Every organization is unique and will have its own challenges. So how do you take your Learning & Development (L&D) experience and apply it in a completely different sector? Hear how Marina Mologni, Global People Development Manager at Edwards Vacuum, did just this when she made the move from finance to engineering. Find out how she got to grips with a new business landscape. Discover how speaking the business’ language is key to building credibility and showing the value of L&D.
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Top tips for showing the value of L&D in a different sector
Don’t have time to listen now? Here are some top tips from Marina:
- Look at things with fresh eyes: Make the most of the opportunities that being new presents. Ask lots of questions. Make connections. Be ready to learn.
- Apply your knowledge and experience: Whichever sector you work in, people are people. Take all your L&D learnings and relate them to your new context.
- Challenge your stakeholders: Don’t rush ahead with digital learning requests. Question your stakeholders. Training isn’t the only answer.
- Speak the business language: L&D language doesn’t always translate. Speak the business’ language to get buy in and demonstrate your impact.
Look at things with fresh eyes
During the first few months in a new job, it’s natural that you won’t know the organization inside out. Embrace this opportunity to look at things with fresh eyes. Connect with as many people as possible. Ask lots of questions. Listen and absorb. Get to know the organization’s learning culture.
For Marina, it was important to let go of some of the ideas she brought with her from her previous role. She brought her experience and L&D tools, but was ready to learn a new business landscape and language.
“I’d been in my previous role and company for a long time. Therefore, I had a mindset, almost like a blueprint, ingrained in me. It’s important to let go of that. Obviously, there’s a lot of positive in the experience I built. But treat this as a new adventure. Be a new you in your new environment and let go of the comfort zone.”
Apply your knowledge and experience
Once you’ve started to get to grips with your new landscape, it quickly becomes clear where and how your L&D experience should be applied. No matter what industry you work in, people are people. And that means many of the L&D challenges are the same, it’s just the context that’s changed.
In the very different world of engineering, the L&D learnings and tech research Marina developed in the financial services sector are invaluable.
“In my previous role, I explored the power of Virtual Reality (VR) in learning. It was very interesting, but not unnecessarily applicable or worth the Return On Investment (ROI)… But in my current environment, where we need to train people on this specific and expensive technical machine, having VR in training with engineers is so important because they’re really immersed in that environment and that’s so critical.”
Challenge your stakeholders
In your first few months in a new role, you may feel under pressure to start delivering straight away. Instead of rushing ahead with learning solutions, focus on how you can add real value and enable business success.
For Marina, challenging your stakeholders is critical. With demand for digital learning at an all-time high, you may be faced with lots of requests. But Marina stresses that training isn’t always the answer.
“It’s very easy to get into the habit of thinking ‘I’m new, I want to make an impact’…You know, we want to say ‘Okay, I’ve done a couple of things’. And it would be easy for me [to take the approach that] they wanted something and here it is – I delivered. But I would only do them justice if I really tried to get them to the real solution… That’s where I can add value because I’m being a true consultant.”
Speak the business language
So how do you successfully challenge your stakeholders and show the real value L&D can have?
Marina highlights that having a seat at the table is vital. Rather than L&D sitting in a different space, get involved. Sit together with your business partner. Find out what the key business challenges are. Hearing it directly enables you to start speaking the business’ language. This not only helps you get buy in to your solutions, but demonstrates your impact with measures that clearly link to the desired business outcomes.
“You have to find a way to hear what’s really bothering people and how the business is challenged, in order to be there to support and speak their language. It might not be easy, because we all love our L&D language, but it’s not always translating to a business language. So, the more you start using that language, the more you become credible.”
A quick recap
Whether you’re starting in a new L&D team or looking to build your credibility in your existing role, Marina has four strategies to start showing your value.
- Look at things with fresh eyes and be ready to learn.
- Take all your L&D learnings and relate them to your new context.
- Don’t rush ahead with training requests. Challenge your stakeholders.
- Speak the business’ language to get buy in and demonstrate your impact.
Want to find out more of Marina’s tips for demonstrating L&D’s business value? Check out the full podcast.
From delivering training to leading strategic initiatives, Marina has over 20 years’ experience across the spectrum of L&D roles. She’s currently supporting workplace learning and fostering collaboration as Global People Development Manager at Edwards Vacuum.
You can find out more and get connected with Marina on LinkedIn.
On Marina’s reading and listening lists
Find out what reading, people and podcasts are currently informing Marina’s approach to L&D.
Marina loves this book. It lays out the core tools you need to be a true L&D consultant.
The founder of Towards Maturity, Laura Overton is at the top of Marina’s list of people to follow to discover the latest research and learning innovation.
For lots of interesting guests discussing and debating all things learning and development, Marina recommends checking out David James’ podcast.
Want to explore insights from learners and leaders both inside and outside the L&D industry? Marina suggests giving Helen Marshall’s new podcast a listen.
Looking for more reading tips? Check out our book blog.
Learn more from like-minded learning experts
Interested to hear more from Marina as well as other learning experts and your L&D peers? The State of Digital Learning Report is the place where you can tap into the minds of your L&D peers and learning experts, compare approaches, and get prepared for the year ahead. Access the full report here.