This article, written by Lorrie Lykins. managing editor at i4cp, was featured in the September 2012 edition of Chief Learning Officer. Lorrie's article discusses how learning investments should drive the ability to achieve business goals, which requires aligning activity closely with the organization's strategic business concerns.
the link between learning and business results can be arduous,
expensive and more costly in terms of resources than actually executing
learning. But aligning learning efforts to core business goals and
strategies is critical to clearly define learning's
contributions to organizational growth and profitability.
A fall 2011 study conducted by ASTD and the Institute for Corporate
Productivity (i4cp) titled, “Developing Results: Aligning
Learning's Goals and Outcomes with Business Performance
Measures,” examined the current state of alignment, as well
as the ways high-performing organizations evaluate learning and link
those measurements to overall business performance measures.
The study found a strong correlation between goal alignment and market
performance as well as between alignment and a learning function that
is effective at meeting its own and the organization's goals.
Before establishing linkages between learning strategy and business
results, organizations must first ensure the learning function can
effectively meet its goals. Less than half (43 percent) of survey
respondents indicated that their organization's learning
function is highly effective in achieving learning goals, and when
asked about achieving organizational goals, 38 percent reported that
their learning function is highly effective. Less than a quarter of the
study participants indicated their organizations are very good at
evaluating the learning function in the first place, although
high-performing organizations expressed more confidence in their
learning function's ability to meet learning and
organizational goals (55 percent) and the company's ability
to measure learning's effectiveness (60 percent) (Figure 1).