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The Practices That Set Learning Organizations Apart

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The Practices That Set Learning Organizations Apart

Companies committed to building workforces equipped for the future apply seven key principles to training and development

MIT Sloan Management Review,

5 min read
4 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

An international research study identifies seven best L&D practices.

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  • Applicable
  • Visionary
  • Concrete Examples


Most companies weren’t prepared for the accelerated digitization forced on them during the COVID-19 crisis. A small group of organizations, however, navigated their digital evolution with aplomb. What did they have in common? Two HR management professors conducted an international survey to find out – and uncovered seven core characteristics of effective Learning and Development organizations in the process.


Companies with effective L&D programs better navigated the disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift toward automation and digitalization, which has amplified the need to reskill and upskill workers. Companies with well-developed, forward-looking L&D programs were better able to adapt to these trends. A survey of CEOs and L&D professionals across several countries revealed that only a minority of organizations had suitable L&D programs in place pre-pandemic. These companies, in turn, are also better placed to thrive after the pandemic.

The survey identified seven aspects that make L&D programs effective in a fast-changing work environment.

Effective L&D curricula align with organizational strategy.

1. Synchronicity with organizational strategy – A company must train its workforce to have...

About the Authors

David G. Collings is a professor of human resource management at Dublin City University Business School. John McMackin is an assistant professor in human resource management and organizational behavior at Dublin City University Business School.

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