I attended the Learning Technologies and Skills conference last week – a useful day out of the office having a looksee at some of the latest thinking…..
I sat in on one of the free seminars delivered by a consultant from Thales. The session caught my eye because the blurb mentioned Learning & Development professionals as Business Partners in organisations and I’ve been interested in this principle (albeit not by that name) for a long-time (full details of the seminar are here).
The presenter focused on the necessity for Learning & Development professionals to establish relationships with key stakeholders across the business if they are to become effective Business Partners. I am a strong supporter of this. How frequently are Learning & Development personnel getting out into the wider organisation and pressing the flesh with other managers? I suspect not frequently enough. Of course the danger is that our learning gets criticised during these visits. Well in my view this is welcomed! If criticism is due then it is likely to happen whether we hear it or not. By stepping out of the safety of the Learning & Development department and understanding how our programmes can better serve business needs we can make sure that we continue to improve our output.
I believe that evaluating our learning programmes is essential if we are to become effective Business Partners. Effective evaluation will necessitate us getting out onto the ‘shop floor’ and understanding how we can improve our learning programmes to better underpin the key skills and knowledge that our personnel need. Yes, evaluation is more than simply administering tick sheets at the end of the training (although there is still a place for Level 1 evaluation).
I believe Learning & Development professionals need to get out and about and understand where their learning programmes are adding value and where they are not. In my opinion, establishing strategic relationships across all areas of the business will be key to achieving this. Having a systematic approach to our relationship building should be a critical aspect of our learning evaluation strategies.
Is there any time in your calendar this week devoted to developing relationships? If not I suggest you allocate some. Let us become better Learning & Development Business Partners, take action, make some appointments!