In a recent webinar hosted by the Learning Performance Institute (LPI), James Frappell, Customer Success Director at Go1 was joined by Andrew Bardsley, Senior Talent Development Partner at Modular to discuss ways that L&D professionals can add business value back to their organisations, providing tangible tips, real case studies and actionable advice to the audience throughout.
James Frappell kicks off the sessions with a key challenge and question - do L&D leaders make the distinction between learning value and business value? Leaning on takeouts from a series of round tables conducted by Go1 in partnership with learning leaders from across the globe, James asks the audience “When you talk about the value of L&D to your organisation, what narrative of success do you use?” Out of six options shared in the poll, only 40% of respondents chose business performance though James and Andrew are adamant this is the key to breaking through to build better business partnerships and buy-in.
James discusses the fact that most L&D professionals are comfortable talking about learning value, using satisfaction surveys, course completions etc. as their metrics for success, but nowhere near as many are at ease with reporting how they can add value to their actual business. Communicating with leaders in a language they understand, such as business value, will help to reach a wealth of opportunities including additional training resources, buy-in from C-Suite executives, investments in project sponsors, growing teams and, will unlock more employee time for L&D.
Andrew illustrates this by demonstrating how L&D professionals can speak the right language to grab attention from their business leaders. As a talent development leader at Modular, he explains that he too needed to learn how to show his peers how L&D programmes could truly help navigate wider business problems. He recounts how a senior executive came to his team for a quick fix solution in their division, and, rather than jumping straight into the problem, they looked at the root to unpick what the cause for these issues were step by step, taking the senior executive on a journey with them. After a successful endeavour, the L&D department was propelled to the top of the business agenda, with internal senior champions supporting and investing in their projects throughout the year.
In the next chapter of the webinar, Andrew and James look at Go1’s 50 tips for increasing business value, picking three core tips to get started: redefining value, pursuing business goals rather than silver bullets, and sharing ownership. Both panellists emphasise the need for L&D departments to leverage data in order to get better cut through internally. Having the numbers and figures to show growth, or lack thereof is a great way to get the attention of business leaders in a language they can grasp immediately. The panel also unpick the topic of shared ownership at length, stressing the importance of wider internal support and broader accountability for L&D efforts across the business.
The webinar ends with one last piece of advice: be realistic, and prioritise. Business leaders will demand immediate change but be true and honest about what you can achieve, what is possible and what elements are going to move the needle to impact the business the most positively - you, are the L&D professionals.