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How to Connect Employee Skills With Organizational Strategy

• 5 min read

Learn how organizations can align learning strategy to business goals effectively

70% of employees say they don’t have the skills they need to do their job, much less achieve the overarching strategies of the business. This unbelievable fact raises a tough question: what are organizations doing about it?

When thinking about strategy, it’s easy to take the 10,000 foot view. But sometimes the answer is on the ground. If a business’ employees aren’t equipped to deliver on a strategy, who else is going to get it done? This is why a sophisticated and adaptable learning strategy is so critical for business success. Here, we’ll cover the most important factors to keep in mind when building a learning strategy to achieve your organization’s goals.

Aligning your learning strategy to business goals

According to L&D guru Josh Bersin, only 10-15% of companies have well-developed learning programs that are properly aligned with their strategy and desired business outcomes. Here’s why it matters: organizations that align training with their business goals see up to a 40% increase in their key business metrics compared to those that don’t. So why the disconnect?

Because an organization’s goals are often fluid and change with the market, L&D teams can often be unsure where to put their efforts and how to align their learning strategy to the broader strategy of the business.

Here’s how you can rectify it:

  • Take the time to regularly meet with department heads and business leaders to analyze their problems and goals.
  • Align your learning strategy with your organization’s overall KPIs.
  • Make decisions based upon data in order to make a positive impact.

Remember that your learning strategy should adapt and evolve with the changing needs of the business. Keep your finger on the pulse–after all, you can’t make a positive impact on something you can’t define.

Related: 8 Steps to Increasing Learning Efficiency Through the Rise of People Analytics

Skill mapping to reduce hiring costs

Research from the Work Institute shows that the average cost of employee turnover is 33% of the position’s salary. However, according to new data from Lighthouse Research & Advisory, 95% of learning professionals say that it takes less than $10,000 to reskill someone for another job.

So while it might be possible to hire your way out of a skills problem, it’s both expensive and temporary. And given the high cost of rehiring, organizations are embracing a better strategy: Analyze the skills of existing employees, uncover gaps, and provide education aimed at bridging them.

It’s no surprise then that 81% of learning professionals say upskilling and reskilling the workforce is becoming a necessity in their organization. And fortunately, L&D professionals are in the ideal position to help employers solve this skills gap problem.

Related: Future Proof Your Business by Upskilling and Reskilling Your Workforce

Empower your learners with personalized learning strategies

Even if they love learning, a community can be held back by uncertainty about where to start or what direction to go.

When asked for the reasons that prevented their workers from preparing for the future, business leaders most frequently cited workers’ fear of change. However, workers most commonly acknowledged that they were responsible for preparing for the future; they were simply unsure where to start.

In addition, Brandon Hall Group identified the top 3 barriers in developing and managing competencies and skills in their 2019 Competency and Skills Development Survey. They identified the barriers as:

  • Managers not offering enough feedback and coaching
  • Executives not aligned on how to develop competencies and skills across the organization
  • No long-term plan for identifying the talent and associated skills for the future

To help remedy these issues, it’s important to provide a personalized learning experience that clearly guides learners in the direction that will positively impact the business and their own personal growth. Similarly, a sophisticated Learning Platform can help collect data that can influence how business stakeholders manage the training of their people.

Related: How To Create Engaging e-Learning: 10 Highly Effective Strategies For e-Learning Professionals

Where you can turn: Solutions in the market

This is where AI-powered learning platforms come into their own, offering tailored learning experiences at scale and allowing you to effectively measure progress.

Scalability is AI’s superpower: the more interaction there is with your learning platform, the more data it can analyze to create smart recommendations—and the more accurate it becomes at understanding what’s working and what isn’t for learners and admins alike.

As an example, take skills identification and development. This task has traditionally fallen to learning professionals, and it failed to give the learner a say in what skills they wanted to grow. This top-down assignment of courses resulted in a critical exclusion of the learner’s input. However, AI-powered Learning Platforms are now helping learners quickly identify which skills they want to grow within their learning environment, and then serving up the most relevant content.

As learners engage (or flag suggestions as irrelevant), the platform builds a deeper understanding of them, further refining its recommendations and curating increasingly relevant content.

On the admin side, this eliminates the burden of finding content relevant for each individual learner. The learner’s input also helps learning managers get a more thorough understanding of the skills their learners want to develop, which helps guide future content creation and recommendations and makes it easier to scale their L&D programs.

Going forward, as organizations put further importance on linking personal skills development to broader business performance, we expect this to facilitate broader, organization-wide optimization strategies.

“We are at a point where individualized and analytically-driven skills development can facilitate a broader, organization-wide optimization strategy for new and existing talent – now firms need to feed this into redeployment options and break down functional silos to open the whole organization to L&D-fueled employee mobility potential. Optimization expands employee career horizons and lets management determine where an employee’s interests best align with business goals to drive the most value for the wider organization.”
Zachary Chertok, Analyst at Aberdeen Group

Related: Docebo 7.8 brings personalized learning full circle

Final Thoughts

The L&D department’s work is never done. Just as the market continually shifts, you shouldnt be afraid to adapt your learning strategy to the new demands of the business.

And if your people lack the skills they need to deliver on business goals, ensure that your learning strategy is ready to help them. Because if your employees aren’t able to execute on your business’ strategy, who will?

To see how you can do this at scale, take our AI-powered learning platform for a test drive and prepare yourself and your teams for the unknown.

Related: How to Leverage Motivation in Your Learning Strategy