Hey Start Ups! Start with L&D.

I’ve been allowed to take some time to reflect recently and one thing that I’ve been reflecting on is the question “when does L&D become something that a business thinks of as critical?”

I’m asking this having worked for Start-Ups, Scale-Ups, SMEs and Enterprises businesses and thinking about when these companies started the pain points each feel.

A lot of employers today talk about using L&D as a strategic advantage, but when asked few people can give me a succinct answer (even leaders in the same business will have different ideas about what L&D can / should be doing) and the answers they give rarely focus on the learning itself, just the perceived advantage. These being (and please feel free to comment at the end and add any you can think of):

Employee Value Proposition – “We have great training opportunities come join us!”

Employee Retention – “We care about developing people which is why we invest in L&D”

Everyone else is doing it – “We keep losing talent to our competitors we better set up an L&D department”

Now, these are good (not great) reasons to set up a department, but the difficulty lies in the fact that none of those points will drive operational efficiency on their own.  They don’t address the needs of the people already in the business and are incredibly difficult to bolt on when your business has grown to the point where people have taken the idea of learning as something that someone else does, because “quite frankly I just want to get on with my job, and I don’t have time for learning”.

Trying to add on everything that an L&D department could do once you realise you need one is incredibly difficult. If you have operated at a fast pace, get sh*t done, start-up environment, it is very difficult to get people to stop, reflect and learn the new set of knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to elevate the business to the next level.

Their day-to-day never included L&D so why should it now? That goes for everyone from the new starter in the junior role to the CEO.

If you want to have that elusive “Learning Culture” then I recommend that you make L&D a core part of your business plan from the moment you can.  And that moment should be when the people team is created (in a smaller business) or when you have a CLO in a larger business (if L&D wasn’t already in place).

The reason for this is that L&D exists as a support function, and it’s much easier for us to support you when we’ve been there from day one. We know what competencies you need to hire so can support Talent Acquisition, we know what competencies are missing in key roles so can support filling those as the gaps become apparent, (reducing employee attrition, helping grow your customer base and keeping current customers happy) rather than entering a company once the gaps are so big you’re spending upward of £500,000 just to identify, clarify and fill them (believe me that’s a cheap estimate).

We can build the competencies and learn for future roles, becoming so proactive we start making you money (and I can prove how I’ve done this if anyone is interested).

L&D can be hugely powerful for a business; especially when they’ve been there from the start, share the DNA of the business, and everyone (including the C-Suite) knows the advantages of it being there.

Thanks for reading.  I hope you found it useful.

If you’d like to read more articles you can, using this link: https://alignlearndo.com/blog/

If you’d like to contact Align Learn Do to see how we can help you with your L&D needs you can, using this link:https://alignlearndo.com/contact/