Learning and talent management have traditionally worked independently of each other, but towards the same goal – increased productivity. As technology continues to evolve, the two functions are intertwining, creating more streamlined and effective learning experiences that impact employee performance. Learning is using talent management, performance management in particular, to drive development plans, while talent management is using learning to cultivate future leaders. Together, they are changing development strategies and the way in which you manage and allocate learning content, ultimately improving performance.

Efficient learning

As the functionality of learning became integrated within HR, there was a strategic transformation in the way you prescribe learning, proving learning is inseparable from performance management. Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS), guided by performance results, now develop personalized learning experiences. We need to customize content that’s centrally stored to meet the needs of various employees without losing the core learning lessons. This strategic deployment of content is impacting the outcome of learning initiatives and creating efficiencies for talent managers. The delivery of personalized learning ensures relevancy, eliminates redundancy, and is unattainable without the fusion of traditionally siloed learning and talent management. With this, employees get the most out of training – and employers get the most out of them.

Efficient learning processes utilize performance metrics for the development and growth of employees. A personalized lesson plan becomes a byproduct of efficient learning through identification of current competencies and performance. Learner performance data tell talent managers where employees need to improve, and identify areas of success. Managers are better equipped to hold employees accountable for the competencies aligned to individual development activities and to capture performance metrics gleaned from learning sessions. In turn, talent managers possess the ability to grow the workforce based on strengths and weaknesses within the employee base.

Utilizing performance metrics and appraisals

The time when learning was pushed out in bulk has ended, since the need for the actual impact and true ROI of learning has emerged as a top priority – and a learning manager alone cannot accomplish this. Just as talent management has updated the appraisal process through 360-degree and multi-appraiser reviews, there must be a more comprehensive and insightful process in order to understand if we are applying learning situationally.

While we leverage performance data to identify leaders from within, development plans, along with assessments, goals, and objectives, simultaneously guide training for employees poised for leadership. A critical challenge in the workplace is ensuring that we are developing leaders to fill potentially vacant critical positions in the future. Talent technology can pave the way for this identification, while learning technology trains and develops potential leaders.

Just as technology continues to evolve and unify learning technology and talent management functions, the role of the learning technology manager must mirror the modern needs of today’s enterprises. Many have predicted the impending death of the Chief Learning Officer role and, with recent M&A (mergers and acquisitions) activity in the HCM (Human Capital Management) space it seems possible. Nonetheless, the function and goals of learning prove critical as they resurface as a core function within HR. 

A unified platform is the key

By operating on a unified platform, learning technology managers and talent management can drive efficiencies from shared processes, and keep pace with emerging human capital initiatives:

  • Managing learning content – Learning and talent managers need a central repository housing the same data and materials. This ensures that we can repackage and repurpose learning content for the individual, but retain core messaging and information to provide a consistent learner experience. The automation of talent management assists both parties in getting the right training to the right student at the right time.
  • Identifying and cultivating individuals – On a single platform, captured performance data allow learning managers to create and deliver personalized learning. Through relevancy and elimination of redundancy across training sessions, employees get the most out of training – and employers get the most out of them.  
  • Cross-referencing development plans with performance records – By fueling learning initiatives with performance metrics and records, we increase employee accountability to their development goals. Talent managers can utilize this blended solution to identify and develop leaders from within.
Integrating learning and talent management is intuitive. With the onset of new technology and further market consolidation, the continued unification is inevitable. Does this mean extinction for the learning technology manager? No. It means it’s time to reevaluate development strategies and how we administrate learning content. It means it’s time to embrace talent management technology for learning that is more personalized, results-focused, and impactful.