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Business Acumen in L&D

Understanding the fundamentals of the vast domain that is Learning & Development with the help of a self-proclaimed L&D geek.


* Business Acumen is a combination of skills and knowledge that, summed up, explains how well an L&D professional understands the business they operate in. Having Business Acumen means understanding how that business makes money, what it spends money on and what drives business performance.
* L&D’s role is to support business performance either by driving down cost or driving up revenue through skills and know-how development.
* Having Business Acumen builds organizational trust in L&D.
* L&Ds don’t typically have this know-how for two main reasons: the main focus of L&Ds professionals is psychology-oriented, and the business’ expectation of L&D is to execute upon request rather than to advise.
* To acquire Business Acumen, L&Ds can: expose themselves to the operational and financial teams’ work, take part in projects to practice business-specific skills, or learn about the industry from external sources (i.e., domain research papers, articles, podcasts).
* Understanding business metrics and KPIs directly from operational and financial teams is essential for building them into effective learning interventions.
* Prototyping learning interventions together with operational and financial teams ensures a close connection between business growth and learning.
* Measuring the impact of a learning intervention is easier when you build business KPIs into learning program prototypes.
* Understanding what drives a domain, a business, or an employee is the best way to exercise the support role that L&D has towards an organization.

Business Acumen as a form of knowledge:

– Understanding the business model
– Knowing the drivers of profitability and cashflow
– Understanding the interdependencies of the various business functions

Business Acumen as a skill:

– Knowing how to act based on the information above
– Proposing and implementing L&D solutions that fit the need identifies
– Forecasting the impact of these solutions and measuring results

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More episode from this series

Our guest is Lavinia Mehedintu, People Experience Manager at eMAG, Eastern Europe's largest e-commerce website, and co-founder and content curator at Offbeat, the digital platform of actionable resources exclusively dedicated to L&D professionals. Together we cover some of the most important aspects of working in Learning & Development, from topics like workplace psychological safety to understanding L&D metrics and analytics. Each episode has actionable advice that you can start implementing TODAY.

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