Caveo Learning

Corporate Strategy and Learning Center

Strategies for Successful Learning and Development Partnerships

Posted by Caveo Learning on August 28, 2018

At some point, all learning and development organizations are faced with the need for a learning partner—business objectives or performance gaps may demand L&D personnel and expertise that can’t be organically added in a timely or cost-efficient manner.

Large-scale partner arrangements are more common than many learning leaders realize, but so too are potential pitfalls. Learning leaders generally have a pretty solid idea of what they hope to get out of L&D services arrangements, but for a host of reasons, partnerships don’t always deliver on expectations. However, thoughtful planning, including asking the right questions as part of the careful evaluation of prospective partners, can go a long way toward ensuring a productive L&D partnership arrangement.

Here is a look at the motivations, challenges, opportunities, and benefits facing learning leaders when it comes to learning partner services, as well as what to consider before engaging with a learning partner.

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Building Business Credibility and Impact Beyond the L&D Bubble

Posted by Ashley Christian on April 27, 2017

Learning professionals tend to surround themselves with others who speak the same language of L&D and face similar industry challenges. That’s fine and understandable, but regardless of one’s expertise and preparation, the result is that business stakeholders may fail to understand and appreciate the value of L&D and the challenges facing learning leaders.

This is frustrating, but not surprising. L&D professionals spend so much time with one another that it can be easy to forget or neglect to prioritize building strong relationships with leaders in other areas of the business.

The good news is, each day offers opportunities to go beyond the L&D bubble and really get inside the business, start the conversation, and gain credibility for your L&D organization. Here are some tips for learning leaders to build business credibility and relationships with counterparts across the enterprise.

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4 Challenges Faced by Internal Learning Teams

Posted by Susan Robbins on February 18, 2016

By design or as a result of evolution, many organizations have learning & development teams that are comprised primarily or entirely of former line staff who displayed talent and interest in training others. Some may rotate in and out of L&D, and others may stay in L&D and develop expertise in a specific discipline.

These organizations tend not to supplement staff from “the outside.” While there are certainly some advantages to maintaining an internal L&D team—chief among them being familiarity with the organization and its players—there are also pitfalls inherent in relying exclusively on an internal team for all organizational learning.

Here are four crucial shortcomings faced by mostly internal learning organizations.

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4 Keys to Optimizing Learning Organization Structure

Posted by Caveo Learning on October 30, 2015

Optimizing the organizational structure is one way for learning leaders to substantially impact the business value they create for their organizations. Optimal organizational structures can improve business alignment and targeted execution on business goals and priorities, and can reduce total cost of ownership for the L&D function.

Learning & development ultimately exists to deliver business value to the business, yet too many L&D organizations have difficulty meeting that objective. Their credibility is suspect because tangible business value is not being delivered, and the trend is for learning leaders to be replaced by business leaders who deeply understand the business and can “learn” how be a learning leader.

Only about 10–15% of companies possess well developed learning and development programs that are properly aligned with strategy and outcomes, according to Bersin by Deloitte research. Bersin’s research suggests that learning leaders have an opportunity transform their organizations into centers of excellence within their companies by consistently and deliberately delivering measurable business value.

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How to Meet the Challenges of an Aging Workforce

Posted by Caveo Learning on September 17, 2015

Is your organization ready to deal with the challenges of an aging workforce?

Baby Boomers are retiring at a staggering pace of 10,000 per day, and they're taking with them a wealth of job knowledge and specialized skills acquired throughout their long careers. That pace will likely pick up as the post-recession economy continues to improve and fewer Boomers feel the need to postpone retirement.

The good news is that Millennials—the most educated generation in history—are available and eager to pick up the slack. For a smooth generational workforce transition to take place, however, companies and L&D organizations need to have a strategy in place to capture the real-world knowledge and skills of Boomers and transfer it to younger workers.

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Develop Better Training Projects by Building SME Relationships

Posted by Joelyne Marshall on September 3, 2015

Instructional designers often find ourselves needing to build relationships—and quickly.

We instructional designers (IDs) rely on a variety of other people in the process of designing and developing training initiatives. We work diligently to address myriad aspects of training materials development, all while trying to stay true to sound adult learning principles.

Successful execution of training projects is built on partnership and collaboration with subject matter experts (SMEs). Simply put, IDs need SMEs—we can't collect, distill, and verify the content for the training program all on our own. IDs cannot possibly know everything about every topic, which is why SMEs hold a critical role in any training project.

Conflict within ID-SME relationships can cause projects to derail quickly. Our personalities, work styles, likes, and dislikes all differ from each other. But regardless of our viewpoints and what we agree on, there is much we can do as IDs to manage those SME relationships, and even prevent conflict altogether.

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Take a Business-Minded Approach to Sourcing Service Partners

Posted by Caveo Learning on August 27, 2015

One of the most important tasks learning leaders regularly face is selecting external service providers and product vendors. It also happens to be one of the most daunting.

In a services relationship, especially one revolving around the subjective and highly interpersonal field of learning and development, the learning function’s relationship with providers can prove to be a major factor in organizational success. Learning leaders must weigh many variables in the purchasing process, from the factual (pricing, experience) to the intangible (flexibility, dedication).

Navigating the vendor procurement process can be tremendously difficult. How can a provider’s ability to flex with the challenging demands of the business be analyzed through a formal procurement process? How does one tell if an external learning partner is going to react to changing environments and truly be aligned with the business if they never even get to meet them? Since, for learning solutions, it is almost always about more than price, how is the commitment of the supplier to the mission, vision, and values of the business measured? What about issues of scalability, global capability, and communication?

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Learning Team

Posted by Susan Robbins on August 6, 2015

In the learning and development industry, we spend most of our time trying to maximize the performance of workers throughout our organizations. Ironically, it can be rather easy for learning leaders to overlook the barriers to performance within their own learning teams.

As a learning leader, your background might be any number of things—instructional design, training facilitation, industry expertise, formal education, management experience. The skills and experience of your learning team may be just as varied. Regardless of your and your team’s background, you are responsible for improving employee performance and delivering a positive impact on your organization’s bottom line. 

A strategically cultivated and supported learning team can help accomplish these goals and enhance the learning function's credibility and reputation as a productive, contributing department in the organization.

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How to Get Your Training Project Funded

Posted by Caveo Learning on July 15, 2015

It's a frustrating scenario learning leaders know all too well: You've conceived a set of engaging learning solutions that will solve critical knowledge gaps and develop needed skill sets to drive performance. You've even calculated the expected training ROI, and there's no doubt in your mind that this is a training project worth pursuing.

But now you're faced with the big question: How do you get project funding?

Everyone in the organization is fighting for limited resources, and training initiatives often fail to receive the funding necessary to successfully deliver business value to the company.

Learning leaders must be strategic in how they solicit training project funding. Here are five things learning leaders should do to prepare for their funding pitch.

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Facing Learning and Development’s Perpetual Identity Crisis

Posted by Caveo Learning on May 19, 2015

Practically since the age of the dinosaurs, sales has been known as sales, and marketing has been known as marketing. Same goes for legal, IT, finance. Operations has many variations, depending on the industry (e.g., professional services, manufacturing), but there’s certainly no debate about what they do.

Why, then, is so much time and effort spent debating what to call learning and development? We swing from performance to training to learning and, now, to talent. If history is any guide, we will arrive back at performance in short order. Every three to five years, it seems, the industry feels the need to rename our function. 

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