Get access to the exclusive HR Resources you need to succeed in 2018.
Sign up for free email newsletters and get more SHRM content delivered to your inbox.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 14 cities across the U.S. this fall.
Gain the skills you need to rise to the next level in your career. Jon us at SHRM's Leadership Development Forum, October 2-3 in Boston.
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
As corporate executives seek ways to reduce costs, investments in learning programs and resources often are among the first eliminated. While internal learning organizations aren’t immune from negative impact, organizations should make these decisions with the same thoughtful analysis as with other functions in the business.
Still, the learning organization bears most of the responsibility for positioning itself as a value-added function that executives look to in times of uncertainty.
As corporate executives try and determine where the organization is going and what it will look like in three to five years, it’s the learning organization (in partnership with HR and the business) that sets the strategy to develop the right people with the right skills at the right time to execute those strategic goals. During lean times, it’s more important than ever that learning investments be made where they are going to produce the most value. Often that means investing in the organization’s future success and sustainability.
The goal of any strategic learning-needs analysis is to identify talent development needs critical to the organization’s future as opposed to simply maintaining the status quo. As part of the process, five key questions must be answered regarding:
A well-done strategic learning-needs analysis will yield a comprehensive summary of findings and recommendations that will serve as a road map for the company for the next two-to-three years. Keep in mind that learning priorities should be re-evaluated and the plan refreshed annually to ensure continued alignment.
Acting on Analysis Results
So what do organizations do in the near term? First, make sure that the wheels don’t come off while the company is getting to its destination. While the internal learning organization is often busy making sure that current needs of the business are being met, more companies are turning to outsourcing partners and independent consultants to help develop their strategic human capital development plans.
Companies are finding significant value in having a dedicated resource with broader experience to help them navigate the often-uncertain task of figuring out what they’re going to do before they do it. In a recent study by Chief Learning Officer online, experts reported that in 2008 the second largest learning outsourcing expense was on front-end analysis and design and development services ($16 billion), second only to outsourcing training delivery ($23.6 billion).
Whatever approach an organization takes in identifying the future skill needs of its workforce, one thing is certain: It can’t afford to get stuck in the mud of economic uncertainty. Organizations that focus on a clear set of key strategic objectives, lead in market-driven product innovations and make targeted investments in their people will be the success stories of the next decade.
Trellis Usher-Mays is president and CEO of the Atlanta, Ga.-based consulting firm T.R. Ellis Group LLC. She also is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management's Organizational Development Special Expertise Panel and can be reached at Trellis@TRE-Group.com.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
CA Resources at Your Fingertips
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies