What is a business strategy? How does strategy impact training? Does the current business strategy support the talent development needs? Business strategy is simply the plan that brings together organizational goals, processes, and initiatives. The shaping, implementation, and monitoring of business strategy impacts ever aspect within an organization. Business strategy requires effective preparation of physical and financial capital resources. Physical capital includes facilities, equipment, and technology. Financial capital includes cash or other convertible assets to fund business strategy. Funding the business strategy requires careful preparation and analysis of key initiatives. Key initiatives can come in many forms, but for purposes of this article, the scope is in regards to how business strategy impacts training.
Business strategy has a direct impact on the effectiveness of training and vice-versa. Business strategy impacts training options by time, money, access, and content.
The time within the scope of business strategy and talent development is paramount to the success of initiatives. Allocating a specified amount of time for the creation, implementation, use, and evaluation of talent development initiatives is key to ensuring that there is a balance in the time needed to learn, apply, and grow. Business strategy must consider a realistic timeline of key actions needed within each phase of a talent development strategy. Neglecting the time needed to make talent development initiatives a reality and doable, requires a clear understanding of the time it will take to support such initiatives. Due to the diverse nature of job design, the time may have based on the mix of skills and knowledge per department, position, and so on. It is also important to consider a customized training plan, systematically distribute training, or randomly facilitated are also factors in time for initiatives.
Business strategy must be quantified. Understanding the indirect and direct costs associated with talent development initiatives that align with business strategy will help to justify the specific initiatives. To effectively quantify the investment of such development tools, resources, and the time it will take to need to be quantified from a micro and macro perspective. Micro – regarding the specific position and training initiative. Macro – regarding the total package of aggregate training and positions. Metrics should also be established to measure the outcomes to develop a running understanding of the ROI on training initiatives. Crafting metrics requires careful analysis and estimation from internal, and perhaps, external consultants.
Identification of the audience for specific talent development initiatives is an essential to aligning training needs with business strategy initiatives. In a perfect world, training would be accessible to everyone in the firm. However, financial and physical assets may not provide that option. Therefore, identification of the specific needs of the workforce, competency needs, and estimated impact training is paramount to crafting talent development plan. Think of it regarding logistically crafting strategies that will have the greatest impact on the short and long-term initiatives. The ranking of training will vary by firm due to the variances in business strategy, resources, talent, and operations. The rankings can change on peaks and valleys in the firm, resources available, and needs of the workforce. The key is understanding the needs, gaps, initiatives needed to develop talent to support the business strategy, and access to those that need training.
Content is critical. The needs assessment aims to identify the specific competency gaps in skills, knowledge, and resources for training initiatives. Crafting the scope and objectives of training needs are foundations to shaping the curriculum, platforms, and delivery. Research and analysis of best practices will aid Talent Management professionals with up to date and realistic approaches to creating innovative training that support the initiatives of the firm. Internal and external consultants may help with the analysis of content development to ensure that expertise is accurate, reliable, and specific to the needs.
In essence, business strategy impacts talent development, and vice-versa. The effective identification and evaluation of initiatives needs and gaps in the workforce to achieve initiatives. Balancing internal resources to implement talent development initiatives that align with achieving organizational goals is paramount. Breaking those actions down within the scope of time, money, access, and content will help align business strategy and the competencies needed to support carrying out initiatives.
by Katie Doseck, PhD MBA
Chief Visionary and Strategic Ace Up Your Sleeve | Viral Solutions LLC
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