“The training was innovative and effective”. But was it actually needed?

In our last blog we had a look the Kirkpatrick/Phillips model for evaluating individual training programmes and the importance of that. This time we want to look at the importance of aligning overall training efforts to an organisation’s overarching strategic goals or priorities. Not only to ensure training is focused in the right places, but also to help organisations demonstrate the value of learning to senior stakeholders. 

Align training to strategic priorities 

It can be so easy to get lost in developing innovative training without really making sure it’s needed. Just because a piece of training is amazing, and learners think it’s amazing, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s helping the organisation – it could even be hindering it. For example, training that drives up sales, before you can even increase production is a wasted effort that could result in annoyed customers and reputational damage. 

Like with most things, there are numerous ways that we can align training to strategic priorities, but we’re going to focus here on the Balanced Scorecard. 

So, let’s jump straight in. 

Balanced Scorecard 

The Balanced Scorecard was conceptualised by Kaplan and Norton (1992) as a way to evaluate business value from multiple perspectives, providing a more balanced view by including both nonfinancial as well as financial metrics. The four perspectives taken into consideration are: Financial, Customer, Internal Processes and Learning and Growth. 

Since then, the model has evolved into a strategic planning tool for businesses to set strategic goals, develop action plans and develop KPI metrics that allow an organisation to monitor those goals and action plans across the four different areas. Explore the diagram below to learn more. 

The inclusion of the ‘Learning and Growth’ perspective emphasises the importance of the L&D function and makes it a popular choice for L&D professionals, helping them focus their efforts in areas where training is actually required. 

A useful way to implement this model is to show the relationship between the four perspectives by layering and linking your goals; invest in your people to improve your processes, which helps to deliver to your customers, helping you to deliver financial performance.  

Don’t forget to set action plans and KPI metrics for each goal so you know what you need to do, and how you can track and monitor progress throughout.  

L&D resources and budgets are precious – don’t waste any effort by focusing on the wrong things. Careful analysis can ensure you create impactful programmes that actually help you to achieve your organisation’s goals, and as a bonus, demonstrate the value that your learning initiatives create.