Line ‘Em Up: Linking Learning Strategy to Business Realities

For most companies, there is an eternal struggle to find out if learning is actually improving the business. They examine completion rates, assessment results and smile sheets, then try to somehow tie those to business results so they can demonstrate effectiveness. According to Brandon Hall Group’s 2018 Learning Measurement Survey, 37% of companies say they don’t measure learning’s impact because it is simply too difficult to do so.

Perhaps the reason it is so challenging is because the learning function itself isn’t aligned with the business in the first place. While 79% of companies say that aligning the learning strategy with the business is either important or critical, only 52% of companies are ready to do anything about it. Not only that, 60% of companies say a lack of alignment between learning and outcomes is a big reason outcome are not being achieved.

What you end up with is an environment where only 27% of companies say their learning strategy is effective in helping achieve business goals. If learning isn’t improving the business, why are we doing it? The results from Brandon Hall Group’s 2018 Learning Strategy Survey indicate that companies have a long way to go in developing effective strategies to actually help the business become successful.

One problem may be that the learning strategy, once developed, is seen as a static document. Business needs change; a strategy set in stone will fail to keep up with shifting business conditions. Even if the strategy was perfectly aligned at one point, it can soon become obsolete. Strategy must evolve with the business.

This impermanence might make some organizations reluctant to revisit their strategy. They may be hesitant to develop something that will inevitably change.

Our latest learning strategy and learning measurement research, soon to be published, discusses the struggle to align learning with the business, plus practices and key considerations from companies that are doing a better job of it.

For more information on our research visit

David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group