Learning and Development (L&D) strategy is a training approach that sets out workforce capabilities, skills, and competencies to match the organisational needs and achieve the sustainable success of organisational operations. Moreover, L&D examines the various stakeholders taking part in the strategy while ensuring employee satisfaction, retention, and loyalty. L&D strategy focuses on identified high-performing and high-potential individuals and develops them toward achieving long-term success. Therefore, the strategy includes mentoring programs with senior leaders and key projects. L&D must cover key performance indicators to monitor the programs and measure return on investment (ROI) with alignment to business challenges and goals.
The L&D team operates to identify an organisation’s current and future skills needs and develop flexible learning interventions to meet the diverse workforce needs. The team identifies the employee and organisational skill gaps and developing a strategy that aligns em0ployee goals and performance with that of the organisation. Moreover, the L&D team develops and delivers training that bridges the skill gaps. In developing and implementing a learning strategy, the team must optimise training processes to improve ROI while marketing the programs to achieve managerial buy-in and employee commitment.
The considerations to take when assessing and planning business needs include the alignment with an overall business strategy, organisational priorities, resource use, internal stakeholder assessment, availability of corporate learning tools and techniques, employee recruitment and retention rates, and future requirements. These considerations ensure the creation of effective training packages and leadership development programs. Moreover, the L&D team gains buy-in by making stakeholder requirements part of the process. Considering the future of the L&D strategy guides in building management development objectives and enhancing goals to achieve the flexibility to constant changes.
Organisational influences on learning interventions include government policies, line manager roles, top management commitment, outsourcing, and external consultants. For instance, the Human Resource Act encourages organisations to contribute toward human resources development funds to achieve effective employee training. Increased training also guides line managers in decision-making to encourage subordinates to strive for continuous development. Elsewhere, the top management influences L&D interventions by giving direction, authority, and resources to execute the initiatives. Outsourcing ensures cost reduction, resource maximization, service improvement, and focus on human resource issues.
At the organisational level, training needs identification covers various aspects including of information pertaining to employees, objectives that drive a business, skills of individuals and customer satisfaction data. These aspects define measurable training outcomes and improve chances of success for the L&D. job description and specifications, work performance standards, operational problems analysis, and information from small or medium-sized enterprises define the operations level needs identification. These aspects determine the kind of training needed to enhance proficiency. At the individual level, training needs identification considers data from performance appraisal, work samples, interviews and questionnaires, employee and customer surveys, and employee assessment regarding skills, knowledge and ability.
The systematic approach for planning a training event would cover training needs identification and definition, designing an L&D program, implementing learning events and programs, and training evaluation. Conversations with employees in stage one can help in identifying their needs while designing a health and safety program in step two streamlines effective L&D strategy delivery. Elsewhere, the implementation stage entails commencement according to published time, ensuring participants’ safety, and making the event enjoyable. Training evaluation can adopt the Kirkpatrick model to see the results that the L&D event or program produced.
The method for formulating the L&D strategy would integrate matching strategies for a business, collaborative ownership between units of business and human resources. It also include evaluation of gaps for strengths and value estimated, development of journey for learning, execution of initiative and upward scalability. Moreover, the approach must cover the measurement of L&D influence on the performance of a business, strategies for intervention in HR processes and enablers of growth through learning. Matching L&D to strategies in business ensures professional development and capacity building while enhancing company culture, employee motivation, and cost-effective operations.
The human resource policy is a factor influencing L&D as training programs prioritise the ease and purpose of design. For instance, emphasising learning, skill development, and behavioural change may divert the organisation’s attention from the original goals. Managerial support also influences L&D as an unfavourable climate would limit the impact of creativity training regarding idea implementation. Open-mindedness also moderates training effectiveness alongside training type, training context, and trainee professionalism. Moreover, including effective communication, emotional training, and fostering the relationship between training framing and motivation enhance the effective delivery of L&D strategy.
The instructor-led training method exhibits easy revision, quick development, face-to-face contacts, few travels, large groups, and effective knowledge transfer. Its disadvantages include difficult scheduling, technical requirements, high equipment costs, and a costly instructor-to-trainee ratio. On the other hand, online self-directed training ensures consistency, convenient access, personal trainee pace, easy modification, and complex media support. Its disadvantages include high development costs, lengthy development time, technical requirements, and slow download times from limited bandwidth. Offline self-directed training comes with portability, quick development, content consistency, and personalised pacing. However, it is less interesting, difficult to modify, can be costly to develop and requires playback equipment.
An approach to evaluate and measure the L&D intervention would employ the Kirkpatrick Taxonomy four-level strategy. At the reaction level, the L&D head gauges participants’ reactions and responses to training through short surveys. The learning level gauges what the participants learnt from the training by issuing short quizzes and practical tests before and after training. At the behaviour level, the L&D head assesses whether the participants implemented the learnt skills and knowledge into practice on the job. The result stage entails evaluating if the training event met the stakeholders’ expectations by determining return on expectations (ROE)
A suitable approach to evaluate the ROI of the L&D strategy would be the use of supervisor assessments. The approach is suitable for flexible and unstructured work because it enables on-the-job observations and assessments to make judgments on areas where participants improved through the training. Moreover, supervisor assessments examine customer service, teamwork, task completion, and task complexity to judge workforce performance. The approach can also use a control group to isolate the results of training and conducting assessments before and after the training.
Some of the external factors that may affect L&D plans include economic and legislative conditions. For instance, economic recessions may shift organisational focus on survival and lessen investment in training. Short-term mentality may also shift organisational priorities from people-focus to task-focus and impact the future sustainability of workforce skills and knowledge. Elsewhere, legislative requirements like health and safety regulations may prompt an organisation to employ delivery methods with lower risks. An organisation must adopt an L&D strategy that maximises impact on performance while following protocols and set regulations.
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