How Governance Can Align L&D with Business Strategy

It has been over three years since McKinsey Quarterly warned that new learning tools and platforms, designed to facilitate knowledge sharing and employee interactions, were “challenging — and sometimes appearing to sweep away” corporate academies.i Five years after the survey, organizations are implementing those technologies. They have become de rigueur in enterprise learning management systems. New platforms deliver social learning and mobile-enabled training “in the flow of work,” anytime and anywhere. The Learning Disconnect According to McKinsey’s research, only 57% of participants in a 2014 survey believed their academies aligned with organizational priorities. Only 52% reported that they enabled their companies to meet strategic objectives. Five years later, the struggle to align learning and development to business priorities continues. In Deloitte’s 2019 Global Human Capital Trends report, 86% of CEOs rated the need to improve learning and development in their organizations as important or very important. However, only 10% felt ready to address it.ii Who is addressing the gap? While we can agree that CLOs in leading organizations have strategic roles, many L&D leaders are too far down in the organization to have a big voice. They get a fixed budget and limited staffing, and then must deal with demands from both the top and the bottom to improve learning. If they can’t deliver, operating units find a way to fund off-the-shelf training or consultants. 21st Century Skills An example of the learning disconnect is the need to develop soft skills: communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity. (iii) Knowledge alone will not develop those skills. It requires experiential learning with coaching to build self-awareness and sensitivity to social cues necessary for social interaction. Yet too often, the default is to throw e-learning at the problem and provide brief in-person training. In a white paper, “Preparing the Workforce of Tomorrow: Learning and Development for a Changing World,” Else Powel Strong advocates an individualized, one-on-one approach coupled with AI-driven adaptive learning.iv While we agree with the strategy, we think many learning leaders don’t have the clout to make it happen. They need help, and we believe they will find it in their own organizations. If a business needs to up-skill or re-skill its workforce to remain competitive, that is a strategy problem—one that should involve the entire enterprise.v We believe the most viable path from tactical to strategic lies in learning governance: “the formal framework for managing decisions about learning and talent development.” (vi) It involves the enterprise at every level, from strategic decisions to daily learning. Learning Governance Framework The context of learning governance is organizational or corporate governance, which is accountable for the interests of stakeholders: shareholders, management, customers, suppliers, financiers, government, and the community.vii Ensuring that management is developing a viable workforce is a responsibility of the board of directors. Continue reading this blog from below url

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