How to use HR as a strategic lever: aligning training with business strategy

Aligning training with business strategy has never been a more important weapon than it is in the post-Covid ‘20s battle for talent.

With staff and skills shortages running amok, it’s unsurprising that savvy C-suites are using HR more and more strategically to combat people problems.

On one hand, there’s a colossal onus on recruitment, (you can read more about recruiting strategically in turbulent times right here). But on the other hand, isn’t it sensible to focus just as much time and energy on the people you’ve already got on your side, to optimize their productivity and bolster their loyalty?

You see, uplevelled employee engagement, increased productivity and reduced attrition rates are all enviable biproducts of aligning training with business strategy. And truthfully, these advantages are more crucial than ever, in a climate where an occasional training course, team building event or Friday drinks on the boss – even pay increases – aren’t cutting it. Welcome to the ‘new normal’, where employees are crying out for purpose.

April Rinne explained in the Harvard Business Review, “Today, “climbing a ladder” is the career equivalent of “but this is how we’ve always done it.” In other words, it’s in dire need of a refresh. What got us here won’t get us there. We need models and narratives that are open to change, not impervious to it, and fit for a world in flux”.

To this end, getting strategic with learning and development (L&D) minimizes the need for panic recruitment. It helps keep your business on forward trajectory. And that’s a highly satisfactory position to be in during rollercoaster times, when the only thing that’s constant is change.

But isn’t it easier said than done to re-think and re-shape your current learning and L&D model? Like any meaningful change, it takes commitment. But it’s much less grueling with high-quality learning management system (LMS) to help you make sense of all the moving parts.

Here’s a snapshot of –

  • How aligning training with business strategy is so powerful
  • How a first-class LMS is your new best friend for hassle-free deployment of your strategic L&D plans


Aligning Training with Business Strategy Shares the Love with the People You’ve Already Got

Staff engagement and aligning training with business strategy go hand in hand. Why? Because it’s a measured approach that pieces both halves of the whole together cohesively. And, in doing so, it eradicates any time, effort and resources previously wasted on well-meaning but poorly thought-out initiatives.

In short, it’s a collaborative approach for purpose-designing ongoing learning paths that –  

  • Keep your employees engaged and feeling like they’re a valued part of your masterplan
  • Couple the development of the skills the business needs with the areas your employees want to make progress in
  • Identify and nurture potential leaders

April Rinne uses the term ‘career portfolio’ when describing the re-envisioned, more collaborative, more holistic needs post-Covid approach that HR teams need to keep pace with –

“A career portfolio approach…takes career development to a new level. It’s not only a tool for individuals to rethink their professional identity and reach their full potential. It’s also an arrow in HR’s quiver. It’s a way to…excel as a company. When done well, it actually helps talent stay. (Counterintuitive solutions are often part of a world in flux.) Think of it as HR future-proofing for success.”

And right now, aligning training with business strategy enables you to go several steps beyond fulfilling employees’ desire to learn and improve. You see, investing in employees by devising an evolving learning path with them demonstrates your commitment. But better still, it simultaneously serves both ends.

But it can be a monumental task to manually devise, deploy and keep track of individual learning paths for all of your staff. This is where a first-rate LMS helps you to step up to the plate, enabling you to deliver a tailored mix of –

  • Off-the-shelf and/or in-house custom-built training content
  • Live, virtual and/or hybrid delivery

As a result, your employees can see their ‘career portfolio’ building and the direction it’s going in, (which can be re-visited and shifted to suit).

Aligning Training with Business Strategy Eases Integration of Skills-Poor but Values-Rich Hires

Are some of your more recent additions better cultural matches for your business than skills-based matches for their roles? It’s not unusual. But why has it happened? And how do you feel about it?

  • Settling for second best in order to get a role filled? – Recent applications have distinctly lacked the requisite skills you’d usually hope to attract. So, you’ve plumped for anybody who seems keen and half decent. You get the box ticked. And they’ll sink or swim.


  • Pre-planning to navigate current skills shortages by aligning training with business strategy? You’ve made an informed decision to hire cultural fits who have demonstrated soft skills, qualities and shared values that sit well with your company culture. And they’re open to and excited by the prospect of learning the new skills you both need.

How you frame the situation makes a world of difference. And a high-grade LMS empowers you to –

  • Pinpoint skills gaps (theirs and yours)
  • Schedule and deliver a personalized mix of in-person, blended and/or virtual training content to suit
  • Track progress and results

Aligning training with business strategy doesn’t get any better than informing how you navigate skills shortages, potentially bringing a whole lot more to the table as a result.

Aligning Training with Business Strategy for Future Fit Leadership

Fact: Thousands of new and existing employees jump ship for the simple reason that they don’t want to work for their manager. And in a buyer’s market, there’s less pressure on staff to put up with inconsiderate and impolite managers who are hard work to deal with, don’t listen, and ask things they shouldn’t of their people.  

Also fact: It’s not a given that longstanding and/or more recently promoted managers have automatically got what it takes to be awesome leaders. And you aren’t alone if you’ve come up against the following leadership issues –

  • Existing Managers battling burn out as a result of staff and skills shortages, too many hours and not enough support
  • Newer Managers who have been prematurely promoted in to leadership roles, lacking in hard and/or soft skills necessary to manage and inspire team members

But, you’re half way to solving a problem once you’ve identified it. And aligning training with business strategy is a major factor for ensuring the future fitness of your business from the top down.

After all, your management team should be key contributors to the solution, not part of the problem. So, don’t assume they’re ploughing on regardless. Even if they’ve made it to the top of your organization, it’s not job done.

A prime LMS help you to make your people great. And that includes ensuring that managers are equipped to steer your business through tough times in to calmer waters.

At HireRoad, our superlative LMS – Learn by HireRoad – is how you focus on aligning training with business strategy, rather than getting bogged down in humdrum admin that can be fully automated on a self-service platform. In turn, it free up the HR team to become invaluable strategic business partners.

Do you need to enhance your L&D performance strategically, to get your business future fit, and to keep it that way? Let’s arrange a demo. Hearing about the benefits of a top of the range LMS is one thing. But, you really need to take a look behind the curtain at how it can be transcendent for your business.