Train running through a train yard at high dusk

Transforming Your Learning Center into a Strategic Enabler

If the struggles describes in Part 1 of this webinar review sounded all-too-familiar, not to worry. HCM Advisory has plenty of ideas that will help you shift your department from Cost Center to Strategic Enabler.

Align Learning Strategy to Business Strategy

You’ll want to make sure everybody is on the same page. HCM found that 50% of respondents annually map their learning strategy to the business strategy for the upcoming year. This process is crucial to demonstrating commitment to senior-level management as well as determining where your efforts will have the biggest impact next year.

Staying in contact with line of business departments will keep you informed about the needs of the employees. HCM suggests “recruiting future learning employees from line of business roles.” Never underestimate the power of an inside man (or woman).

Focus on Providing Value

HCM found that strategy-minded learning leaders create more value for their company by offering training to customers, partners/channels, suppliers, and beyond. They found that globally distributed companies delivered more external training, but that local companies were somewhat more innovative in their offerings.

Respondents had provided training to a diverse assortment of groups, like charities, NGO’s, volunteers, regulatory agencies, and alumni associations. If your company is locally-based, take advantage of your insider knowledge of your community to provide more value than your competitors.

The number one opportunity for business impact, as identified by learning leaders, is “to use learning to support organizational agility.” HCM recommends “understanding key areas of your business where employees need to increase agility to respond to change” and “researching new types of technologies or new approaches to drive better agility.”

Make It Easy

This is not a suggestion to dumb down your curricula. “Make it easy” means, “Make it easy for learners to access the materials.” It doesn’t matter how awesome your curriculum is: if the course materials aren’t conveniently accessible, learners will probably accessing them.

Looking at the success of media pioneers like Hulu, we learn three things about what today’s consumers want from content: to access it on their devices, to engage with it on their own schedule, and to share and discuss it with their friends. That’s why many learning centers are investing in mobile delivery, LMSs that allow asynchronous delivery, and social learning tools. Training is only as effective as the number of people who implement it.

Quantify Your Results

Quantifying your results gives you data that can be very valuable during budgeting. Top-performing learning centers measure the impact of their training by using a control group. What are the types of statistics that you should track? Here are a few that will make any senior-level manager sit up and take notice:

  • Sales
  • Revenue
  • Productivity
  • Time to Market

HCM reports that many learning centers are investing in analytics, dashboards, and data integration to help them measure their effectiveness.

What steps are you going to take to implement these suggestions? Let us know in the comments!

(Image source: (Mick Baker)rooster’s Flickr)