Starbucks and ELB Learning on Creating a Flexible, Outcome-Focused L&D Playbook

blog post title: Starbucks and ELB Learning on Creating a Flexible, Outcome-Focused L&D Playbook, with an image in the background of two people writing on a piece of paper.

On Thursday, February 22, 2024, at 2 pm ET, Cognota hosted a webinar, Elevate Your L&D Strategy: Crafting a Dynamic Playbook for Today’s Challenges to explore L&D and strategic goal alignment, solution-agnostic vendor selection, lifelong learning culture, and learning operations.

Cognota founder and CEO Ryan Austin was joined by Ellen Burns-Johnson, Lead Learning Strategist at ELB Learning, and Brandon Carson, Global Head of Learning, Leadership, and Cultural Experiences at Starbucks.

The event started off with a historical look at unforeseen disruptions that often impact businesses unexpectedly and intensely. From COVID-19 to armed political conflict to AI, such events can affect organizations immediately—yet also hold longer-term consequences.

With the need to train and reskill employees at scale and quickly to address these events’ impact on the business’ operations, L&D is tasked with finding solutions to equip the workforce to ensure readiness and business continuity.

The need for a new L&D Playbook

As such, the traditional approach to L&D is no longer sufficient in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. In this new world of work, Burns-Johnson explained how learning leaders need to pivot operations around the three R’s: Reset, Rethink, and Rebuild.

L&D playbooks differ based on needs, but all are similar in that they should include the:

  • Mission and vision of L&D as it relates to the organization’s overall goals
  • Current assessment of the current L&D operating model
  • State of the company’s learning culture
  • Methodology to measure the impact of learning programs on both employees and the overall business

The overall purpose of an L&D Playbook, Burns-Johnson demonstrated, is to close skills and capability gaps—while at the same time staying flexible and cognizant of the company’s short- and long-term strategy. Senior leadership needs to be involved, and multiple, outcome-based playbooks might be in order.

image with the following text: Learning Solutions Marketplace Unlock Employee Performance TOOLS & SERVICES FOR YOUR CORPORATE LEARNING NEEDS L&D often has the tools and skills to help solve many different problems for the organization. Deliver Host and deliver your learning while tracking engagement. e LEARNING Adopt a product development mindset. Don't be rigid. Create A studio of tools to create all types of learning. Staff Augment your team with on-demand consultants. Strategize Consulting to architect the right learning experience. Partner Learning design and development services.

 Strategic alignment with the business

Ensuring that L&D’s objectives and processes are aligned with the business is certainly nothing new. However, in an era of rapid change and the need to keep pace with skill evolution, a close match between the organization’s goals and training leadership is more critical than ever.

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Brandon Carson took the floor to discuss how Starbucks develops and delivers L&D programs to its 380,000+ employees, and then provided guidance for the audience about various operating models that can be considered. To enable stronger alignment with the business, learning needs to be “operationalized,” with systems in place to deliver clearer oversight of all aspects of L&D program development, delivery, and measurement.

Both Burns-Johnson and Carson agreed that in order for L&D playbooks to work, an organization must foster a culture of continuous learning. A learning culture or learning organization is one in which all employees are encouraged to acquire new skills and knowledge whenever possible.

With a deep commitment to learning processes and structures—and all employees focused on both individual and group betterment—the organization is able to pursue innovation, seek new opportunities for revenue, discover areas to cut costs and become more efficient, and achieve higher ROI for all stakeholders.

Synthesizing it all together for impact

Finally, Ryan Austin, CEO of Cognota, spoke about the need to have the right technology in place to streamline existing processes and formalize those that were previously ad-hoc and scattered via disparate tools.

With a unified learning operations or LearnOps strategy across the organization, data, analytics, and insights are accessible to all who touch the learning function—from designers to subject matter experts to business leaders. In this way, there can be mutual agreement on measurement and KPIs so that impact can be measured more intuitively and comprehensively.

As the first and only operations platform built specifically for L&D teams, Cognota’s LearnOps platform brings the entire learning workflow into one platform. In addition to saving time and realizing cost efficiencies, learning leaders get auto-generated insights into the performance of their teams and the learning needs of their entire organization.

image with text that says: Measure Impact and ROl If you run learning like a business, That's when the magic happens... LearnOps. + ROI Methodology® Strategic Objectives
A LearnOps platform, linked with with solution-agnostic providers like ELB Learning, organizations can access diverse tools and methodologies to tackle todays’ complex challenges.

Get started with a free LearnOps consultation. Book a demo today!

If you’d like to hear the expert’s opinions in full, check out the on-demand recording of the webinar here.

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Starbucks and ELB Learning on Creating a Flexible, Outcome-Focused L&D Playbook