and work methods that contribute to your success. However, to set the stage for success, consider these vital steps:

Secure leadership buy-in: It’s paramount to ensure your leadership team fully commits to aligning learning with the business strategy. They must lead by example, actively participate in learning initiatives, and vocally champion their significance. Given that this is a comprehensive organisational undertaking, their active involvement is key to overseeing various facets of it.

Assign responsibility: Designate a senior leader or team to own the alignment process. Empower them to coordinate, implement and meticulously track the alignment of learning initiatives. Make their role highly visible to underscore its significance.

Opt for quick-win initiatives: Start by selecting quick-win learning initiatives that support strategic goals. These should be low-risk and straightforward to implement, delivering tangible results quickly. Doing so will bolster confidence and manifest the change in real terms.

Define clear learning objectives: Grounded in the critical capabilities required, establish unambiguous learning objectives for each employee or team that directly advance the achievement of strategic goals.

Review existing programmes: Scrutinise your current learning and development programmes to pinpoint areas where alignment with strategic goals is lacking. Prioritise programmes that necessitate realignment, enhancement, or even elimination.

Ensure adequate resources: Make certain that your programmes are not only accessible but also engaging and adaptable, offering users a personalised learning experience tailored to their unique needs.

Aligning learning with strategy isn’t a mere trend; it’s a pivotal strategy in its own right. The benefits are profound, including synergy, less redundant efforts, improved performance and heightened profitability — imperative considerations for every leader and organisation.

The pursuit of aligning your workforce’s learning with your business strategy is an ongoing organisational commitment that must become part of your corporate DNA.

Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer, Managing Director, and Founder at SEAC — Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Centre. She is fascinated by the challenge of transforming education for all to create better prospects for Thais and people everywhere. Reach her email at arinya_t@seasiacenter.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa

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