During a podcast produced by CIPD entitled “Pushing the boundaries of Learning and Development” Peter Butler, Director of Learning for BT Group, stated that
“Learning is about enabling organisations to transform themselves to serve their customers better and to provide people with the opportunity to learn what they need to learn to enable them to be more successful….. bring a commercial focus to it (learning) and realise that your role is about supporting business performance improvement nothing else.”
That simplifies things; the only reason we do training is to improve the bottom line. That doesn’t seem that radical to me; however, as an accountant that’s the perspective I have in business.
Philippa Lamb, the interviewer, continued “So is that actually the big shift that everyone’s looking for, the new trend in L&D? It’s not about techniques and methodologies, it’s actually about how you approach the thought of what it’s for.”
For me the question highlights the extent to which Learning and Development as a core business function often gets lost in the detail. The detail about how and when to deliver training, often the same old training we’ve always had.
It seems obvious but many companies will do what they’ve always done or they’ll do nothing. Some companies, probably many SMEs will not have a Learning and Development Strategy. If a company has a L&D strategy, will the leader(s) feel comfortable about the extent to which that strategy is commercially focused? In order to know the answer to the question “how effective is our L&D strategy at improving our bottom line”, training evaluation has to be really clear.
If it sounds daunting, take heart. The good news is that it’s never too late to implement a L&D strategy and in my opinion there’s never been a better time to do it with so many cost effective and accessible training options available.