Part II: Assessing Your Learning Organization’s Maturity Using the Strategic Learning Levers

In Part I of this blog series, we looked at managing learning like a business. We identified the 10 important dimensions managed by L&D, and explored how your learning organization can serve business partners more effectively. By building a high performance learning culture with a solid strategy, you can help your business increase revenue, profitability and manage costs. 

I referred to the 10 dimensions as strategic learning levers. They include:

  • strategy and alignment with the business
  • governance and the learning organization
  • learning culture
  • talent development
  • learning content
  • delivery methods and modalities
  • technology infrastructure
  • learning administration
  • financial management
  • learning/performance analytics.

In the graphic below, we have placed the levers on a maturity model. The maturity model helps you assess where you are today, and define the vision and desired future state for Learning & Development (L&D) required to successfully achieving your business’ goals.

As you can see in this graphic, the 10 learning levers are listed across the bottom, each with a maturity level ranging from 1 to 5. 

Level 5 represents industry best practices. Our team is continually scanning industry reports and learning awards to keep abreast of the most current benchmarks.

In this illustration, you can see an assessment for each lever of current state and another for future state. The red bar represents the movement that needs to take place in order to achieve your organization’s goals.  

Don’t panic, the maturity levels on this graphic are just illustrative!

You don’t need to hit Level 5 on every lever in order to be successful in meeting business objectives. But you do want to use industry best practices as a guide as to what is possible.

During discussions with clients, their initial reaction is typically, “oh wow, we’re low across the board and we want to be a 5 in everything.” As we dig into the assessment, they’re pleased to learn they have a really good handle on most things. And yes, they have a ways to go on others. But most enlightening is understanding they don’t have to be at a level 5 on every lever to achieve their learning and business goals, making the climb more achievable.

Now it’s your turn! You will want to give an honest assessment of where you think you are today with each lever. It’s always fun to do a quick and dirty gut-check assessment to start. But then, tuck that away and go talk to colleagues, your team, your business partners, learners, and leadership to get their assessment. When I work with clients, I usually do this through a series of interviews, with questions geared to gain insight into where they are with that lever. It can be helpful to have an independent person gather the insights., Sometimes people are less candid in their feedback to the other members of their team, and will be more candid with someone who they view as independent. Don’t forget to get their feedback about their business goals so you can assess what you want to improve in the future in order to operate in a way that meets the business’ goals. 

The gap between where you are today and where you need to be in the future, represents the opportunity to develop your learning strategy and create a strategy execution plan to get there. In the next blog, we will dive into how you can optimize your learning strategy to maximize the performance of your organization.

Have you used a maturity model to assess your learning organization? Which levers are you pulling today to strengthen your learning strategy? What areas would you like to explore more to have a bigger impact on business performance? Please share your thoughts below or connect with us on LinkedIn, or at @RaytheonRPS using hashtags, #learning, #workforcedevelopment, and #learninganalytics.

Reach out to RPS

The Performance Consultants at RPS can use the maturity model to help you assess where you are today, and define the vision and desired future state for L&D to be successful in meeting the goals of your business. We’ve leveraged decades of experience with clients, and in-depth research of best practices, to articulate the levels of maturity for each lever. We bring that insight to help clients assess their L&D organization. We’ll work with you, your team and your business partners to conduct a diagnostic. We’ll use this assessment to provide recommendations and help you prioritize areas for improvement. RPS is here to help you every step of the way!

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