At a workshop on the most pressing challenges for Learning and Development professionals, the issue of most concern was the need for corporate Learning and Development (L&D) to show business value to senior leadership and the participants' current lack of insight into how to achieve this goal.
Organisations need people who can continually adapt and learn in rapidly changing workplace environments. As talent development becomes key to future survival, organisations are paying close attention to the impact of learning and development activities on business outcomes. Senior leadership teams expect to demonstrate business value.
We provide some tips below on how L&D can show its contribution to achieving strategic goals and delivering business value. For our full report 'How to Demonstrate the Business Value of Learning' by Peter Gillis, Learnovate, scroll down and complete the form.
Assemble your champions
Gauge the appetite for engaging with L&D across departments and identify champions, partners, or sections within the organisation that wants to work with L&D to solve a problem.
Make a start
Don’t try to change everything at once. Identify a learning intervention linked to a business target that is easy to work with and treat it as a pilot to test a new process for showing business value.
Keep decision-makers close
Establish the exact expectations of senior management in advance and get their buy-in from the start. Build close relationships with Finance and HR to identify desired business outcomes and frame what success looks like.
Identify root cause
Ensure you understand the issues at a root-cause level. Use the 5 Whys technique to investigate the cause of the problem you plan to tackle. You need to be sure that the problem is one that L&D is suited to solving.
Produce your plan
Generate a solid, specific evaluation plan based on facts and figures and aligned with a business challenge. You can build on this plan to create templates and embed processes to measure business value and behavioural change on every project.
Watch your language
Use language that resonates with the senior leadership team and key stakeholders. For Finance, Commercial and the CEO, speak in numbers to show concrete evidence of business impact.
Explore and experiment
Don’t be afraid to be accountable. Start with a pilot, experiment, measure and re-iterate. If you don’t achieve the goal, you learn what does not work and modify the plan until you achieve success.
Dive into the data
Introduce a discovery phase to explore what data you can use to show the impact of the problem you plan to address. Figure out your baseline data before you start and decide how you will collect data during the intervention. Identify and monitor a control group of those who will not receive training to compare with at the end of the project. You want to use credible data sources and be conservative in your calculations to establish the validity of your evaluations.
Get specialist help
You may require a specialist skillset to access, gather and analyse the data you need to provide evidence of impact. Get help from the financial and commercial departments and any other departments that collect data you need. Partnering with key departments will build trust and add credibility to your evaluations.