Top 7 Components of a Successful Learning and Development Strategy

Harrison Mitchel
Sep 29, 2023
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Top 7 Components of a Successful Learning and Development Strategy

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Corporate Learning and Development (L&D) is crucial in an organization's strategy for better talent management and the overall effectiveness of the organization. This integral function optimizes employee performance, encourages career advancement, and addresses organizational needs. It identifies and bridges the knowledge and skill gaps of employees. Corporate L&D is dedicated to developing a workforce that is well-equipped to adapt to the changing industry and technology landscape. This can also contribute to achieving business objectives.

What is Corporate Learning and development?

The scope of Corporate L&D is extensive and critical in the business world. We have a variety of learning methodologies, such as e-learning, workshops, on-the-job training, mentoring, and coaching. Its objective is cultivating an environment that nurtures innovation, ensures compliance, successfully manages change, and fortifies the organization's competitive capabilities. Corporate L&D strategies are indispensable in propelling organizations toward sustained success and adaptability.

Components of a Successful Learning and Development Strategy

7 Must-have Components of a Successful L&D Strategy

Over the years, we have identified and tested seven dimensions contributing to a strong L&D function. It covers all aspects of L&D functions. Although many organizations usually execute on different dimensions of the concept, the following are the key components needed for a successful learning and development strategy.

Must-have Components of a Successful L&D Strategy
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1. Alignment of L&D Strategy with Organizational Goals

An important responsibility of an L&D executive is to meticulously craft a learning strategy that is inherently aligned with the organization's business and talent strategies. This learning strategy is instrumental in cultivating professional development and enhancing organizational capabilities, executed timely and cost-effectively. A well-conceived learning strategy catalyzes reinforcing company culture and inspiring employees to embody the company's core values.

For many organizations, the role of the L&D function is integral in actualizing the business strategy. Take, for instance, a business strategy centered around digital transformation; the L&D function would then concentrate on cultivating the essential people capabilities to facilitate this transformation. It is a universally acknowledged truth among business leaders that L&D must harmonize with the company's priorities. 

2. Partnership Between The HR and Other Business Teams

Learning leaders must secure a key role at the decision-making table in an era of novel tools and the growing necessity for hybrid work. It is advised to have a structure where L&D leaders and senior executives share the onus of capability-building. 

It nurtures an alignment with diverse organizational functions and ensures readiness to adapt to direction, priorities, or capacity changes swiftly. This collaboration facilitates a deeper understanding of what drives performance across various organizational segments.

Effective collaboration guarantees that learning initiatives are intricately woven into the organizational culture and HR processes, including hiring, onboarding, performance management, and succession planning.

L&D functions should be primed to promptly initiate capability-building programs, particularly when immediate training needs arise due to technological advancements, such as cloud-based collaboration tools. Establishing a powerful governance structure is essential wherein leadership from L&D and business units collectively define, prioritize, design, and allocate resources for capability-building programs.

With the active involvement of top executives and senior management, organizations can ensure that the L&D function’s vision is fully embraced and its initiatives are seamlessly aligned with the company’s strategic goals.

3. Assessment of Skill Gaps and their Financial Impact

Organizations need to address the prevalence of skill gaps with significant financial implications. A meticulous assessment of skill gaps is needed to pinpoint areas where employees' skills do not align with organizational needs. These gaps can result in substantial costs due to decreased productivity, lower quality of output, and increased employee turnover.

Companies investing in skill assessments are better positioned to identify these discrepancies. It also enhances their competitiveness. Skill gaps, particularly in digital proficiency and soft skills, can damage a company's ability to adapt to market shifts. Organizations must adopt strong strategies for continual learning and development to mitigate financial risks associated with skill deficits.

Assessment of Skill Gaps and their Financial Impact

4. Outcome-oriented Design of Learning Paths

Designing a learning journey requires a strict alignment of learning initiatives with organizational goals. By doing so, we can ensure that we prioritize clearly defined objectives and desired outcomes. Companies can customize educational content and delivery methods to ensure the acquisition and application of critical skills. 

It provides a framework for continuous assessment and enables timely adjustments. The emphasis on outcomes facilitates the measurement of Return on Investment (ROI) in L&D. It demonstrates the need for implementing learning initiatives for organizational success. 

Adopting outcome-oriented learning paths is essential in cultivating an adaptable, skilled workforce aligned with organizational objectives. This can contribute to enhanced productivity and innovation. A strategic focus like this bridges skill gaps and boosts organizational growth and competitiveness.

5. Execution and Implementation of the Plan

After meticulous crafting of the outcome-oriented learning plan, the execution and implementation phase takes center stage. Transforming theoretical frameworks into actionable learning experiences is a vital step. It ensures professional and organizational growth. 

Execution of a learning plan in an organization involves deploying tailored content and utilizing diverse delivery methods to engage employees. Establishing clear communication channels is crucial. It ensures professionals are well-informed and aligned with the learning objectives. 

Concurrently, a powerful support system comprising trainers, experts, and resources should be instituted to address queries and provide guidance. Implementation should be dynamic, incorporating feedback based on real-time assessments for continuous refinement. Monitoring progress and measuring outcomes against predefined benchmarks help organizations identify improvement areas. This adaptive approach helps ensure that the learning initiatives are relevant, effective, and aligned with the organization's and its workforce's evolving needs.

6. Evaluation of the Impact

Evaluation of the learning plan is important to gauge the success and areas of refinement for the learning initiatives. This phase involves a comprehensive assessment of the acquired competencies. They have a tangible influence on individual performance and organizational productivity. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are carefully analyzed to measure the return on investment in Learning and Development. 

Surveys, feedback, and performance metrics are essential for this evaluation process. It offers insights into the effectiveness of the learning journey and its alignment with organizational objectives. The insights gathered from this evaluation contribute to refining future strategies. 

Several perspectives have been identified for defining and assessing the impact of learning:

  1. Strategic Alignment: This assesses the degree to which the learning strategy effectively underpins the organization's priorities.
  2. Capabilities Development: This evaluates the proficiency of the L&D function in aiding employees in developing essential mindsets, skills, and knowledge. The impact is measurable by comparing individuals' capability gaps against a robust competency framework.
  3. Organizational Health: This considers the extent to which learning contributes to enhancing the overall vitality and core of the organization. Applicable dimensions of the McKinsey Organizational Health Index serve as a foundational baseline.
  4. Individual Peak Performance: Beyond fundamental capabilities, this explores how efficiently the L&D function optimizes employees' role impact while sustaining a balanced work-life equilibrium.

With access to extensive data, L&D functions are presented with expanded opportunities to evaluate and forecast the business ramifications of their initiatives.

7. Integrate L&D Activities into HR Processes

Integrating the learning and development activities seamlessly into HR processes emerges as a strategic necessity. This integration ensures that learning interventions are not isolated events but are intertwined with broader human resource strategies. 

From onboarding to career progression, HR is pivotal in embedding learning as a core component of the employee lifecycle. Integration facilitates the alignment of L&D objectives with professional career goals and organizational outcomes.

Organizations can cultivate teams with the necessary skills and competencies by incorporating L&D into performance management, talent acquisition, and succession planning. This approach enhances adaptability and nurtures innovation. It also ensures that the employees evolve with organizational needs and contribute to sustained competitive advantage.

The 70:20:10 Learning Framework

The 70-20-10 Model for Learning and Development is a renowned formula in the training domain. It articulates the optimal sources of learning for successful managers. It posits that 70% of knowledge is derived from job-related experiences, 20% from interpersonal interactions, and 10% from formal education.

The 702010 Learning Framework
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A study published in ResearchGate states that Senior managers have pointed out that adopting the 70:20:10 framework was partly due to the prevailing component of 70% development attained through experiential learning. This resonated with their anticipation that employees should acquire knowledge on the job.

The model is particularly valued as a foundational guideline for organizations aiming to enhance the efficacy of their learning and development initiatives through diverse activities and inputs. It remains a prevalent framework globally and aids organizations in structuring learning experiences.

According to the framework, experiential learning (70%) is paramount as it allows employees to refine job-related skills, make informed decisions, tackle challenges, and network with influential individuals like mentors within the organizational environment. It also cultivates learning from mistakes and receiving instantaneous performance feedback.

Interactions with others (20%) facilitate learning through social engagement, coaching, mentoring, collaborative endeavors, and peer interactions, with encouragement and feedback being the cornerstone of this learning modality.

The model suggests that only 10% of professional growth ideally stems from formal instructional methods and educational events, a perspective that often astonishes those from academic spheres.

The 70-20-10 model serves as a strategic blueprint for organizations worldwide seeking to maximize learning outcomes by balancing experiential, social, and formal educational approaches. This model underscores the significance of diverse learning experiences. 


An effective L&D strategy bridges the skills gap, fosters innovation, enhances productivity, and contributes to organizational growth. Organizations must leverage models such as the 70-20-10, focusing on a balanced approach that combines experiential learning, interpersonal interactions, and formal education. 

A well-orchestrated L&D strategy with premium training providers is integral to cultivating a skilled, adaptable, and engaged workforce. Training providers such as Edstellar position your organization for sustained success and competitive advantage in the market sector.

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Harrison Mitchel

Harrison Mitchel is a Learning & Development expert with 12 years of experience in the field. His expertise lies in employee's technical skill development and training programs. Harrison has a proven track record of designing and implementing learning initiatives that enhance employee skills and drive organizational performance. His writings provide valuable insights into the world of Learning & Development, offering readers practical advice on how to foster a learning culture and develop effective training programs. His deep understanding of Learning & Development dynamics makes him a trusted voice in the field.

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