To develop a successful learning organization is to constantly become better at responding to strategies and the individuals needs, ensuring that learning transfer into organizational capabilities in a cost and time efficient way. At a basic level, there are certain capabilities that the L&D function needs to implement, such as
- Curating learning resources that meet the needs of your employees and organization.
- Methods for developing user-focused learning experiences (e.g. Design Thinking).
- Create solutions that ensure performance at work (e.g. Performance Consulting)
- Measure and evaluate learning and performance at work (e.g. Analytics).
- Implement an ecosystem of digital platforms. (e.g. Integration, UX design)
- Changing behaviours and cultures in learning (e.g. Change management)
- Facilitate and encourage social learning. (e.g. Social coaches)
- and more.
It is not just a question of working with new learning methods. Equally important is to introduce effective working methods such as “Performance Consulting”. The learning methods are associated with the technology used, e.g. LXP or social platforms. Organization and governance determine how learning is adapted to the needs of employees and operations how the work is coordinated and becomes effective. To make everything happen, new roles and competencies within the L&D function are needed. The most important thing to encourage a change in behaviors is a learning culture. Coherence for the development of all these areas is the learning strategy developed by the organisation.
Developing the new abilities and achieving a higher maturity in learning takes many years. It requires a strategy, a clear plan, a strong mandate, resources with the right skill and perseverance.
In my project assignments, I often work with helping companies develop their strategy and action plan to create a successful learning organization. Many of the changes to be implemented are often large and time consuming, and planned several years ahead, e.g. 5 years, but detailed for the next 2 years.
In order to develop the action plan, a target of how success looks like should be developed. It can be a vision of what learning looks like in the organization in 5 years. It is also about what capabilities you should have built up as a learning organization with a clear goal.
To develop this goal, you need to analyse how the company’s strategy require learning. The analysis includes understanding both the needs of the business and of the employees now and in the future. You should analyse factors broadly, such as customer behavior, technology and how competition affect the company and learning. Using “best practices” in understanding which capabilities need to be built up is important. Research from, for example Bersin Deloitte can help here.
When the end goal is complete, you need to understand the current state of all the capabilities that you have set as target. Obstacles in the form of existing skill resources, mandates, understanding in the organization, etc. need to be analyzed.
With both a target and an understanding of the current situation, you are ready to develop the action plan on how to proceed. It will include a lot of change, skill development of own resources, but also tactics and questions about how to get the mandates and resources necessary to succeed.