Focusing Learning on the Business

In the first post in this series we showed how there was a demonstrated link between good HR/Training practices and improved Business Results.

In fact it is even more critical than that. Joel Henning in his book “The Future of Staff Groups” comments that “the future of staff functions (HR/Training) will depend on the direct and explicit contribution to positive business results”. So, helping the business is in fact helping yourself. We are sure most of you are aware of this but it is important to reinforce this here as it reminds us on why we do what we do and how important it is.

Before talking about the tools and practices needed to link HR/Training to Business Results, it is first necessary to explore the dynamics of this linkage.

From the last post we showed the basis of the linkage between HR/Training and Business Results in this diagram below:


What this diagram is showing is that there is a direct relationship between Business Performance and Workplace Performance. This linkage has been shown again and again in the research on this matter.

When we are developing people we are interested in how this relationship changes over time. Firstly as we improve Workplace Performance from Now to the Future it shifts as shown below:


Now, because of the known link between Workplace Performance and Business Performance, the change in Workplace Performance from Now to the Future will, by definition, lift Business Performance from Now to the Future. This can be seen in a more complete Performance Relationship Map shown below:


This may seem obvious, but keeping this relationship clear is important. You would be surprised how many people misunderstand this simple fact.

So what you should now ask.

Well now we look at HOW we move from the Now to the Future. i.e. the HR/Training practices that are needed.

Firstly, how do we move Workplace Performance from Now to the Future?

Well that is our bread and butter. This is called the Learning Process. i.e. By whatever methods we use that help people to learn new skills. These new skills will lift their Workplace Performance over time from Now to the Future (as shown above).

This is one of the HR/Training practices identified in the research that leads to improved Business Results. An effective Learning Process has a direct impact on Business Performance. So time spent making your Learning Process as effective as possible will improve Business Performance.

You will notice that there is a causal relationship between Business Performance and Workplace Performance. i.e. in this case, you change one and the other will also change. Thus, if the Business changed its performance it can also change Workplace Performance. This causal relationship is our next point of focus.

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