The bare basics of developing a Learning & Development strategey

How to develop a learning and development strategy

Judith Kors

By: Judith Kors – July 2015

So we’re almost at August already (where on earth did the first half of this year go!?!?). By now you should have (hopefully) be past the worst of the end-of-financial-year work and, if you haven’t already done so, started thinking about how you’re going to spend your 2015/16 budget by identifying your L&D goals and developing an appropriate strategy for meeting them.

However, all-too-often this is where many L&D strategies fall down…i.e. before work commences on developing the strategy, the time hasn’t been taken to identify goals that are not just focussed on the desired outcomes but that also take a realistic look at elements such as the availability of staff, available resources, etc, etc.

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Furthermore, a common issue is trying to prove the value of a training plan AFTER it has been developed, rather than analysing its value (and therefore its likelihood of success) before-hand…especially if the above-mentioned resources are limited.

Lastly, a surprising (but strangely common) issue is training goals and strategies that have been developed without proper consultation with key stakeholders. If you don’t take the time to consult with the appropriate management (and, in many cases, likely training program participants) to fully understand their capability development needs (e.g. a 15% increase in productivity) and, just as importantly, if they agree that training is the solution to this issue, then you’re likely to be investing lots of time and energy in developing a training strategy that won’t get approved.

It therefore comes as no surprise that the strategies that are most likely to win approval AND prove successful are the ones that have had time invested in appropriate, realistic goals that have been developed in partnership with key stakeholders and with all considerations taken into account.

To do so typically means reaching agreement on three key elements:

1. How the desired goal will be impacted by the training program – e.g. The training program will likely achieve 35% of what’s required to achieve our goal of 15% increase in productivity.

2. The specifics of the program — i.e. learning goals, participant numbers, training days required, and completion date.

3. The roles and responsibilities of all concerned to successfully achieve the desired goals.

Taking the time to work with key stakeholders to identify appropriate goals and building a strategy around them provides the focus and accountability required to achieve the desired results. Additionally, working with the key stakeholders on the three essential points listed above will establish you as a valid business partner in the pursuit of a common goal and should provide you with the credibility, authority, and engagement from the management and their team to make your program an outstanding success…because we all know that without such ‘buy in’, a training strategy is almost guaranteed to fail!

Once you’ve done the above, you need to put your ‘sales hat’ on and build a compelling business case that will win program approval – for advice on doing so, click here for our article ‘Winning L&D Budget Approval’.

ARTICLE WRITERS NEEDED! Do you have something you’d like to contribute to Training Matters? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Please email us at or call 0412 299 181.

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