The L&D challenge for 2014: Balancing business priorities and individual needs


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In this webinar, Laura Overton discusses one of the modern day challenges of today’s L&D department – how to balance the needs of business and individuals. For the past ten years, Towards Maturity research has focused on the behaviours of successful learning organisations. Alignment to business priorities has always a critical component to success, but the careful attention to the requirements of individual staff members is becoming increasingly pressing. This session looks at ten tips to get the balance right so that L&D can engage more learners AND deliver against the bottom line.

This webinar was conducted in conjunction with Towards Maturity’s founding Ambassador- Corporate Learning Consortium on the 28th of March 2014. The full recording can be found at We’d recommend that you share this at your next L&D team meeting! The session draws on findings from the 2013-14 Towards Maturity Benchmark Study – the New Learning Agenda, which can be downloaded for free at:

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The L&D challenge for 2014: Balancing business priorities and individual needs

  1. 1. The L&D challenge for 2014: Balancing business priorities and individual needs 28th March 2014 Laura Overton Laura@towardsmaturity org lauraoverton 28th March 2014 In association with
  2. 2. The balancing act business alignment is increasing priority, so is staff engagement with learning The needs of business leaders: • Business priority • Managing Change/Agility • Talent • Results The needs of Staff: • Relevance • Flexibility • Recognition • Support
  3. 3. Responses from webinar delegates: Where do you focus your attention right now? Meeting the needs of business 11% Meeting the needs of individuals 17% Both – but it is hard to get the balance right 63% Neither- we are mainly focussed on course delivery 17% None of the delegates felt that they were currently able to focus on business and individual needs successfully
  4. 4. Get the balance wrong When we focus purely on: • Efficiency • Bottom line results Staff maybe reluctant to engage
  5. 5. Get the balance wrong The business maybe reluctant to pay! Focus purely on Experience Choice Flexibility
  6. 6. Getting the balance right Business priority Managing Change Talent Results Relevance Flexibility Recognition Support Alignment Speed Customer driven Performance Focus for L&D: The Towards Maturity New Learning Agenda highlights 4 areas of focus that allows us to create the right balance – download at
  7. 7. Limited understanding of stakeholder, 31% Resources (Budget/Time), 50%, Credibility of L&D, 19% Other, 13% What is the biggest challenge in getting the balance right? What practical tips can we learn from top performing organisations to help us achieve this? Responses from webinar delegates:
  8. 8. Find out what the problem is! Alignment – Tip 1 Only 55% agree that they analyse the problem before recommending a solution Recommended Resources:
  9. 9. Listen – to everyone! • All stakeholders • Advice on needs • Guiding development at all stages • Influencing • Support • Review Alignment- Tip 2 Set up a steering group ‘training is training, but what we actually do in the workplace is different’ How to overcome the culture shift? The steering group was fundamental to award winning success of Touch Programme at HC-One HC-One case study can be found in Feb 2014 Edition of eLearning Age magazine
  10. 10. Keep it simple Our recommendation is to be brave, challenge and take risks but keep your focus. Do one thing, do it well then move on! Reducing call handling times at • Addressing top 4 issues only • Short & sharp • Shared via a simple portal • Clearly communicated Jason Pitfield, L&D Manager LV= Winner of LPI Social & Collaborative Learning Award Speed- Tip 3 See page 45 New Learning Agenda for more information
  11. 11. Respond fast • The Help desk challenge • The quick response – Youtube Style • Relationship - tracking impact • Reduction in help desk calls by 50% Speed – Tip 4 See full case study for more inspiration
  12. 12. Create clear paths for progress Driving leadership and innovation for competitive advantage What does a good lawyer look like? Customer driven – Tip 5 22% of L&D teams support career aspirations (or personal job goals) yet 66% of learners say recognition is important to them Resulting Skills Compass helps maps roles, defines content strategy See full case study for more inspiration
  13. 13. How do you know what is important to your learners? Responses from webinar delegates: We ask them – systematically gathering feedback, 31% We ask them – annecdotes and conversation, 25%We guess, 19%, We don’t , 38%,
  14. 14. 90,000 staff Converting compliance training meant challenging L&D assumptions about learners: Only 30% training staff owned smartphones compared to 80% of soldiers The result? 7 basic modules converted to apps Take the time to understand your learners ‘Less about me, more about you Customer driven- tip 6 See full case study for more inspiration
  15. 15. Design to connect Customer driven- Tip 7 • Connecting with reality- The Bystander issue • Gritty , immersive • Powerful storylines • Real life accounts • As close to real world as you can get Resuscitation Council & Unit 9 breathes new life into e-learning – lessons from a multiple award winner Lifesaver Project See full case study for more inspiration
  16. 16. Don’t neglect managers Less than half of L&D agree that their staff understand how their work is linked to the organisation's performance Performance- Tip 8 • Care home managers vital role • Able to localise messages • Local dashboards/Grids • Alerts • Local Learning Ambassadors HC-One case study can be found in Feb 2014 Edition of eLearning Age magazine
  17. 17. Communicate successes Performance- Tip 9 Reduced Call Handling times by 20% Communicated successes Stimulated demand • Tracking what is important to business • Reporting against business priorities • Capturing what is important to individuals • Sharing individual stories of success • Reviewing to keep learning aligned
  18. 18. What do you think will be the biggest benefit in getting the balance right in your organisation? Responses from webinar delegates: 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Learner engagement More resources allocated Deliver more bottom line value More credible L&D 69% 13% 63% 38%
  19. 19. These tips work! 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Learners put what they learn into practice quickly Learners recommend to colleagues to improve job performance Significant contribution to increasing our revenue Postive contribution to improvements in productivity Positive changes in staff behaviour Managers agree additional business benefit achieved Top Q average Q4
  20. 20. #CLCwebseries 10 years of insights An evidence based approach to learning that balances the needs of individuals and businesses The New Learning Agenda:
  21. 21. Do something! 1. Find out what the problem 2. Listen (to everyone) 3. Keep it simple 4. Respond quickly 5. Create clear paths for progress 6. Understand your learners 7. Design to connect 8. Don’t neglect managers 9. Communicate successes Tip 10
  22. 22. What will you do differently as a result of today? Find out more: Image credits: The Noun Project , thanks to Nate Eui, Fission Strategy and Lorena Salagre and thanks to Stuart Miles, Salvatore Vuono and digital Art
  23. 23. Download the New Learning Agenda Today Or ask us for your future proof L&D information pack
  24. 24. Leading learning organisations who share our passion that independent research should be freely available to all . To join or find out more go to: Download the New LearningAgenda for free today thanks to Towards Maturity Ambassadors
  25. 25. About Us Towards Maturity is a benchmarking practice that provides authoritative research and expert consultancy services to help assess and improve the effectiveness and consistency of L&D performance within organisations. It leverages the data gathered from the largest learning technology benchmark in Europe. Download our case studies to support your business case for change at Find out your own Towards Maturity Index to see if you are amongst the top learning companies at Lauraoverton Towardsmaturity New Learning Benchmarksn Contact us via: