Podcast | How To Understand L&D’s Perception & Align To Your Business

Gary Stringer
April 19, 2024
April 19, 2024

Struggling to shift L&D’s perception in the business? You’re not alone!

Thankfully, Danielle Dziurun is here to help - with a proven framework for understanding current perception, shifting it, and aligning to business goals.

By the end of this episode, you’ll have the confidence and skills to improve L&D perception and impact.

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0:00 Intro to Danielle
2:06 Understanding L&D’s perception
7:04 Next steps based on your learnings
10:21 Connecting development to core values
14:58 How we align to commercial goals
20:02 Using data effectively in L&D
23:22 Removing friction for learners

Six lessons on understanding L&D's perception and aligning with your business

1. Interview stakeholders across the business, using consistent questions…

When you’re new to a business, you need to learn as much as you can, pretty damn fast!

What does the business do? What’s the context of the space it works in? How do the people and the culture work?

Danielle did this by speaking to as many people, at various levels of the business, using a consistent set of questions.

“These were really about figuring out how people perceived L&D, their place in the organisation, what challenges they were facing, what current L&D activity was going on… 

“And this helped me to really build up a picture of what people wanted and what they expected from L&D, and maybe redirect a little bit if the expectations were unrealistic, what their aspirations were and what their pain points were.”

2. … then map out what you learn to spot common pain points and quick wins

“I used Miro, but you could do it in any way. You could use Excel, you could use Word, whatever works for you. 

“And it just helped me to start identifying the patterns and spot the common needs and concerns and priorities and really start to identify some quick wins as well for L&D.

“Because you want to start building up that identity and start serving people's needs while in the background, you're laying some of that longer-term strategic foundation.” 

3. Funnel what you’ve learned into your short and long-term plans.

“The mapping exercise that I did and the insights I gained through that whole exercise were just invaluable because they were basically my compass. 

“They pointed me in the right direction and I used them to validate and add depth to the results of a preliminary learning needs analysis survey that I ran, and this exercise also started to help me build up a stakeholder map for L&D.”

This gave Danielle a platform to start forming key relationships and connections to internal experts, as well as the colleagues and leaders that had a passion for learning.

And both the pain point and stakeholder mapping make it far easier to get buy-in and support from people, and align leadership with your L&D vision.

4. Ensure development is connected to core company values.

Consulting is a knowledge-driven world, one that requires constant learning and adaptability. Hence why curiosity is one of DT Consulting’s core values, and why L&D was built around the idea of cultivating curiosity.

“It was extremely important for our leadership team that our core values, which for DT, are excellence, integrity, empathy, belonging, and curiosity, that they were woven into the fabric of what it means to do well within our organisation.”

“One of my first significant pieces of work at DT was to spearhead the development of a capability framework to outline what high performance looks like and to support our people's development and career progression.”

“Building and sharing knowledge and developing oneself and others are essential performance expectations within our framework and they’re key milestones for advancement at every level of a person's career with us.”

5. Here’s how L&D can build a commercial understanding of the business…

“To do this effectively, you just need to develop a really deep understanding of the business that you're operating in, how it makes its money, its internal and external environments… find out which areas are profitable and which offer those growth opportunities.”

This will help you connect your L&D efforts to revenue generation and the overall business goals.

And when you’re having conversations with leaders, it’ll help you connect and build crddibility, because you can show that you understand their business priorities and can help support them in achieving their business goals.

“Start by engaging in conversations about business drivers and identifying key dependencies on people and their capabilities to execute that business strategy. And this is a big thing!  To engage business leaders effectively, you need to talk about competence gaps and needs, not training.”

6. A lot of the data you need is out there in the wild already

“And it's up to you to go on a bit of a treasure hunt across the organisation to discover what already exists.”

It’s a case of identifying those business KPIs we want to influence and then the sources of data that we can look at to help us demonstrate our impact.

Danielle has been inspired by Will Talheimer's Learning Transfer Evaluation Model, which has helped her think outside the box when it comes to learning data that could be useful for demonstrating impact.

“It basically ranks the relative value of the measures of effective learning, and it starts at attendance and engagement at the lowest level, goes up through learner perception and knowledge, which gives some evidence of effective learning, having taken place up…

“Up through demonstrating decision and task competence on the job and through to the top, which is the wider impacts of transfer of learning being the best evidence for learning effectiveness.”

Danielle credits this model for broadening her thinking beyond the usual L&D data, like attendance/completion rates and smile sheet results, to those sources of data that would demonstrate impact on performance and the wider business.

Useful links