How to Align L&D with the Organisational Strategy?

March 11, 2024 hr-hrobserver-learninganddevelopment

To gain insight into the Learning and Development requirements of your organisation, you must first understand where your business is going and your organisation’s strategic direction. Any company that has a vision, mission, and strategy must then employ or upskill people to ensure alignment with the strategic direction and so they can fulfill their roles to achieve the overall strategy of the company.

Therefore, before developing your long-term strategy, you will need to understand: What competencies your employees possess and which competencies are essential to support strategic and operational business priorities. Moreover, analyse your business’s strengths and competitive advantages. Understanding your customers’ needs and how your customers’ needs may change are also keys to help you maneuver through.

Goal Setting: Establishing the “Wanted State” is one of the first things you must perform to determine what kind of learning state your employees need based on your organisation’s, department’s, or team’s goals and objectives. You can use a variety of sources to help you define the WFD, such as your strategic plan, performance criteria, job description, feedback from your customers, industry insights, or best practice guidelines. You will also want to involve your key stakeholders in defining the desired outcomes, whether you’re a manager, supervisor, or subject matter expert, as they’ll have important insights and expectations to share.

Where are you now: Measure the current status quo of your employees’ learning needs based on their current performance and behavior. There are many ways to measure your employees’ current status. Through a competency gap analysis by analysing the job description and the Competency Framework to identify 5 or 6 competencies needed to efficiently do that job. Once these gaps are analysed, there are different methods of identifying if someone needs to upskill themselves to be competent to do that job. The methods include interviews, standardised testing, and collating information from performance reviews, amongst others.

What are the gaps: Compare the data you collected in the preceding steps to determine the gaps between your desired and current level of your employees’ learning needs. You can use a variety of tools to do this, including gap charts, matrixes, tables, and graphs.

It’s also important to prioritise the gaps based on how strategic they are, how urgent they are, how feasible they are, and how much they cost. Each competency, depending on the job, will need to be categorised for the person to have either Basic Skills, Competent Skills, Advanced Skills, or Expert skills. Based on the proficiency levels, priority will be given where you need to have advanced or expert skills.

What can you do: There are solutions to address the shortcomings in gaps within your organisation. That could be done by creating and implementing training or other development interventions to meet your employees’ learning needs.

You can use a variety of criteria to select the right solutions, including effectiveness, efficiency, appropriateness, or sustainability. Your employees’ learning styles, preferences, and motivations, as well as resources, time, and budget, should also be taken into account when recommending solutions.

Other than training and development, it is important to promote a learning culture within the organisation. Employees should be encouraged to take ownership of their learning journey, actively seek growth opportunities and share best practices with their colleagues.

Coaching and Mentoring are often a key tool that helps to support employees to bridge the skills gap. Learning from a coach who can guide an employee or share knowledge is an invaluable resource.

Other initiatives that can address the shortcomings in the skills gap are job rotation, performance management, and reward and recognition programs.

Agnes Mouawad

Management Consultant, Vanguards Consulting

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