Strategic L&D

increasing value by linking learning to your people and business objectives

Strategic L&D – increasing value by linking learning to your people and business objectives

Kaine Davidson, OD Manager at Veolia UK and Ireland explores the concept of learning and development and believes that L&D should be exciting, continual and accessible for all.


“Learning is definitely not mere imitation, nor is it the ability to accumulate and regurgitate fixed knowledge. Learning is a constant process of discovery – a process without end.”

Bruce Lee


We love this quote as it really shines a light on our approach and how we believe value is added through learning, We see our role within People Development as an evolutionary, thought provoking and questioning service. Too often the onus for change is placed on the People Development function, whereas both the learner and business units we service have a role to play in achieving the learning objectives. We certainly don’t shirk our responsibilities, but learning is most effective when agreed and delivered as a partnership,


It is perhaps a controversial view that this need to achieve fixed objectives is somehow at odds with a fluid, expressive and ultimately transformational service that has the aim to address organisational problems with learning solutions within this context –  isn’t the journey of learning is supposed to be exciting and exploratory? So how do we address the tension this conflict creates?


Objectives are part of most businesses but the journey to achieving these has infinite variations. We believe that as a service we have set ourselves up in a way that allows us to add value. We will, of course, cover this more as part of our panel discussion, but as a taster, we are now able to access the voice of the business through our investment in People Development Business Partners. Their role is to link learning to the business; by challenging current thought processes, providing managers with alternative ways to view their needs, and exposing an array of solutions they take on the role of a true trusted partner.


We all act as change agents, and through this approach are able to really target needs. It gives us the confidence to invest in the right solutions that will help us achieve a real tangible result. It is great to have a strategy but what if you don’t have agility? Modern-day L&D (in our opinion) cannot meet the fluid problems of the business with a fixed, rigid service. We, therefore, have a “fit & flex” model, with the ability to utilize assets from a number of sources to meet the need. As a service, we functionally manage all of this to ensure quality and output and are uniquely a profit centre within our organisation, which means keeping a strong focus on the commercials. When you book over 6000 internal courses per year as we do, you have to have a strong connected internal service, so we never lose sight of the importance of our own function, investing in innovative connecting tools, engagement days and a strong, aligned vision that all buy into.


In truth, and returning to the opening quote, we have both the strategy and the delivery plan which are strongly linked to our organisational aims. We are however acutely aware that our responsibility is not to conform to a fixed position but to constant, exciting and accessible development for all.


Kaine Davidson

Kaine could not be more passionate or excited about the opportunity for People Development to drive the HR agenda within organisations and become real enablers for success!




Get involved:

The CIPD’s Festival of Work (12-13 June 2019, Olympia London, promises to be a landmark event for both people professionals and business leaders. By focusing on the most innovative strategies in management, technology and learning, the festival will help you, and 7,000 of your colleagues, to harness the latest transformations and drive a human future of work. With 7,000+ attendees, 160+ inspiring speakers, filled with inspirational live experiences and challenging ideas, it’s the ultimate celebration of people in the workplace.


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