Developing a Learning Strategy

Many of us will have developed learning plans or training programmes over the last year to help ensure that colleagues maintain and develop skills and understanding necessary for them to be able to perform their job roles.  How many of us will have taken a step back and considered how these fit within the context of a learning strategy for our firm?

Remember the old saying about “not being able to see the wood for the trees”…?  As technology increases the volume of data available to us almost exponentially, it can be tempting to focus on individual details and results rather than looking at the big picture and developing a strategy that has the organisation’s learning needs at its heart. 

I’m not advocating a lack of emphasis on individual needs, but rather a balanced approach that considers the individual needs within the context of the needs of the wider organisation in achieving overall goals and working to ensure that the needs of both are met.  There needs to be an awareness of the priorities of senior leaders, setting a direction of travel for the whole organisation and identifying key objectives that they are seeking to achieve.  By having this awareness, we can identify the existing strengths of the organisation, but also the key challenges and areas that need to be developed further.  Having this information ensures that line managers can identify and address appropriate performance targets with their staff and align individual development programmes with the needs of both the organisation and the individual member of staff.

The products and services that our organisation delivers are at the heart of what we do – without them, our organisation would not have any income.  As a result, they should also be at the core of our learning strategy – one of the aims of the strategy should be to improve and enhance the delivery of our products and services.  This may be by developing a better understanding of the market in which we operate or by looking at the products themselves in more detail.  The key outcome is that by following the learning strategy, we’ll be able to improve performance across the organisation.

As a Learning and Development team, we also need to look to ourselves and ensure that we have the right skills to be able to lead our firm’s learning strategy.  This can involve a slightly uncomfortable reflection on how well we know our firm, its products, the people within the firm and the tools available to us.  Many of our colleagues will be relying on us to show the way forward and demonstrate how to improve performance – we can only do this effectively by ensuring that our own skills and knowledge are up to the task.  For example, this might involve taking some time either individually or as an L&D team to look more closely at the tools and technology available to us and develop our understanding and use of them before using them with the wider organisation.

Finally, as I’ve mentioned in articles before, developing a learning culture in your organisation can have a huge impact on the success of your learning strategy.  Learning happens every day, with or without formal structures – understanding this, and finding out more about how the individuals in your organisation are already learning can help you to fine tune your strategy and really make a difference.

The Development Zone platform is designed specifically to support the needs of insurance brokers and those working within the Financial Services sector.  Based around short modules that can be delivered online at a time to suit your learners and providing tools to help you create and deliver your training in a range of formats, the platform is a great way to develop, deliver and monitor your training strategy.  To find out more, why not visit the website at, or if you’re already registered on the DevZone, why not visit the DevZone Academy to find out more about the features and tools available to your firm.

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