This article has been co-authored by Michelle Ockers and Ravina Bhatia
While it’s always important to have a current organisational learning strategy, NOW is the perfect time to create or refresh your strategy. We’ve seen rapid, large-scale change in organisations the past 12-18 months. Clearly there was a need for Learning and Development (L&D) to support organisations to respond. And it created opportunity to make changes that many have aspired to for a long time. It’s time to consolidate and leverage these shifts by creating or refreshing your learning strategy– while the window is still open.
There is little practical guidance available on how to develop a high-impact organisational learning strategy. Learning Uncut is addressing this gap with a series of free monthly webinars, articles and resources. We recently ran the first of the webinar series, How to Create An Organisational Learning Strategy. To stay up to date with future webinars and resources subscribe to our Transform and Thrive newsletter via our blog home page.
What is an organisational learning strategy?
The term ‘learning strategy’ is used in at least two ways. It’s often used to describe the high-level design or approach that will be taken for a specific learning solution.
However, in the context we use it an organisational learning strategy is your overarching approach to learning in an organisation to support the implementation of the business strategy. It is not strategy for a specific learning solution, although it will inform the design of specific solutions or programs.
Why do you need a learning strategy?
Think of a learning strategy like a plan for building a house. Without a plan your house may not meet your needs and support your vision for your lifestyle. It can also lack structural integrity.
Similarly, a well-crafted learning strategy provides a strong framework to help you contribute to your organisation’s goals and strategy, and to create greater value. A coherent strategy ensures integrity in decisions about learning and approaches adopted to learning across your organisation.
A learning strategy provides principles and practices for learning that have been specifically shaped to meet the needs of your workforce, and potentially partners and customers - in a way that best suits them – and to motivate them to engage with learning.
Of course, it’s not just about creating engagement with learning. To get the most out of investments in learning, L&D leaders must take on a commercially strategic role within the organisation. In line with this, a robust learning strategy ensures that:
Do you have an up-to-date learning strategy?
In our recent learning strategy webinars we’ve asked attendees what condition their learning strategy is in. Fewer than 5% have an up-to-date strategy, while 38% haven’t started creating a strategy. The graph below shows the full range of responses.
If you are one of the vast majority who do not have an up-to-date strategy be aware that there has never been a more critical time to create or refresh your strategy. Read on - and join our future webinars for valuable practical guidance.
Let’s look at what’s in a strategy
We’ll start with what is not in a learning strategy. It’s not a list all of the programs or courses you are going to run and content you are going to produce. In most instances it doesn’t include the key capabilities or skills that your organisation needs to develop. These belong in operational documents and work plans. While your strategy will need to be reviewed for currency annually, it should not change substantially unless there are significant shifts in your organisation or environment.
Let’s look at what should be in a learning strategy. There are nine key elements to include:
That sounds like a lot doesn’t it! It can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming or daunting to create an organisational learning strategy. However, if done well, you can create a strategy that has high engagement in your organisation before you even launch it.
Our next blog will outline common pitfalls and outline a proven end-to-end process to avoid them and create a learning strategy. For a preview of the principles that underly this process you can download our learning strategy checklist using this link.
If you’d like guidance on your specific situation and next steps to create your learning strategy you can book a complimentary 30-minute consultation with one of Learning Uncut’s experts using link. We’ll also let you know how the L&D Strategy Builder can help you.