Drive organisational performance with L&D initiatives

Written by Kai Xin Koh


In this newsletter, I’d like to forward some strategies advocated by notable game changers on how to keep business outcomes in sight with their learning and development initiatives. I’ve also embedded links to free and available resources that you can leverage to drive business impact to your organisation.


September Insights

Click on the Menu:

1. How mature is your learning strategy?

2. The difference between learning objectives and performance outcomes

3. Must listen L&D podcast to drive performance 
And key actionable insights

4. Free Piktochart Business Storyteller Summit



1.Learning Strategy Maturity Model

Without a strong direct connection between business strategy and learning strategy, even the best learning experiences and content won’t be able to move the needle on outcomes.

The Brandon Hall Group broke down Learning Strategy into 4 different levels, with Level 4 being the most impactful to an organisation’s performance. Which one do you think your organisation falls under?

Companies found a blended approach of  learning together with an outcome specific learning measurement model helps them move up the maturity curve.

How can Learning Strategy be outcome specific?

1. Established the desired business outcomes
2. Define the knowledge, skills, and behaviours needed to help achieve those results.
3. Evaluate the most effective composition of formal and experiential learning to achieve the results.
4. Measure change in knowledge, skills, and behaviours  after the programme.

More on

There are a lot of nuances when it comes to the different knowledge, skills, and behaviours that a talent has to possess in order to drive performance in his or her job function. Thankfully, the Skills Framework developed by SkillsFuture contains comprehensive breakdown of these elements in a form of critical tasks an individual must perform to be considered as competent. Due to the actionable nature of these critical task statements, they can be converted into learning outcomes in  a programme versus the typical passive learning objective such as “The programme will help learners to understand XYZ”.


2. The difference between objectives and outcomes

There are different levels to learning objectives that can be written in accordance to the Bloom’s Taxonomy framework. The lower level objectives are knowledge-based that concerns how the learners understand and remember. The highest level of learning is one that is actionable. Unfortunately, many of the learning objective statements are written in a manner that  focuses on the content/knowledge rather than the application and outcome.

1. Knowledge-based learning objectives guide the content to be covered in the training.
2. Learning outcomes guide the application of the new knowledge.
3. Performance outcomes allows L&D to measure the effectiveness of the training from a business strategy perspective.

Here’s a simple table that shows the difference between these 3 components:

Learning objectives vs Performance Outcomes e1601891944949


3. My favourite L&D podcast and episodes about enabling performance with learning

Each episode by David James feels like a home run to me. Most times, it also feels like a boxing match whenever David passionately challenges the old in a no nonsense manner.

These are must listen episodes:
• Is L&D solving real problems?

• Performance focused, data-led and campaign driven L&D

• Performance Consulting

The key ideas covered in these episodes are mainly around how the L&D team should shift from being  training organisers to performance consultants. Without this shift, the L&D department will eventually be seen as irrelevant because:

• Team leads may feel that trading their team’s time for ineffective traditional workshops isn’t worthwhile. This is due to the operational disruption that comes with it.

• Self-directed employees are finding more effective learning avenues on their own outside of work.

• Learning clients may go direct to IT for learning tech solutions

• etc

These episodes offered these insights to becoming performance consultants:

1. Spend time, money, and effort on real problems rather than perceived problems

The following are not actual problems. 

  • No one is using the LMS
  • The company doesn’t have a conflict resolution training programme
  • The company’s e-learning isn’t interactive enough.

Why? These are not problems for the people whom L&Ds are seeking to engage. An individual doesn’t care about whether e-learning is interactive as long as it can help them to do their job better.


2. Contextualise the L&D solutions

The developed solutions are often divorced from its original and actual need because they are taken out of context. When learning initiatives are designed based on aggregated common needs and are standardised in the name of scalability and cost-effectiveness, the performance outcomes are compromised. The moment we try to serve everyone with a single solution, we benefit no one.

Often the solution to the performance problem isn’t a full-day workshop or a new LMS system. Suggestion: Suspend any judgment on  how the solution might look like and seek to understand the underlying contextual problem.


3. Apply a campaign approach to learning (Case study Citi)

The adoption of a learning solution is very dependent on the learning culture (or lack thereof) within the organisation. Citibank has won multiple awards for its Learning & Development Strategy and this is largely attributed to its differentiated performance-driven approach. Led by Brian Murphy, Head of Learning and Leadership Development, the company applied a campaign approach to learning and saw massive results in these areas:

  • Learning participation,
  • Learning engagement
  • Staff satisfaction levels,
  • Sustained learning by staff

“Underpinning the change was a principle that Citi’s people, in whichever part of the firm they worked, deserved better than a menu of training course”

Citi launched #BeMore, a CEO sponsored, non-HR branded, multi-channel internal marketing campaign designed to empower people to take control of their own development. It uses social learning to educate and engage people while providing a central access point for all things learning across the region. Learning the team’s priorities have moved from designing and organising traditional programmes to supporting employee-owned learning experiences. The 70:20:10 learning approach consist of:

(a) 30-day development challenge: learners to undertake 30 micro actions (one per day).

(b) Employee stories: feature employees and leaders transformation

(c) Resource Centre and user generated content

(d) Ideas Jam: World Cafe format to gather insights and feedback about where employees want to be and learning can help them get there.

(e) Development Planning: Connect employees and line managers to create an individual development plan.


You may also download the full paper on the step-by-step approach that Citi took to develop award-winning agile learning solutions here:

Reminder: If you’re a client of our Stories That Stick or Persuasive Presentations That Sell programme and hasn’t gained access to our free 30-day storytelling mastery email course, drop me an email to request access: [email protected]. 

4. Free access to Business Storyteller Summit by Piktochart

Speaking about 70:20:10 and informal learning, you and your teams shouldn’t miss this upcoming Storyteller Summit!

Business Storyteller Summit

This November, Picktochart will be hosting a series of fireside chat and talks featuring storytelling experts from around the world. Many of them I admire such as Nancy Duarte and Andy Raskin and I feel privileged to be included in the line-up of speakers.

I’ll be chatting about “The secret behind writing irresistibly-persuasive pitches” with Agata Krzysztofik, Head of Marketing, at Piktochart. What are the performance outcomes you may ask? Answer: Get your ideas heard, win over tough audiences, and get the “yes” from stakeholders that you deserve.

Koh Kai Xin Business Storyteller Summit Piktochart
This event is completely FREE. Click this link to reserve your spot now. 

Sign up now


Article Written By: Kai Xin Koh

Co-founder and Head of training at HighSpark, Kai Xin's super power is to empower high-performing individuals win more hearts and minds through persuasive communications. She was recently one of the only 20 Singaporeans to be honoured on the Forbes30Under30 Asia list. Beyond business, Kai Xin makes time for meditation, is determined to lead her life mindfully, and aspire to unveil the magic of the mind.

You May Also Like…