Training Industry Quarterly - Spring 2009 - (Page 26)

FOCAL POINT DRIVING CORPORATE PERFORMANCE THROUGH LEARNING PARTNERSHIPS BY TRACY HOLLISTER W hen learning leaders maintain their focus on improving corporate performance, they can maximize the impact of not only their own work but also their work with strategic partners. Externally, one important strategic partnership is with learning service providers. These providers handle critical processes such as content development, e-learning course conversions, testing and more. Internally, learning leaders partner with other groups that oversee talent management processes such as recruiting, performance management and succession planning. Together, these internal groups combine to move the company’s talent toward its broader goals. Recent studies confirm that learning leaders know the importance of getting and staying aligned with corporate performance goals, but they do not always adopt the practices they need to do it well. This is true both when they serve their internal customers or business units, and when they team with internal and external business partners. These studies also highlight ways to orchestrate partnerships with both learning service providers and talent management groups so that all players are working in concert for stronger corporate performance. These comments were reinforced when over two-thirds of all survey participants and an even higher percentage of those who enjoy strong alignment with their providers rated contract elements such as a clear definition of services and realistic, achievable goals as having a strong impact on provider performance, as Figure 1 shows. Obviously, clearly defined services and realistic goals are easier to deliver on than services that are vaguely defined or have expectations that are too high. By contrast, far fewer felt that contract elements related to rewards or penalties would make a big difference on provider performance. Put differently, learning service providers may respond better to proactive direction on what to do than reactive “carrots” or “sticks” to guide their performance. Beyond well-defined contracts with realistic goals, most respondents also define a desired future state of the contracted services and create formal communications plans to ensure alignment Figure 1 Strong impact of contract elements on provider performance Definition of services Frequent communication with provider Realistic, achievable goals Metrics that align with business goals Penalties for poor performance Potential to terminate with short notice Requirement to use client as reference Incentives (e.g. bonuses) 0 Managing Guest Players Just as learning leaders must clearly understand business goals before they design or compose learning initiatives, they must also be able to clearly present them to learning service providers. Providers typically gain clarity during the planning period before any engagement starts. This time period is particularly instrumental to an engagement’s success. When learning leaders were asked what they would do differently to ensure greater provider alignment in the study, “Best Practices in Working with Learning Service Providers,” 63 percent of respondents described actions they would take before an engagement starts. Before an engagement starts, learning leaders most often said that they would: ■ Ensure that providers understood the company’s goals, expectations and requirements. ■ Add greater clarity and specificity to contracts while still allowing for provider flexibility in responding to changing business needs. 26 74% 72% 66% 56% 38% 19% 18% 14% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Reactive contract elements Rated as 'Strong' by more of those with strong alignment Percentage of respondents Source: Training Industry, Inc. & General Physics Corp. (GP) Training Industry Quarterly, Spring 2009 / A Training Industry, Inc. ezine /

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Quarterly - Spring 2009

Training Industry Quarterly - Spring 2009
The American Heart Association: Learn and Live
Winning Organizations Through People
The Business of Learning
Learning Technologies
Best Practices for Certification Training
7 Strategies for Employee Self-Development
Learning Today: Collaborative, Social and Learner-Driven
Driving Corporate Performance through Learning Partnerships
Meet Dale Towery
Meet Milynda Weis
The American Heart Association: Learn and Live
Closing Arguments

Training Industry Quarterly - Spring 2009