Like all the other parts of an organisation, L&D also needs to deliver business value. For many years L&D has been trying to convert learning value into business impact, but demonstrating results is challenging.

The LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report (2017) identified two key factors that give insight into L&D’s dilemma:

• Business impact is the number one measure used by CEOs, yet only 8% currently see the business impact of L&D.

• ROI is the number two measure desired by CEOs, yet only 4% see L&D’s ROI. In our practice we see most L&D departments struggle to prove the value of investments in learning and development.

‘L&D top challenges are tied to demonstrating business impact’

(LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, 2017)

Current L&D approach

The world of L&D is changing rapidly. Various improvements and innovations are giving rise to greater professionalisation. Blended learning, microlearning, social learning, workplace learning,user experience design, learning support, performance support, new evaluation models, and innovative technologies all make learning solutions scalable.

However, more is needed. Progress must be made around formal learning solutions, especially; but this alone is insufficient to achieve the desired
business impact.

What can we learn from the way business solves these problems?

Organisations regularly change their business model.

This is necessary, as otherwise they would find it difficult to survive. Take the retail sector as an example. The rise of online sales has forced traditional retail operations to change their business models or die.

These forces apply everywhere, including L&D. We can learn a lot from the way our own organisations adapt and change their business models to meet new challenges and opportunities.

L&D Business Models

We have defined four business models for L&D with different outcomes, see figure.

On the right, the Performance Enabler and the Value Creator are focused on supporting organisations to perform better and deliver business value.