It was a cold but bright morning in late November when learning leaders from some of the UK’s top 500 companies met on the 24th floor of The Shard.
They weren’t just there to admire the view – although the meeting space did frame a splendid picture of the Thames and the city skyline in its windows – but also to take part in the very first CrossKnowledge Breakfast Session.
Breakfast was served, coffee was poured, and Jan Rijken – Director of the CrossKnowledge Learning Institute – began the morning’s meditations by posing the following question:
“Why do L&D departments have such enormous potential to transform their businesses yet frequently fail to do so?”
“Most organisations,” He continued, “used to- and in some cases still – evaluate their programmes based on the metrics: did the learners like the programme? Did they like the trainer and venue? How satisfied were they when they went home?
That’s nice to know. But frankly, the organisation doesn’t care. What we’re witnessing now is that organisations are looking more and more at impact. What does L&D actually deliver? What is their impact?”
Jan argued, with his First Golden Rule of L&D, that every learning programme should be tied directly to performance improvement.
“That’s when it becomes interesting… Not just for you and your people, but for senior management and business stakeholders.”
Next, Michelle Bourgein- Head of Online Learning at Telenor- had a story to tell about a successful digital transformation.
“How many people here are going through a digital transformation?” Michelle began by asking, “How many have been through it? How many know they will be going through it?”
By the time all three questions had been asked, almost everybody in the audience had raised their hand.
Michelle proceeded to demonstrate the depth and breadth of the digital transformation she is overseeing at Telenor by sharing the details of her learning programmes- for change management, for leadership, and for creating an innovation culture.
Again, it was about delivering tangible business results. “We have to come up with new digital services, and we have to do that fast, in order to stay ahead of the game and take advantages of the opportunities that arise.”
And finally, Jan and Michelle joined a panel of experts- Lasse Hamre, Sue Hawke and Rachel Kay- for a thoughtful exploration of the morning’s major topics.
Our question: “Why do L&D departments have such enormous potential to transform their businesses yet frequently fail to do so?”
Our answer: companies lack either the ambition or the technical know-how to measure the success of a learning programme by its effect on palpable business outcomes.
In order to innovate, learning professionals need more than the most recent tools and technologies- we need to be able to prove to internal stakeholders that learning is an essential part of a competitive, successful business.