Figuring out exactly what training is needed to drive organizational performance is a consistent and prevalent challenge for L&D. It often means relying on business partners to tell you what’s going on in their department and taking your training cues from their recommendations.
But the reality of this can be floods of training requests for performance issues that are not related to training at all. Or requests for marathon training sessions that you and your team know will not produce optimal learning outcomes.
To get around these issues, many L&D teams have introduced the concept of a Learning Advisory Committee to their organizations. These committees allow training teams to get up close with representatives from across the business to consult on appropriate learning solutions and training that gets to the heart of business performance.
What is a Learning Advisory Committee?
A Learning Advisory Committee is a cross-functional organizational group that is formed with the objective of analyzing business performance and corporate goals in order to produce valuable learning solutions aligned with organizational objectives.
The term “Learning Advisory Committee” may vary from one organization to another. You might also see them referred to as Learning Advisory Groups or Training Advisory Councils. Some larger corporations have established “learning universities,” for example, that bring together executive sponsors and other stakeholders to identify training needs. However, the core principles remain the same.
Ultimately, establishing a learning advisory committee means ensuring the right training is produced at the right time by providing a formal channel for training requests, feedback, and consultation with stakeholders. By challenging requests for new training and getting to the root of the issue, you’ll be better placed to provide training solutions that make sense and that achieve the desired business outcomes.
“Unfortunately, many business leaders don’t know what they need. But they will often come to us as though they do. We’ve got to make sure that we’re treating the right problem. Too often in L&D, we’re trying to be helpful and we give them what they want. But, actually, what they need is often not what they want.” – Nick Howe, CLO, Area9 Lyceum
Learn more about the best practices for forming and running your Learning Advisory Committee in
this free ebook:
Learning Advisory Committees: How to Make L&D a Strategic Pillar in Your Organization
Who Should Participate?
This largely depends on the size and structure of your organization, but all major business functions should be represented on the committee by senior management within those departments.
The idea is that these business partners will be able to represent the interests, challenges, and current state of their departments to help L&D identify and resolve training issues as effectively as possible.
What Activities Should the Learning Advisory Committee Perform?
The focus should be on constructive communication between L&D and the rest of the organization. As such, a quarterly meeting to discuss the following points is recommended:
- The performance of existing training solutions
- Organizational KPIs that relate to training
- Suggestions or ideas for new training solutions
- Key performance challenges faced by different business units
However, you should meet as frequently as necessary to align L&D strategy with the rest of the business.
Why Should You Form a Learning Advisory Committee?
Forming a Learning Advisory Committee provides lots of benefits to the training team, the business, and your learners.
Position L&D as a Strategic Partner
Working this closely with business partners can ensure that L&D is seen as an important strategic influence. Not only that, but it offers the opportunity to tie training initiatives directly to improved organizational performance.
More Commitment from Subject Matter Experts
When SMEs are required for different training projects, the Learning Advisory Committee can help to identify top performing SMEs in different areas. As representatives can become directly involved in recruiting those SMEs for various training projects, the L&D team can expect a higher level of investment from their SMEs for those projects.
Higher Focus on Effective Training Solutions
Too often, L&D can become caught up in producing training that the business wants without having the opportunity to guide business partners towards the training they need, or declining the request if training is not an appropriate solution for the problem. By establishing a Learning Advisory Committee, learning leaders can steer the conversation towards consultation over a potential training issue rather than fielding high volumes of training requests.
Whether you already work closely with business partners and need to formalize the process or you find it challenging to engage the rest of the organization in a conversation about learning solutions, a Learning Advisory Committee provides a platform for valuable and constructive discourse.
A Learning Advisory Committee goes a long way towards enabling your team to keep up with training demand. For more tips, check out this free ebook:
The Training Manager’s Guide to Team Productivity & Meeting Training Demand