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Sustainable Learning Organizations    [Date Added : 05/19/2017 ]
Organizations that consistently produce the best business results demonstrate a strong commitment to learning and have robust learning organizations that foster a learning culture. Here is a brief review of 10 key characteristics of a sustainable learning organization.

- C-Level Engagement: Senior leaders are engaged as visible business partners and learning advocates. Executives can clearly describe how performance-based learning capabilities contribute to organizational mission, values, and effectiveness.

- Efficiency: An organization provides easy access to employee-centered, flexible learning content and routinely monitors time, usage and cost indicators.

- Effectiveness: An organization uses a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods to evaluate the organizational impact of organizational learning strategies and overall progress toward key outcomes.

- Investment: A percentage of the total HR, L&D or talent development budget is regularly applied toward organizational learning, including staffing resources and systems for effectively collecting, analyzing, and displaying results data.

- Utility: An organization facilitates learning anytime, anywhere at the time of need.

- Demand: Stakeholders across all organizational levels regularly request learning and performance results data for continuous process improvement and improved decision making.

- Credibility: Results data generated from learning and talent management processes are consistently perceived as timely, trustworthy, and relevant to multiple stakeholder needs.

- Governance: Operating policies, procedures and standards are in place for governing learning, talent development and performance improvement practices in our organization.

- Continuous Improvement: An organization uses a variety of innovative approaches to identify, share and apply results and lessons learned from our strategic initiatives.

- Resilience: An organization has the capacity to successfully adapt or alter direction in the face of continuous change or unexpected risks.

But building a high-performing, integrated learning organization is never easy. Sustaining one is even harder, especially in a new "normal" of volatile, complex, and ambiguous times. Yet the learning function needs to remain stable, relevant, and resilient in the face of up and down cycles of budget cuts and reorganizations if it is to deliver its full potential for driving talent development, high performance, and innovation.

("10 Characteristics of a Sustainable Learning Organization," by Holly Burkett,, May 8, 2017. Copyright 2017 ATD)
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