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5 Learning and Development Strategy Examples to Inspire You

If you’re stuck for ideas on how to develop your L&D strategy, draw inspiration from these incredible learning and development strategy examples.

Learning and development can help businesses in a huge variety of ways including:

  • Increasing employee engagement and wellbeing

  • Improving business productivity

  • Improving employee retention

  • Attracting the best talent for businesses

  • Increasing profitability

  • Improving the customer experience

  • Creating a stronger company culture

With all these benefits, businesses are constantly evolving and improving their learning and development strategy. If you’re stuck for ideas on how to develop your L&D efforts, you can draw inspiration from these incredible learning and development strategy examples.

Learning and Development Strategy Example 1: Moneysupermarket

Moneysupermarket’s learning team had some chats with staff about their current learning and development strategy. They asked team members what inspired them to go on certain training courses or workshops offered and what they hoped to learn from them. To their surprise, they found that going on courses or attending workshops didn’t always lead to positive learning outcomes.

Instead, the business began to focus on the concept of learning in the flow of work. They utilised open-source content to allow staff to learn as they go and then cement that knowledge by using it straight away. 

As the business, like so many, had moved to remote working, they began running virtual learning sessions. They tailored these sessions to the needs of their staff by asking for feedback on what staff were struggling with during company-wide virtual meetings. They would then send out relevant learning content to employees, based on their exact needs.

From here, the business invested in the learning platform, Degreed. This AI and machine learning platform lets their staff enter their job role and self-assess their skillset. From here, the learning content is personalised to their role and skill level and their unique strengths and weaknesses. The learning and development team utilise the data provided by the platform to identify areas across the business where more investment may be needed.

Moneysupermarket say employee engagement with the platform has been high and that feedback shows staff are enjoying the tailored content. 

What Can We Learn From This Learning and Development Case Study?

Like many businesses, Moneysupermarket realised that investing in large scale, non-specific courses may not actually be helping employees learn and enhance their knowledge and skills. Utilising employee feedback and learning technologies to provide tailored content unique to their employee needs is a surefire way to increase employee engagement and see better learning outcomes for the business.

Learning and Development Strategy Example 2: Itsu

Itsu is a British food chain. As well as selling their product to supermarkets, they have many fast food shops and restaurants across the UK and turnover of more than £100 million.

Despite growing considerably between 2013 to 2018, the business realised they had a problem. They had extremely high turnover among their fish cutters, despite receiving more than 600 applications a week from talent wishing to join the team, the business seemed to struggle in getting them to stay. For the fish cutter role in particular, around 80% of their team were Europeans, many of whom only wish to come over to the UK for a year to improve their English and then head home.

This turnover caused further problems, as the business was running low on experienced fish cutters or Fish Pros as they like to call them. 

Itsu training manager had previously worked training fish cutters for new stores. But she’d noticed that the training didn’t offer any hands-on practice for new recruits. She decided to revamp it. 

This actually led to developing a masterclass that met City and Guilds standards for accreditation. Graduates got a certificate and on-going guidance materials. The fish cutters also received a substantial pay rise to recognise the skill involved in the work.

The training manager then went on to develop the next stage of the initiative, the Fish Pro of the Year competition. She created an X-Factor style live final, allowing staff to show off their skills. The winner of the competition receives a weekend for two in New York, so there’s a huge incentive to participate. 

The results of this learning and development strategy were impressive. The number of stores without a Fish Pro went from 40% to 9% within a single year. The company cut recruitment costs and customer complaints decreased. 

What Can We Learn From This Learning and Development Case Study?

Itsu’s learning and development strategy was clearly aligned with the larger business strategy. They identified an area within the business that was affecting performance and utilised learning and development to resolve that issue. Better still, their training manager, having previously worked closely with staff, had first hand knowledge and experience, helping her create a highly bespoke approach to increase employee engagement and retention.

Learning and Development Strategy Example 3: NSPCC 

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children already has a huge list of accomplishments to be proud of, but settling for the status quo was not for them. They wanted to increase business performance by setting a higher fundraising target to ensure they can continue to help as many children as possible. 

To achieve this, they developed an integrated innovation programme as part of their learning and development strategy.

The NSPCC has 400 employees within its fundraising team. They identified that these were the employees who could have the biggest impact on their performance. From here, they became the first charity to commit to innovation and knowledge management as a core competence. 

To achieve this they rolled out the following initiatives across the company:

  • Training for all fundraising staff in innovation and creativity skills

  • Developing a knowledge management and innovation intranet

  • Developing a bespoke system to assess the impact of innovation within the business

  • Creating different models for internal innovation

  • Developing an integrated strategy to deploy all of the above

Despite a difficult year for charities across the UK, their approach to learning and development has allowed them to continue their fundraising efforts and continue to help many children in spite of external challenges.

What Can We Learn From This Learning and Development Case Study?

The NSPCC identified the key staff members who would have the largest impact on their business goals and developed their learning and development strategy from here. Aligning business goals with a learning and development strategy is vital in ensuring an effective learning and development strategy and their integrated approach ensures new initiatives are better executed. As well as this, investing in technologies to measure the impact of learning and development initiatives helps them see the real value of learning and development policies and identify which policies have had the biggest impact for the charity.

Learning and Development Strategy Example 4: Yelp

Yelp is one of the largest third-party review sites in the world and they didn't achieve this by resting on their laurels. Their head of learning and development, James Balagot, has been with the business for eight years and watched it grow from 100 employees to more than 4,000.

Yelp's learning and development score in 2015 was 13% above the benchmark for new tech. It might surprise you then, that despite being the head of learning and development, Balagot is also the only member of the team. They have a unique approach to learning and development that relies on two key practices. 

The first practice is that all employees are placed into stretch roles, from the day they join the business. This is supported through coaching. Balagot believes placing employees in stretch roles is key in giving them natural opportunities to learn and develop in an exciting and applicable way. He himself was placed into a sales role on his first day, despite never having done sales beforehand. He says this kind of learning is challenging and far more exciting than offering a training session. 

The second practice is promoting from within. A whopping 98% of Yelp's sales management roles are internal candidates.

Because of this these employees are able to mentor junior staff, as they've worked in the stretch roles and been mentored themselves. They encourage staff and guest speakers to share their stories, of both success and failure, across the organisation.

What Can We Learn From This Learning and Development Case Study?

Yelp's approach is unusual, but that doesn't make it any less valuable. Research shows people learn best when they have to and when they can immediately apply that knowledge. Yelp's learning and development strategy very much understands the psychology of learning and uses that to its strength.

Learning and Development Strategy Example 5: Scottish Water

Scottish Water is Scotland's publicly owned water provider and employs around 4,200 people. The business faces a number of strategic challenges including:

  • The climate crisis and how that will impact their services, for example, the quality of source water.

  • The management of ageing assets like pipe networks.

  • Reducing carbon emissions with a carbon management system to meet their commitment to reach net zero by 2045.

To tackle these challenges, the business needs technical and specialist skills in the form of scientists, technicians and engineers. As many of these challenges will present unexpectedly, they also need an agile and adaptable workforce.

To build this capability, the business developed an integrated learning and development strategy that harnesses the skills of their experienced employees to mentor junior employees and transfer experience, skills and knowledge. 

They achieve this through their Skills Academy. This model recruits experienced employees from frontline operation roles and sends them to their learning academy to teach younger recruits. They also utilised feedback from these experienced employees to identify where there might be training gaps so they could identify solutions. 

One of the main goals of the Skills Academy was to improve overall productivity by reducing human error through better training. They've certainly achieved this goal as following the first two years of the academy being launched, the number of burst pipes was significantly reduced alongside interruptions to customer water supplies. The business now has plans to expand the academy even further.

What Can We Learn From This Learning and Development Case Study?

Scottish Water identified the challenges the business is facing early on, so they're far ahead of many other businesses!

They're utilising their learning and development approach to help the business better navigate these challenges in the future. Harnessing internal subject matter experts is one of the best ways to ensure the training is both relevant and valuable to new employees. As well as this, measuring the impact of learning and development initiatives through KPIs is a way of ensuring their initiatives are creating real value for the business. 

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