Does your learning strategy have the four C’s?

by Brett Henebery24 Jan 2017
Andrew Fletcher, head of learning at Mercer, a global consulting leader, told L&D Professional that the most effective education programs that reinforce performance are the ones that are embedded in a workforce and “feel part of its natural DNA”.
Fletcher was recently on the panel at the Learning & Development Masterclass held in Sydney on 30 November. Below, he outlines some of the ways in which organisations can develop and maintain an effective L&D strategy.

I understand that your expertise is in aligning organisations, human capital and structures to business strategy. Based on your experience, what are the biggest challenges (and/or tips) for L&D Professionals when it comes to achieving this kind of alignment?  

Have a Learning Strategy. As L&D supports business strategy, learning strategy needs to underpin the workforce education and effort, but often doesn’t exist or is neglect. Organisations talent issues often stem from the feeling of having no talent available. If there is no integrated plan to attract the right people, manage them effectively and develop skills then how can we expect others to produce results without a clear map of which direction to go?
Part of the reason for a lack of ownership of a learning strategy is accountability. There needs to be strong leadership to admit things need to be done differently and the resulting action required to change. Often this can be sped up by finding external help to provide a wider view on people issues and trends that are often hard to see or difficult to navigate when you are a part of the everyday relationships.
If you are undertaking a learning strategy journey, my tip to start with is to ensure it includes as a minimum the 4C’s – Capability, Capacity, Compliance and Culture. Build KPI’s, analytics or metrics that reflect the importance of the organisation’s own strategy. The learning strategy needs to feel as if it reflects and integrates seamlessly into the broader organisational people strategy.

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When it comes to reinforcing performance through education programs, are there any methods that stand out as particularly effective?
The most effective education programs that reinforce performance are the ones that are embedded in a workforce and feel part of its natural DNA. We notice organisations that combine tools which help people better understand themselves and perform as part of a team, while also underpinned by an effective learning strategy, produce outcomes with higher engagement outcomes for both individuals and organisations.
In particular we have found using HBDI (Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument) has been useful for people who are working in areas of intense stress, experience change or require better common communication methods and techniques than others. It has helped to not only provide a practical way of having meaningful and diverse thought leadership and teamwork outcomes but also within meetings to assist in finding solutions quicker, reducing unproductive time in meetings and aligning talent strategies to the natural ways we think and work.
Having a common framework and language to describe thought processes sharpens the focus on relevant issues. It has also assisted when people switch between teams quickly, knowing someone’s preferred way of thinking and communicating which would otherwise take months or years to recognise.
From your perspective, what are the most important L&D trends emerging in 2017?
  • A greater emphasis on determining what really are the most value adding ways to gain higher relative performance (what can be taken away from peoples every day routines to make room for a high value and impactful learning experiences)
  • Workforce change – from a widened and deepened neuro perspective will become more common
  • HR regaining its Mojo – People Analytics. By combining Learning and HR’s insights into tangible learning outcomes provides confidence for executive teams when deciding what areas to invest in as a priority

The next Learning & Development Masterclass will be held in Melbourne on 6 April. Find out more and register here.