Strategic Human Capital Insights

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

11/20/14 8:30 AM

BusinessValueThis 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

In 2014, Joanne Flynn founded Phoenix Strategic Performance, a strategic human capital advisory firm. Prior to this, Joanne was Vice President at Goldman Sachs for 10 years responsible for global learning and development. She then led the consulting practice of Phoenix Group International, a consulting firm specializing in global financial service. Joanne is now taking best practices from the people-intensive financial services industry and adapting those best practices to startup and growth businesses. She is a thought leader in the areas of strategic organizational alignment, organizational agility, human capital gap analysis, leadership challenges for the new workplace and transformation leadership.

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