Among the many impacts of COVID-19 on businesses, the pandemic has reminded us of the importance of adaptability and having employees with the right capabilities in place. Even in booming times, volatility has always been lurking. Yet seemingly overnight, a reliance on technology emerged, as well as a deep uncertainty about the future.
Prior to the coronavirus crisis, businesses were already challenged by the breakneck pace of technological advancement and rising expectations of consumers and customers. Growing and succeeding in an environment marked by complexity and a lack of predictability necessitates building capability within organizations, which usually falls on the shoulders of learning and development (L&D) leaders.
L&D needs to be at its best in this environment. Business leaders everywhere are demanding their workforce capability be built faster, better, and in more cost-effective ways. Currently, only 18% of CEOs report confidence in their organizations’ progress of improving upskilling-focused learning programs.
More than ever before, L&D leaders need to improve the impact of their L&D function and, along with this need, evolve their L&D team’s capability. Just this week, we spoke with an L&D executive who shared, “I still have a team of L&D professionals who are operating as order-taking capacity. I quickly need to shift them to be more strategic and proactive – advising stakeholders of needs before they even know it’s an issue.” We can all agree that there is no quick fix for this dilemma. Maximizing the value and potential of an L&D team while ensuring alignment to what an organization really needs takes time and investment. But talent development that yields the most long-term value is more than simply upskilling or cross-training – it’s a strategic and methodical approach to building real capacity, to building analytical and entrepreneurial thinking. It’s also proven that organizations experience higher profits when L&D is a highly effective business partner that proactively identifies needs and develops effective, sustainable performance solutions. At the same time, transforming L&D to achieve this level of impact takes time and investment.
Here’s a key reality:
When L&D is just operating as a stand-alone function, they can be viewed as a line item ripe for cutting early in a budget squeeze – similar to marketing or non-essential employee perks. But when L&D is woven into the very DNA of the business, its value is discernible.
In other words, L&D needs to rethink, reimagine, and re-engineer their learning enterprise - transforming from just being a function to being a valuable learning business. As a result, L&D’s impact and how it’s viewed is revolutionized, becoming a go-to resource that is funded and leveraged during tough times as opposed to one of the first areas to be cut. It transforms your culture and your strategy. It transforms your business capabilities to create value, deliver solutions, and generate results. It transforms your impact on the organization and the staff. It provides you the agility to be the business you need to be at any given time. Your business is ultimately better when it’s a learning business – one that never stops developing and gaining strength for long-term success.
So, how does a learning function become a learning business?
How does it move from just having L&D as a function within it? It’s not as simple as adding more requisite training for employees. It goes beyond encouraging certifications and professional development for staff. It involves a mindset shift throughout the company – one that makes everyone a stakeholder in success.
To accomplish this type of transformation, it’s helpful to leverage the experience and expertise of a team like the Total Solutions Group, which has partnered with over 150 domestic and global organizations, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies, to create resilient, agile companies.
TSG’s solutions are custom-built around the strategic needs in your marketplace, for your customers, within your organization, and with your people – thereby impacting every part of your business from brand to customer impact and growth to profitability. These solutions are implemented to ensure they are (1) Relevant, (2) Compelling, (3) Sustainable, (4) Replicable, and (5) Scalable, so that you build the capability you need today in order to achieve the transformation you want for tomorrow.
Additional Tools & Support
To gain some initial tools and guidance for your L&D transformation, please click here to view our complementary L&D Transformation webinars.
If you are ready to begin your L&D transformation, explore the TAP L&D Transformation Experience to help you to rethink, reimagine, and reengineer your learning organization and achieve real transformation.
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