The Brandon Hall Group, a research and analysis firm that focuses on the areas of talent management, leadership development, learning and development, talent acquisition and human resources, conducted some interesting research which they compiled in their recently released study, “Brandon Hall Group’s Learning & Development Benchmarking Study.”

Maximize Your Training By Aligning It With Strategic Business GoalsNamely, they found a big focus on the part of businesses to aligning their learning and development  more closely with their overall strategic goals.

The research show that learning and development has really taken center stage and become a pivotal overall part of business’ missions and the steps they take to achieve their strategic objectives and goals.

The survey showed some of the following data:

  • Half of the organizations participating in the survey already said they have an established learning culture in place, and that culture is aligned with their general business strategy.
  • Rather than having learning and development being managed by human resources, there’s instead a big shift toward it being managed by C-suite executives within organizations. These executives are becoming the primary responsibility holders in terms of not just developing learning strategies, but implementing them and also managing the budgets and resources allocated to these efforts.
  • Over 70 percent of respondents said their learning and development efforts are driven by a desire to align with business strategy.

Other key findings from the study demonstrated organizations defined as high-performing tend to also be characterized as having a strong learning culture or being heavily focused on learning and development.

Learning and development that’s part of a strategic business plan tends to be rooted in competency and performance-based approaches, and organizations also tend to be placing more emphasis on learning and development in an effort to attract and retain Millennial talent. This is particularly demonstrated in how companies say they plan to deliver L&D – it leans toward the methods Millennials report preferring, including online platforms, collaborative and social elements, and videos.

So what are some ways companies can follow the trends being set by high-performing organizations and align their L&D with their strategic objectives?

  • Create a learning-centric mentality that starts at the top. This goes back to what the results of the Brandon Hall survey found – high-performing companies tend to focus on learning and development more than their lower-performing counterparts, and also that learning culture begins at the top. Rather than having your human resources department be entirely responsible for developing, implementing and measuring L&D, instead put the responsibility at a higher level so that the learning-centric mentality is driven from the top.
  • Create performance-based learning. eLearning is a good mechanism for performance and competency-based learning because it’s easy to not only provide the necessary skills and knowledge, but also to measure and track the learning process amongst individual employees and the workforce as a whole. High-performance organizations don’t just provide learning and development opportunities, but they also put in place metrics that allow them to measure the success of L&D and compare it to their business goals.
  • Incorporate training and development with talent management strategies and solutions. This is a big trend in the training industry as a whole and it provides for a more robust picture of not just L&D, but an organization’s workforce in general. This is a great way to align future talent and leadership goals with what’s currently happening in terms of learning and it can provide valuable insight that can help goals be met more adequately. This is also a great way to be more in-tune with performance management and leadership development over the short and long-term.

How does your organization work to create learning and development that aligns with your greater strategy? Is it something you’re focused on, or working toward?