Strategic Human Capital Insights

How Can the Learning Function Deliver Relevant L&D and Business Value?

This blog was co-authored by Joanne Flynn, Jim Bosserman and Debbie Gower.  This article brings together perspectives and research from three strategic performance and learning and development professionals.

Part 4 – Learning & Development Series

What happens when you make learning a strategic investment in your people?  You “move the dial” on individual and organizational agility and, thus, the performance of the business.

In our series demonstrating why learning and development (L&D) is critical to an organization’s success, we offered points of view about:

Discover more about the Learning Function itself and its true need to:

  • Establish an active partnership with business operations to understand changing business and related workforce L&D needs
  • Validate the results-driven connection between L&D investments and desired business outcomes
  • Touch the “minds and hearts” of the workforce to reinforce commitment to individual and collective organizational improvements

The Learning Function should be a key workforce advocate and translator providing effective L&D to clearly answer the question: “What do I need to do my job?”

What are the Learning Function’s key challenges?

“Organizations have changed, technology has changed, and the nature of work has changed, but Learning & Development (L&D) has not advanced in the last quarter century.” [2]

"Strategic talent management overall — and corporate learning in particular — still puts too much faith in, and pours too many resources into, information-delivery strategies and systems that are stuck in the old world.[3]

“97% of learning takes place on the job, yet L&D practitioners seldom prioritize the need to support performance and provide job assists. At worst, they focus more on the efficiency of training than on its effectiveness.”[4]


  • How should the Learning Function partner with business operations?
  • What are the Learning Function’s key challenges?
  • How can the Learning Function take advantage of opportunities to impact business operations?
  • What must the Learning Function do to understand and “speak the language” of the business to effectively establish the business case and ROI for L&D

“If you don’t make business-relevant investments in L&D, what is your alternative in today’s complex, competitive, and ever-changing environment?”

Download our latest research article to get a deeper understanding of how the learning function can help deliver relevant L&D and business value.

Download Complete Research Article >>


[1] David Novak, ASTD interview on “Taking People with You,” April 9, 2012

[2] Clark N. Quinn, “Revolutionize Learning & Development,” 2014

[3] Human Capital Institute, “For More Successful Learning, Treat Employees Like Consumers,” 2014

[4] Clark N. Quinn, “Revolutionize Learning & Development,” 2014

Topics: Learning & Development

Posted by Joanne Flynn

Joanne Flynn

Joanne T. Flynn heads up the human capital advisory group, Phoenix Strategic Performance, Inc. Previously, she was a Managing Director with Phoenix Group International and was Vice President / Director of Global Learning and Development at Goldman, Sachs for nine years. Joanne works with organizations as they face global growth and competitive challenges. She works with her clients to be both externally focused and internally responsive. With her unique background, she aligns competitive strategic efforts with related internal organizational leadership challenges. With the benefit of her career-long focus, Joanne contributes the unique insight of aligning strategy to internal organizational structure and process. She focuses on human capital relative to strategic initiatives, accelerated business growth, value creation, and business development. Joanne holds a Master of Arts degree in Business Management from the University of Oklahoma. In addition, she holds a double degree major in History and German from St. Elizabeth University, as well as certificates from a variety of leading universities and professional training and development organizations. Joanne has recently published her latest book, Accelerating Business Success, The Human Asset Management Strategy.

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