HPLOs have six characteristics in common:
1. ENSURING ALIGNMENT
Demonstrating value is a foundational characteristic of all HPLOs.
Value is established by focusing on a formal process to align learning
and performance improvement solutions and priorities with
business strategies. Alignment, as a key characteristic of HPLOs,
begins with a learning strategy that maps learning resources to:
competencies, individual development plans, roles, models of performance
and corporate goals.
2. PROVIDING LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
Another critical characteristic of HPLOs is their provision of a
broad range of internal and external formal and work-based opportunities
using a more blended learning environment. HPLOs
recognize the need to increase the amount of experiential learning
(commonly known as on-the-job learning), redesign the
classroom experience, increase the amount of informal learning
and embrace the need for new technologies and new modalities.
By pulling experiences from all across the learning spectrum,
HPLOs not only create an environment with more frequent
learning opportunities, they also create a blended learning experience
that improves key performance indicators, such as:
revenue, employee engagement, customer satisfaction, turnover
and organizational productivity.
3. MAXIMIZING LEARNING EFFECTIVENESS
Improving learning effectiveness and efficiency are two common
characteristics of HPLOs. Maximizing the effectiveness of learning
is achieved by aligning learning initiatives with business needs
and providing timely access to relevant blended learning opportunities.
HPLOs also demonstrate effectiveness by monitoring
individual and organizational performance indicators and linking
changes in performance to both learning and non-learning
performance improvement activities. HPLOs typically use an
assortment of process and reporting tools such as balanced scorecards
to assess learning’s impact on individual and organizational
performance metrics by gauging key performance indicators or
4. CONSIDERING NON-LEARNING SOLUTIONS
It is estimated that HPLOs devote a significant portion of their
time (40 per cent) to non-learning solutions, which are often under
the general heading of performance improvement solutions.
These solutions may include a wide range of activities such as organizational
development, process analysis and improvement,
talent management, job-specific tools and resources, performance
coaching and feedback, knowledge management, performance
management, incentives and non-incentive motivational strategies.
5. MEASURING SUCCESS
Efficiency of learning in HPLOs balance centralized and decentralized
aspects of the learning function, along with internal
process improvement, use of technology and strategic outsourcing.
HPLOs also demonstrate efficiency by monitoring time, usage
and cost indicators and linking decreases in these to changes in the
processes and practices of the learning function.
6. DEMONSTRATING C-LEVEL INVOLVEMENT
A final characteristic of HPLOs is C-level involvement, which
means visible involvement and support from senior learning and
business leaders with the learning and performance improvement
initiatives. Vice-presidents and C-level executives of HPLOs continue
to support learning in several ways, such as public statements
of the value of workplace learning and performance, the participation
as facilitators or speakers in the learning initiatives and by
including learning objectives as part of performance goals. Support
for learning initiatives from CEOs and senior executives in performance
goals is critical, because their vision determines the learning
structure and environment in the entire organization. The organization’s
strategy forms the platform from which business unit goals
and then individual development plans and key performance indicators
are identified. Therefore, the organization’s goals, strategies and
competencies provide a framework under which the development of
business unit-level and individual-level learning initiatives fall.
With priorities cascading down to business units and individual
performance plans, employees can clearly envision how integral
their performance is to the success of the organization. With the
connectivity of the organizational and individual levels, employees
in HPLOs are more accountable for business results, such as, increased
revenue or increased customer loyalty, and are rewarded
when their individual performance contributes to business results.
It goes without saying that HR and learning leaders in HPLOs
have the influence to be a strategic part of the senior leadership team.
Without access and knowledge to the organization’s overall business
goals, objectives and strategies, as well as the individual business unit
goals, learning will not be able to align and demonstrate its true value. n
Michael Nolan is president of Friesen, Kaye and Associates. Friesen,
Kaye and Associates is celebrating 50 years in the learning and
performance improvement field. Attend Nolan’s session at the HRPA
Annual Conference, entitled “Characteristics of High Performance
Learning Organizations,” on February 2 at 3:00 p.m.
learning & development
HPLOs RECOGNIZE THE NEED TO INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF EXPERIENTIAL
LEARNING (COMMONLY KNOWN AS ON-THE-JOB LEARNING), REDESIGN THE
CLASSROOM EXPERIENCE, INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF INFORMAL LEARNING
AND EMBRACE THE NEED FOR NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND NEW MODALITIES.
68 ❚ SPECIAL CONFERENCE EDITION 2017 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL