May 11, 2016 in CIPD L&D Show 2016

#cipdLDshow – Align L&D to your business strategy

Dominique Borg (Arup), Peter Sheppard (Ericsson), chaired by Laura Overton (Towards Maturity).



Arup have, in the last 3 years, totally transformed the way they do learning. Through the formation of Arup University, they’ve combined a number of fragmented areas such as L&D and Information Management into one combined unit. L&D and IM work well together in terms of up-skilling people and equipping them with the information they need to do their jobs. Arup’s technical learning offerings were really fragmented, with inconsistent outputs and a patchy coverage across regions. Also, the development of new offerings was slow with some courses taking so long to develop that they were no longer relevant by the time they launched. They also struggled with their reliance on classroom training (which is difficult in a global organisation) and their e-learning efforts were rather old-fashioned ‘click and learn’.

The formation of Arup University gave them a real opportunity to redefine their joint mission, rooted in the needs of the business. Redefining the mission led to a re-evaluated team structure and processes and an increased focus on meeting the needs of stakeholders.

These changes to their offerings have resulted in a 250% increase in the number of new courses developed each year and a 450% increase in the number of modules delivered in different regions. Key messages: Get to know your business, be clear about what you want to say and keep saying it, don’t assume what you’re doing at the moment is right.



Ericsson have been evolving their strategic direction and they view the value of learning as ‘making an important contribution to strategic initiatives’. Their benchmarking with CEB shows that whilst line managers give great feedback on courses, they aren’t making as much of a sustainable impact as they could.

Their formula for transforming this? Capable Performance Consultants + planning with the business + next generation learning = learning that makes an impact for the business.

Part of this transformation was to equip all 158 L&D employees with consulting skills that equip them with the building blocks to work successfully with stakeholders. Following this, their learning consultants buddied up in pairs, working across different regions

A poll of the organisation (using glisser) showed that only a small number of organisations have learning plans that are fully integrated with business plans. Ericsson have been working hard to make sure that their learning consultants have strong relationships with their stakeholders.  Ericsson now encourage their learning consultants to identify what is required to close the learning gaps (which they have always done), but also to identify what is highly recommended and what is recommended. They felt that their previous offerings were only addressing the tip of the iceberg, but this widened scope has identified a huge pool of other opportunities.

We close with the ‘what’s the ROI of L&D?’ question. Ericsson’s approach is customer satisfaction surveys, tests, and learning transfer. In the learning transfer approach, they are using the success case method to harvest feedback, and this also leads to a great source of marketing materials.


Session conclusions: align your team & processes with  your business strategy, consult with key stakeholders, be intentional in your planning, investigate and leverage new approaches to learning.


(This was live-blogged during a session at the CIPD L&D show 2016 – I’ve tried to capture a faithful summary of the highlights for me but my own bias, views – and the odd typo – might well creep in.)

One Comment

By browsing this website, you agree to our privacy policy.
I Agree