Alignment is the Key

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Connecting learning and development to the business is a must these days. Research shows that executives rank business impact as their number one measure of success for learning and development. Achieving business impact requires you to align programs with the business. This is not an unfair request. You would feel the same way if you funded a host of programs – regardless of the type of organization in which you work. Business measures exist in for-profit, nonprofit, government, and nongovernmental organizations. Sadly, many learning and development professionals admit that they don’t connect programs and improvement in business measures. Why? They don’t exactly know how to do this, for the most part.

The bad news is that failing to align programs with the business leaves executives guessing – often not in your favor. The good news is that aligning to the business is not that complicated. It involves three specific actions.

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Don’t miss this intriguing webinar from HRDQ-U

Achieving Business Alignment with Talent Development Programs

First, align your program to the business in the beginning – before you launch the program.
Start with the end in mind, with the end being a business measure. Sometimes the measure is evident; other times, it may take a little work. In a few situations, you may need to conduct an analysis. But this is achievable, particularly for the major programs.

Second, set a precise impact objective.
When you know the measure of interest, set a precise impact objective, such as:

  • Reduce compliance discrepancies by 10 percent in six months or
  • reduce turnover of critical talent from 25 percent to 15 percent in six months.


Specificity provides a necessary focus for the program throughout its implementation.

Third, validate the alignment through evaluation.

Validate business alignment by isolating the effects of your program from other influences. This step acknowledges the contribution of the other factors, plus gives you a credible basis for the claim that your program delivered business impact. It essentially advances your evaluation process from one that merely offers evidence of success to one that provides proof your program influenced the business.

Update headshot of Patti Phillips smiling
Patti P. Phillips, Ph.D.

Patti P. Phillips, Ph.D., CEO of ROI Institute, Inc., is a renowned leader in measurement and evaluation. Patti helps organizations implement the ROI Methodology®️ in more than 70 countries around the world.

Since 1997, Patti has been a driving force in the global adoption of the ROI Methodology and the use of measurement and evaluation to drive organization change. Her work as an educator, researcher, consultant, and coach supports practitioners as they develop their own expertise in an effort to help organizations and communities thrive. Her work spans private sector, public sector, nonprofit, and nongovernmental organizations.

Patti serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). She serves as chair of the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) People Analytics Board; Principal Research Fellow for The Conference Board; board chair of the Center for Talent Reporting (CTR); and is an Association for Talent Development (ATD) Certification Institute Fellow. She also serves on the faculty of the UN System Staff College in Turin, Italy.

Connect with Patti on LinkedIn.

Recommended Webinar
Achieving Business Alignment with Talent Development Programs

Learn about talent development programs and how to collect impact data and prove alignment with business objectives and measurements.

Achieving Business Alignment with Talent Development Programs | HRDQ-U Webinar
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