Welcome to the Powerful Practices Top 10 Series.
My next few blog posts will highlight top Learning & Development challenges, their criticality, best practices for resolution, and how Meridian Global Learning Management System can position you for success.
Alignment. It’s almost a taboo topic in business now-a-days. We all know we have to do it, but very few actually execute well.
Alignment is the key strategic principle in designing and deploying effective learning programs, but why?
This best practice post will define alignment, defend its importance, demonstrate how to effectively align L&D strategically to organizational and business objectives, and describe how Meridian LMS™ can help you achieve alignment success!
What exactly is alignment? Alignment occurs when the framework of your organization – HR, Business Units, L&D, Quality, IT – all work cohesively together to support the philosophy, purpose and stated strategy of the organization. Culture also plays a huge role in these support structures coming together.
Think of it this way…
When building a house, the architect begins with designing the home and creating the blueprints. Next, is meeting with the builders to determine the materials, cost, timing and location. After that is the ground breaking with core structure going up… if there was no alignment, communication and strategy, the house build might start without the basement being dug.
You get the picture.
With the aligned business units coming together, the process is deployed like the construction of a well-designed piece of architecture. Each phase, strategically, and functionally, comes together as a firm foundation on which to build the next phase in the process.
In the business world, the underlying framework needs to operate in the same manner. HR needs to be in constant communication with the business units; L&D needs to be strategically tied to the business units for clear understanding of the current business drivers. HR needs to act as an overlying enforcer of policy and procedure; all while each unit works to meet the goals and objectives of the organization.
- Alignment is key.
- Continuous Communication is key.
- Strategy and Planning are key.
- Learning is key.
Each of these processes work in harmony to create a synergistic business balance.
Learning and Development plays a huge role in alignment. L&D must be fully aligned to their respective business units as well as the overall needs of the organization.
Let’s put this into a real-world context… The CLO wants the corporate onboarding program completely overhauled. The L&D Managers have been tasked with redesigning the program, as well as the continuing education program afterwards. Where do they start? What resources do they bring in? What is the time frame? What is the core content?
To be strategically focused…
- The first KEY action item would be to create a cross-functional committee representing business units cross the organization ranging from HR to Business Leaders to garner a holistic view and business buy-in from each business unit represented. Each unit gets to voice their opinions, discuss their business objectives, communicate their direction, and have the ultimate buy-in and approval for strategic success.
- The second action would be to conduct a needs assessment to fully review the existing program including content, deployment, trainers, quality leads, business leaders to identify what works, what doesn’t, what they would like to see going forward, business alignment, and document these into a “best practices” document to use as a guide in designing the new program.
- The third action would be to develop the core team with assigned responsibilities (project plan and direction) so all members are fully aware of their roles, responsibilities, timelines, and outputs.
Again, alignment is the number one KEY in pulling all this together. Each team, with their representatives, will be able to voice their opinions, business drivers, strategic goals, and most importantly get buy-in for ultimate success.
Now, the important question comes … how do you teach alignment?
It isn’t necessarily a course you can launch in the LMS that everyone is required to take. This competency is comprised of a variety of skills such as strategic planning, project management, leadership, accountability, communication, and organization.
Learning & Development can collaborate with the Executive Leadership team to define the alignment competency for your organization and then design a series of courses, curriculum, or certifications to educate and move the needle towards proper organizational alignment.
Meridian Global LMS offers a variety of tools that can then assist in helping your organization meet their organization and alignment needs. Certifications can be created to define the perfect Alignment learning path in a structured, sequential order, which in turn can be delivered across a multitude of platforms on-demand, 24/7 via our LMS. Meridian’s OpenSesame Content Marketplace integration allows you to purchase relevant, aligned content that can be effortlessly imported right into our LMS for seamless transactions. Then, Meridian’s robust, real-time reporting tools also allow you to track, manage and drive performance easily using custom dashboards and ad-hoc reporting. Collaboration spaces can also be configured to allow learners to post files, wikis, and discussions to aid in sharing of best practices, white papers, and open discussions of current challenges and resolutions.
Alignment is the key to overall business success. Not just for L&D, but for every unit in the organization. To operate as a cohesive, strategic, business entity, all units must collaborate in a healthy, open arena for sharing, communicating, living and breathing the mission, vision, and strategic goals of your organization.
Meridian Knowledge Solutions is the leading provider of enterprise, web-based learning management software. Meridian’s powerful, easy-to-use solutions are leveraged by organizations dedicated to building world-class learning enterprises.
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