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Raising The Profile Of Learning & Development

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Learning & development activities at my organisation are being overlooked and are taking a back seat when really they should be given a high priority. I want to work on raising the profile of learning and development to try to change the current culture of staff waiting to be sheep-dipped or simple not seeing the importance of personal development. Has anyone managed to riase the profile of L&D in their organisation or are able to point me in the direction of some resources that would help me draw up an implementation plan??
Claire Collis

3 Responses

  1. Get close to the real core business issues
    In my own experience, this is a situation that can be rectified although when you are sitting at the bottom of the mountain looking up to the ideal world at the top, it often doesn’t feel that way!

    In a previous life when I was responsible for learning and development for an organisation, I found myself in exactly the same situation. It doesn’t happen overnight but you can get learning and development to the top of the agenda in terms of management support and funding.

    The best advice I can give you is to identify the key business projects that are taking place in the business. Talk and get close to the business managers of these projects and find out what their key challenges and issues are. During the course of these conversations, you are bound to identify some areas where you can add value through development activity. Clarify the areas of need with the business manager and agree the appropriate action to be taken. All you then need to do is get some fantastic results and you have a line manager who respects you and your team for the value you can add.

    The development activities you put in place will probably need to be bespoke so that they truly meet the needs of the business. Try and avoid matching an ‘off the shelf’ course already on your course schedule to the need in the hope that it will be close enough. It is worth investing the extra effort to truly ensure it meets the need.

    Of course, to begin with you are likely to have to carry out this activity on a shoestring unless you are lucky enough to have the funding already in place. Once you have proven the worth of your team, the funding and investment will follow and slashing the training and development budget will not be on the agenda. You will become an integral part of every business project set up within the company because it will become recognised that with business change, you often need some kind of learning and development activity.

    It is much more difficult to “sell” a training course to a line manager than it is to help solve one of their business challenges for them.

    You don’t mention in your note whether you have a performance management process or appraisal system in place – does this identify training needs? Perhaps you could work on a 1:1 basis with line managers to help them identify training needs for their teams? Many line managers find this difficult to do and would welcome some guidance. If you offer your help and support, you will not only build strong working relationships with your line managers but also it gives you another chance to ask about their business challenges and opens another window of opportunity for you to help them out.

    Goodness – what a huge topic! It really can’t be done justice in this short space so do contact me if I can help in any way by email to claire@luciaconsultancy.co.uk

  2. Get out there and talk to the punters!
    CLAIRE

    A classic read and really useful set of guidance (essentially saying what’s in the title above!!) is Garavan, Barnicle & Heraty (1993) ‘The T&D Function: Its Search for Power and Influence’ (Journal of European Industrial Training Vol 17, 7, pp2-32)

    IAIN THOMSON

  3. Raising the Profile of Training
    We have notes to bear on this. If you would like to send us your address we would be happy to send them to you as the papers do not travel well by e-mail. The short answer is to direct training & development to critical business issues, raise awareness of the cost of not training and value benefits attributed to training.
    Regards,
    John Pope

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