2017. The Year Your L&D Strikes Gold.

Posted by Amy Bybee on September 08, 2016
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2017 learning and development planning

The year 2017 is quickly approaching, and as it draws closer, learning & development (L&D) needs are being re-evaluated to find providers offering effective solutions that engage talent and improve overall performance. What is it you need most in your organization? 

Through our research at Paradigm Learning, we have compiled participant survey feedback, listened carefully in the marketplace, and conducted several client interviews from Fortune® 500 and 1000 companies to find out what you need to know most for the upcoming year. Here are a couple key points you need to focus on when planning your L&D for 2017. 

1. Engage your learners with Business Acumen 

Whether it is a new hire, someone that has been with the company for fifteen years, or a leader, are you investing in them? Does your organization truly value employee learning as a "strategic differentiator"? Or does your company see employee learning as just another cost? We’ve said it before, but it’s more relevant than ever: employees are the business, and need to be developed accordingly. Business acumen is the way for that development. 

90% of business professionals don’t understand important business metrics, and 95% of a company’s employees are unaware of, or do not understand its strategy.

Business Acumen is a thorough understanding of how a business works, how it makes money, and how strategies and decisions impact financial, operational, and sales results. With a complete understanding of the business and the bottom line impact, employees obtain the knowledge that drives them to make better decisions and gain a “business owner” mentality. Business Acumen can easily be incorporated into onboarding, front line leaders, and as part of your L&D curriculum, and will drive real results. Learners will begin to ask the right questions, see the bottom line impact of decisions, and become actively engaged in their clearly defined role. 

“When business acumen is missing, the [employee] is unable to speak the language of business with their prospects. They lack the conceptual understanding to be able to discuss the business issues, challenges, and opportunities in a way that is meaningful and valuable to their prospects.” — Anthony Lannarino, “The Sales Blog” 

2. Discovery learning provides real results. 

Industry studies continue to show that value and driving performance is directly linked to discovery or experimental learning. Discovery learning is when training links to real world experiences. The learning is relevant to their workplace, job, role, and task. Discovery learning has been shown time and again to lead to better job performance and greater value to the organization. 

Discovery learning can be effective at improving efficiency, as well as employee engagement and retention since it allows employees to build confidence and overall expertise. Companies may want to consider breaking traditional learning methods by introducing aspects of discovery learning. 

“[Among] the clearest impacts on organizational productivity from ‘experience-based learning’ can be seen in higher levels of retention, which ultimately, results in a greater transfer of knowledge into informed action. While retention levels from traditional learning from lectures and reading are typically 

just three-to-five percent, retention levels with experience-based learning have been known to reach 80-90 percent.” Michael Robin said this more than ten years ago, and it is just as powerful today. 

Takeaway: 

1. Planning needs to happen now. At Paradigm Learning, we begin meeting with our clients in October to get their planning executed. Getting training dates organized for the first part of the year is a great practice. We love to discuss where our solutions fit in for new customers, as well. 

2. Find the right provider. If one thing is clear, it is crucial to find a provider that is aligned with your business needs for training to really make a difference. Make sure your provider has examples of companies they’ve been successful with in your industry.

Topics: Learning Development