I met up with a friend, recently, who was really enthusiastic about a course that she had recently attended at work. “That’s great!” I said, “How did it support you once you were back at work? Did you make any changes?” (I know, 2 questions in one, isn’t great). She looked quizzical. “So, what made it such a great course?”, I asked. “It was lovely for us to all be together and have some time for us away from work”, she answered. Now whilst, this might have been really important for the group, I found myself wondering about the investment that had been made and how it was aligned to strategy and performance & felt slightly disappointed for whoever had been running it, paying for it and sponsoring it.
L&D has changed since I started my first role, many moons ago; in the age of OHPs (Over-Head Projectors for those below a certain age), most of the input from the L&D team was up front & on our feet. Over the years, technology has not only improved but revolutionised the way we live our lives so that we’re not as reliant on learning from others on a course or from a book; every day, we have a wealth of information at our fingertips and can collaborate with people anywhere in the world.
For me, though, the purpose of L&D is still the same: to design L&D “resources” aligned to company culture and strategy that drive or enable tangible results in capability and performance and it’s really important to keep sight of this. Making technology augment what you do. The bottom line is that investing in the development of your people drives engagement and reduces turnover as well as the business being more successful. This goes way beyond the stand-alone course, as we know; it’s about co-creating with the organisation; being actively sponsored by Leadership; contracting with those who manage your “delegates” so that learning is embedded & there becomes a new and better way of doing things; managing processes so that they support your learning and measure the results. I recently created this for a client in the Pharmaceutical Industry:
Does this resonate with you? What are your top tips for driving competitive advantage through L&D?