Dr. Madana Kumar, Global Head- Learning and Development, UST Global
Learning and Talent Development teams do a marvelous job of providing learning opportunities and developing talent. But, when it comes to articulating business impact of those investments with CXOs, it becomes a nightmare for teams.
This is because traditionally L&D professions have focused on Talent development alone, without necessarily asking the vital question of Business Impact that a learning solution/ program brings. Even when we ask that question, the answers are vague and we “hope” things will work out, and we will “somehow” be able to demonstrate the value of the Talent Development solution once it is implemented. This is where L&D professionals and Learning consultants fail often. What we must realize is the fact we should not be looking at learning solutions, but we must look at Business solutions. To do this, we must cease to be Learning Consultants and intentionally become Performance consultants. In other words, what we do must be focused on improving the performance of the organization through the employees.
However, becoming performance consultants and getting business impact out of learning will not happen by itself and it needs to be intentional. A 4-step model, “SEMA” can help Learning Consultants make this transition successfully.
The first step in SEMA process is to “Strategize”. Unless we start with a Business focused strategy, it is difficult to make a significant impact. Learning Consultants need to help organisations arrive at or redraw their strategy to specifically make the strategic intent of all learning programs to be Business Impact. Arriving at a Learning strategy is important as without a well defined and articulated strategy, it will be impossible to get the Performance Consulting Mindset established in the organization. The strategy should look at linking the Learning and Talent Development activities to Business measures like Revenue, Margin, Client Satisfaction, Employee retention and development etc. An example of a Brandon Hall Award winning Learning Strategy is given in the diagram.