Integrating Learning, Talent Management

For a variety of reasons, many training organizations are returning to centralized or federated organizational structures (the latter with centralized shared services). Such structures can enhance synergies with HR and can significantly facilitate the integration of talent management and learning, says a report from Bersin & Associates.

However, if not carefully governed, such structures can pull training resources away from serving lines of business.

In order to gain the advantages of integration without compromising business unit support, Bersin recommends that organizations focus on integrating learning with performance management. This can be accomplished in many ways, including linking learning experiences to both competencies and performance goals; recommending learning and development activities based on 360 assessments; and adding learning experiences as part of development goals.

Following are examples of successful integration:

1) Enterprise and business unit goals drive learning and development priorities. A large manufacturer establishes enterprise and business unit goals that cascade down to each employee. Employee performance plans include performance and development goals. The L&D organization can view all goals across all employee segments to identify training needs that will support the most important business goals and urgent skill requirements. This information is presented to a Learning Board of Governors. Ultimately, L&D resources are prioritized and allocated to those programs that best support the business strategy and truly impact business performance.

2) Learning and development programs identified as a performance goal. A global pharmaceutical company requires all field sales representatives to complete a four-week training program on product and competitor information as part of a 90-day induction plan. All progress and completion data is automatically updated on each employee’s performance plan. Management, including field sales trainers, can monitor progress and completion to ensure compliance and mediate if necessary.

3) L&D programs are aligned to employee performance and business results. A utility company includes job-specific competencies in its performance plans to ensure employees know exactly what is expected of them. Performance evaluations and competency assessments identify any competency gaps, which are added to the employee’s development plan. Plans include targeted learning and development experiences which employees are encouraged — and often required — to complete. All progress and completion data is automatically updated and aligned to the job-specific competency and performance results on the performance plan. Ultimately, the L&D organization can identify a measurable correlation between learning and development programs and employee performance.

4) Performance evaluations identify employees for targeted learning and development programs. A hospitality company implemented a global performance and development initiative to increase alignment to business objectives, differentiate top performers for rewards, and tailor development programs. Following employee performance evaluations, managers attend a calibration session with other business unit leaders to determine employee performance ratings. Roughly, 20 percent of employees are identified as “top talent” and are placed in leadership development programs, 70 percent are identified as the “vital core” and are coached to create individual development plans to maximize individual strengths, and 10 percent are placed on performance improvement plans or coached to find new opportunities for which their skills may be a better fit.

–Source: Bersin &Associates, www.bersin.com

For a variety of reasons, many training organizations are returning to centralized or federated organizational structures (the latter with centralized shared services). Such structures can enhance synergies with HR and can significantly facilitate the integration of talent management and learning, says a report from Bersin & Associates.

However, if not carefully governed, such structures can pull training resources away from serving lines of business.

In order to gain the advantages of integration without compromising business unit support, Bersin recommends that organizations focus on integrating learning with performance management. This can be accomplished in many ways, including linking learning experiences to both competencies and performance goals; recommending learning and development activities based on 360 assessments; and adding learning experiences as part of development goals.

Following are examples of successful integration:

1) Enterprise and business unit goals drive learning and development priorities. A large manufacturer establishes enterprise and business unit goals that cascade down to each employee. Employee performance plans include performance and development goals. The L&D organization can view all goals across all employee segments to identify training needs that will support the most important business goals and urgent skill requirements. This information is presented to a Learning Board of Governors. Ultimately, L&D resources are prioritized and allocated to those programs that best support the business strategy and truly impact business performance.

2) Learning and development programs identified as a performance goal. A global pharmaceutical company requires all field sales representatives to complete a four-week training program on product and competitor information as part of a 90-day induction plan. All progress and completion data is automatically updated on each employee’s performance plan. Management, including field sales trainers, can monitor progress and completion to ensure compliance and mediate if necessary.

3) L&D programs are aligned to employee performance and business results. A utility company includes job-specific competencies in its performance plans to ensure employees know exactly what is expected of them. Performance evaluations and competency assessments identify any competency gaps, which are added to the employee’s development plan. Plans include targeted learning and development experiences which employees are encouraged — and often required — to complete. All progress and completion data is automatically updated and aligned to the job-specific competency and performance results on the performance plan. Ultimately, the L&D organization can identify a measurable correlation between learning and development programs and employee performance.

4) Performance evaluations identify employees for targeted learning and development programs. A hospitality company implemented a global performance and development initiative to increase alignment to business objectives, differentiate top performers for rewards, and tailor development programs. Following employee performance evaluations, managers attend a calibration session with other business unit leaders to determine employee performance ratings. Roughly, 20 percent of employees are identified as “top talent” and are placed in leadership development programs, 70 percent are identified as the “vital core” and are coached to create individual development plans to maximize individual strengths, and 10 percent are placed on performance improvement plans or coached to find new opportunities for which their skills may be a better fit.

–Source: Bersin &Associates, www.bersin.com

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