The learning and development industry is experiencing a paradigm shift. In the same way as HR professionals have had to embrace new approaches to employee participation, and concepts such as high commitment HRM, talent management and succession planning, so today the role of the learning and development department has evolved. Like any other ancillary business unit, the L&D department must ‘pay its way’, and that means demonstrating sustainable financial returns. The days of providing health and safety training to shop floor workers or compliance training to financial services professionals, all under the premise that ‘we won’t get sued’, is no longer enough; organisations want to know how learning and development can improve the bottom line across the extended enterprise.
This is a game changer, since it changes the focus from inputs to outputs. It’s no longer sufficient to say “I’ve completed my CPD therefore I’m compliant.” Now you’ve got to prove you’ve accessed training, collaborated with your peers and undertaken specific programmes, with a view to expanding your capabilities. It’s about delivering value to the business and contributing to organisational performance.
Of course, some things never change: Kirkpatrick’s model of training effectiveness, which is over 50 years old, still captures the essence of effective learning by recognising the 3 key dynamics of the process: acquisition of knowledge, skills and attitudes; application of learning to developing new behaviours; and the degree to which targeted outcomes are achieved.
What has changed is the fact that learning has evolved from a linear, isolated delivery model to a participative, partnering model in which the L&D team, individual learners, line managers and the broader organisation all interact together. Today, it is expected that L&D should align with organisational strategy and ethics; that it should be sensitive to internal company and national cultures; that it should help build tacit as well as explicit knowledge. It should support the development of practical intelligence, emotional intelligence and intuition; and that it should help develop the leaders of tomorrow .
This has substantially expanded the role of L&D, and has major 3 implications. Firstly, it means that L&D needs a significant amount of data to operate effectively. Secondly, it means that the L&D function produces a lot more data, and thirdly it means that there is now an overlap between the roles and responsibilities of L&D and HR. For example, delivering coaching and mentoring programmes requires input from both departments and this means that L&D and HR teams must work closely together, sharing information and building tailored solutions aimed at delivering organisational goals.
Integrating with HR information systems is critical to making this work, since it provides the L&D team with all the relevant information on employees to help build tailored learning and development programmes. Similarly, utilising tools such as the Totara reporting dashboard, the L&D team can provide HR with powerful insights which can be used to develop organisational competence.
At Webanywhere, we believe that integrating with HR information systems is the essential ingredient to launching your LMS. We have experience integrating with PeopleSoft, Sage, Oracle and Work Day solutions to name a few.
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