When you want to expand your influence in your organization beyond an L&D professional to a trusted strategic partner, you must speak the right language. Familiarize yourself with these terms and how you can integrate them into meaningful development programs to elevate performance to the next level.
This is a common term for the last line of an income statement or profit and loss statement (P&L) that indicates net profit (or a loss). Tying your L&D initiatives to profitability by investing in employees so they make better strategic decisions (and take actions to increase profit) differentiates a mission-critical development initiative from a nice-to-have. Describing the value of the training in terms of bottom-line impact can build your credibility in the business as a strategic partner.
This is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment. Training costs money. To gain buy-in for the investment of a training initiative, most L&D professionals are tasked with projecting the expected return on that investment. While it may be tempting to make grand claims about the overarching improvements an initiative can create, it’s best to be targeted. Think about what the organization needs – is it to collect customer payments faster? Operate more efficiently? Pick a specific area to measure, tie the training initiative to that measure, and follow up doggedly. It will be more meaningful to the business to show specific, quantitative improvement in one area than to make a broad generalization.
Every organization needs a clear strategy for developing the next chain of leadership. Succession planning ensures that business continues to run smoothly after a company's most important people move on to new opportunities or retire (Source). Training is an integral part of succession planning because the employees being promoted into management may not already possess all the skills needed for those roles. Good succession planning means a decreased need to hire outside talent, which means cost-savings for the organization, more resident knowledge remaining in the organization, and usually a better organizational culture. Attrition and retention can be tied to real dollars – don’t make a case for developing high-potential leaders without articulating the financial impact to the business.
Competency models provide a framework for defining the skill and knowledge requirements of a job and are widely used for defining and assessing hard and soft skill proficiencies within organizations. They represent a key component of recruitment and hiring, as well as talent and performance management activities employed by HR departments (Source). Examples include business acumen, communication, leadership accountability, and teamwork.
A training needs assessment identifies an individual's current level of competency, skill, or knowledge in one or more areas and compares that competency level to the required competency standard established for their position or other positions within the organization (Source).
A gap between what employers want or need their employees to be able to do and what those employees can actually do when they walk into work (Source). A needs assessment would identify skill gaps.
A training needs analysis process is a series of activities conducted to identify problems or other issues in the workplace and determine whether training is an appropriate response (Source).
At the individual level, continuous learning is about expanding the ability to learn by regularly upgrading skills and increasing knowledge. Continuous learning in the workplace involves viewing all experiences as potential learning and re-examining assumptions, values, methods, policies, and practices (Source). With professional development, individuals earn or maintain professional credentials. This can include degrees and formal coursework, attendance at conferences, and participation in informal learning opportunities (Source). Continuing education credits are part of professional development.
This is an umbrella term that covers training that happens through action learning while using simulations and serious games (Source). Participants learn through experience, leading to higher retention rates, quicker on-the-job application, and better overall results from the investment of the training program.
Virtual and hybrid learning is familiar to all of us by now. Create a learning environment where participants can interact, communicate, view and discuss presentations, and engage with learning resources while working in groups, whether it’s in a hybrid or a virtual setting. Meet participants where they are and design your programs flexibly to accommodate different styles of learning (Source).
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