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CASE STUDY: L&D Effectiveness

This case study illustrates how to revitalise an L&D function.

A key client shifted from a functional role to take responsibility for all Learning & Development (L&D) and, specifically, for management & leadership development.

Entropy had set in! Managers were unclear on their roles and responsibilities (post downsizing) and unsure how learning might help. A number of important L&D projects had stalled as key people left the organisation. The L&D function existed, in the background of peoples’ business lives, and had reduced credibility. It “administered” major programs, but added less value than it might.

The Goal

The goal was to add value in ways which supported business imperatives, and to do so visibly….to engage multiple target audiences in learning, because learners perceived it as a practical and relevant contribution to both business results and their own career development.

JSA was charged with user research, program redesign and development of communication media, so that the functional head could concentrate on repositioning and “marketing” the function:

  • Clarifying priorities with senior leadership
  • Demonstrating “customer focus” through involvement in every possible management forum
  • Researching user experiences
  • Recruiting and briefing consultants to deliver upwards of 70 workshops per year
  • Involving multiple site Personnel Managers in design, planning and communication, so they could champion programs and add “incremental reach” to the L&D team

Visible Initiatives (Local/ Regional)

The strategy was a mix of better communication of existing programs (selling the value) and re-engineering strategically important components (demonstrating customer focus). Examples included:

  • Management and Leadership Pathways: A “Roadshow” to communicate (interactively) with 300 managers, across all functions, on multiple sites, on how to manage their own development
  • Management Excellence Online: On-line learning modules to communicate management excellence across a dozen or so key areas (e.g. performance management, talent development, staff engagement)
  • Engagement Strategy: Shift from “process to practice”, recognising it is not enough to simply measure staff engagement levels twice a year: - you have to help teams and their managers to act on findings
  • Talent Development: User research to re-engineer programs in Graduate Development (20-30 Grads per year) or Senior Leadership Development

Global uptake of Initiatives

One result of local initiatives was the extent to which the global business drew upon these. Examples included:

  • “All About Learning”: A package of 19 online modules to accelerate the personal development of about 400 L&D practitioners and hr Managers globally
  • Management Excellence Online: The first series of programs is already available for line managers, globally, on the company’s Learning Management System


  • The region is perceived as an innovator in learning deployment, hence the global uptake of programs.
  • Locally, attendance at management programs is at an all time high. That correlates with management “engagement” scores also reaching record levels.
  • Managers are buying in to the value of learning as a personal performance accelerator.

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