Business, Education

Learning and development strategy creation: 7 steps

Learning and development strategy

This guide outlines the 7 key steps to creating an effective learning and development strategy for your team.

A learning and development strategy shows how employees can be retrained or given new skills to improve their abilities, confidence, and skills. L&D works to make sure that employees have the knowledge and skills they need to do their jobs well and contribute to the organization’s overall business performance. The benefits of a well-executed L&D strategy include increased morale, improved retention rates, and more engaged workers, which all result in higher productivity and performance. 

Create a learning and development strategy

Mapping out a clear, concise, and well-defined learning and development strategy is an excellent method to ensure that you’re receiving greater buy-in from your staff and that they’re meeting their learning objectives.

Align the L&D Strategy with Business Goals

Your learning and development programs for the workplace shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. L&D will fail if it operates as a separate entity from the rest of the company. 

As with all corporate programs, the first step is to determine your overall business goals. This provides clear direction as you create your learning and development strategy that’s perfectly aligned with the current strategy, goals, and performance indicators of your company.

Make On-the-Job Learning a Priority

According to the 70/20/10 model, employees should spend 10% of their time in a formal learning setting. Your learning and development strategy can benefit from incorporating a variety of formal training efforts to assist employees in gaining skills they can use for on-the-job training. A well-structured coaching program, e-learning sessions, and seminars are all examples of formal training.  

Moreover, 70% of coaching should happen at work, while 20% of learning should come from interactions with managers and coworkers. In short, everyone should be both a teacher and a student at the same time, ready to pick up new skills. However, this constant organizational learning does not occur instantly; it requires a culture of learning and committed leadership.

Determine Ownership of the L&D Project

Before you can build your L&D strategy, you must define clear ownership of the project. Larger companies often have specialized L&D teams, while learning and development are part of HR for small and medium-sized businesses.

No matter what the structure is, make sure to put together a committee with people from different parts of the organization. This will give you feedback on the need for upskilling and reskilling across different business functions and support from everyone in the organization.

Share L&D Goals

After figuring out who is in charge of the learning and development strategy, and what the company’s goals are, the next step is to set specific goals for your employees’ learning and development. These should be focused on individuals and linked to organizational development. 

Make these goals measurable, clear, attainable, and objective. Finally, to make clear what your L&D plan is meant to achieve, share these objectives with the organizations.

Identify Gaps

Analyze the skills gaps in the areas where your learning and development strategy program will be focused. Depending on the department, this may vary, and you may need to perform several types of gap analysis — for example, an analysis for the sales team, the marketing team, and one for manager onboarding.

After you’ve found the gaps, you’ll have a much better idea of how much training each department and its staff need. Then, you’ll be able to design specialized, customized L&D experiences.


Your skill gap analysis should leave you with a list of learning requirements. So, the next phase is to set priorities. You’ve probably listed several tasks you’d like to work on, but you must determine priorities because you can’t complete them all. 

When making a list of priorities for the learning and development strategy, you should start with any important issues that need to be fixed right away, like security or compliance training. Go back and look at your company’s goals again. They are probably listed in order of importance, which can help you decide how to order your L&D projects.

Measure Effectiveness

Set up KPIs for things like course completion rates, training advancement rates, assessment results, reducing skill gaps, improving team competence or productivity, and increasing digital adoption rates.

Tracking KPIs will help you identify weak points in your learning and development strategy this way and fix them as soon as they become obvious. You’ll also be able to track your progress in learning and development and set new goals for future growth.

Final Thoughts

Human capital is more important than ever. It’s one of the main things that keep a company ahead of the competition, so if you want your business to grow, you should invest in innovative learning and development programs.

By following these steps, you can successfully create a winning learning and development strategy. That being said, it’s crucial to be adaptable. Your L&D plan should always take into account what you’ve learned so far, how your training is going, what feedback you get from team members, and what the new goals are. Only by encouraging employees to learn and grow flexibly can you use new data and insights to pivot to new learning opportunities. 

Photo by Mikael Blomkvist