ACE 2012 - Making the Case for Learning and Development Investment

By Sukh Pabial, Learning and development professional.

This first session is being presented by Kadisha Lewis-Roberts from Mitchells and Butlers (restaurants and food pub owners) and Ann Rivera of Trident Housing Association.

Kadisha helps to provide a way of starting to understand ghe business by doing a 'scan the internal environment'. This means:

- keep your finger on the organisational pulse
- meet up with newbies
- develop a sixth sense
- be a data gatherer

Following from this she says we should also scan the external environment by:

- know what's going on
- find out what your competitors are doing
- build your social capital
- develop yourself

She goes on to describe how to be the missing link between the organisation's goals and what L&D/OD can deliver. This is done by connecting the two priorities together. I like the next piece about getting the biggest bang, where Kadisha talks about understanding which programmes are the ones bringing actual business value, and which need to be dropped.

Interestingly, this presentation has been more about how to be a good L&Der and very little on how to make the case for investment. In my mind, these activities create the foundation on which you build the data needed to form a business case. What hasn't been clear is how to make that business case in order to influence the board to provide investment.

Ann talks about how when measuring ROI they measure social impact not financial impact. As a social housing group, I can see how this makes sense. She talks about how they make it clear in their organisation that they are learning everyday due to the regular changes and challenges they face. That's the key to being a learning organisation, and I agree with that.

Probably the best piece from Ann is where she revealed that they don't limit training to their staff. It is open to all people living in their houses.

They get training on:

- skills based workshops
- increasing employability
- digital inclusion
- confidence and assertiveness
- strategy and scrutiny panel

This is excellent. The customers fund the housing and therefore are given a full range of support, not just housing and support in the traditional sense.

From the session in all, I've been impressed by the L&D approaches and solutions both organisations have taken. What's been sorely lacking is how to take this great information and transform it into business speak so that you can create a business case for more investment.

Thank you for your comments. There may be a short delay in this going live on the blog page as we moderate the comments added to our blogs.