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Why align learning strategy with business goals

Most organizations see the value of an L&D team. But many aren’t making the most of what this department can do for the business. Here’s why you should make L&D a real partner to the business.

Videhi Bhamidi

Traditionally, companies have viewed Learning & Development teams as a must-have. But as more businesses face a growing skills gap issue among their teams, L&D has come to the forefront like never before. And while many agree on the benefits of learning in the workplace, one question remains: how can L&D teams effectively help organizations address learning needs to successfully achieve strategic business goals?

The answer is simple: align your learning strategy with your business goals.

L&D professionals need to and should be doing far more than just L&D. We should  be getting far more involved in the business, not simply so that we can become better L&D professionals, but so the business itself becomes better for our interventions.


When your learning strategy is aligned with your strategic business goals, you ensure that every employee is working towards the same common goal. Plus, employees themselves become more productive in their roles, improving their impact on their team’s goals and the overall business goals too.

Now, this may seem like an obvious solution. However, a study developed by McKinsey concluded that only 40% of companies had a learning strategy that was aligned with business goals. If you think your organization might not be part of that 40%, it’s time to take a step back and reexamine your learning strategy. Here are 6 reasons why you need to ensure your learning initiatives and business goals are aligned:

Why organizations need to align learning initiatives and business goals

1. Design learning initiatives with direct impact

When L&D is aligned with the business goals, they’ll be working on the root cause of performance gaps and not developing generic training courses.

For example, if your Sales team’s is underperforming, this might not be due to a lack of sales acumen. It could also be because of issues with the sales process, the team’s knowledge or their working environment. When L&D is aligned with the business, they’ll be able to conduct an analysis in order to develop the best training intervention instead of simply reacting with yet another sales training course.

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2. Target upskilling needs

With better alignment between learning and business goals, L&D can better focus on helping employees acquire the skills and knowledge required in your business, right now. This helps companies bridge the skills gap faster and remain competitive in their industry.

For example, L&D concluded that your inbound sales team mentioned earlier had a lack of process training. They would then roll out a specific course on this topic to share the exact knowledge and skills required in this scenario.

3. Reduce your L&D costs

With better alignment between learning strategy and the business, there is no unnecessary training. Plus, your L&D can better determine whether formal training is even needed.

For example, since your L&D identified and targeted the specific needs of your inbound sales team, your organization saved time and money by not rolling out another generic sales training course.

4. Learning initiatives have a visible and measurable ROI

When learning initiatives are designed with business goals in mind, stakeholders can notice immediate value delivery across teams that finally impacts business goals.

For example, an upskilled sales team can better handle leads and convert them into customers faster than before. This speed and results are obvious on the job and it becomes easier for both L&D and the Sales team to prove the training ROI.

5. Provide personalized learning

When L&D becomes a real partner to the business, the team works as a performance coach to identify the real skills or knowledge gap to propose actionable learning initiatives as opposed to facilitating one-size-fits-all generic training. This helps L&D meet every team’s needs in an individualized and personalized way for better performance support.

6. Improve employee motivation

When aligned with the business, learning initiatives enable employees to gain specific upskilling support in their roles and they too can see the clear impact they can have on the business. This has a massive impact on the motivation and morale of the team.

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About the author

Videhi Bhamidi is a Learning Product Consultant at Easygenerator. With over 15 years of experience in e-learning, user-experience research, and thought-leadership projects, she is a regular contributor to L&D magazines. She is an Oxford alumnus and strives to fuse design, research, technology, and didactics in her solutions.