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Dates and Venue

23 - 24 April 2025 | ExCeL London

17 - 18 April 2024 | ExCeL London

How small L&D teams can make a big impact

Wednesday 24 April 2024

How small L&D teams can make a big impact

Alex Mullen
How small L&D teams can make a big impact

How can your small L&D team make the biggest possible impact on your business?

Being a part of a small L&D team - even if it is a team of one - doesn’t mean your impact has to be small. Even with limited people, time and resources, you can demonstrate the indispensable role that we all know L&D plays in business success.

Having an impactful L&D team is less about what you have, and more about how you use it to produce the very best results. Here, we’ve rounded up five actionable steps that will help your L&D team be as effective as possible.

 

1. Treat learning technology like an extra team member

As attendees of the Learning Technologies Conference, we don’t need to preach to you about the value of a Learning Management System. However, in small L&D teams, it’s even more helpful to think of learning technology not just as something that can assist in your workflow, but as an additional (albeit quieter and less human) team member.

Here are just a few examples of job roles that your LMS can fill.

  • Coach. As an L&D team, you’ll already be familiar with the value that coaching and mentoring can bring to the business. But as a small L&D team, you might not have the resources to continually facilitate it. Identifying the people who need coaching, and the people who can deliver it to them, can take a lot of legwork. That’s where your LMS comes in. A platform with coaching functionality makes the process so much more streamlined, helping your team to truly make their mark. 
     
  • Learning designer. A learning platform that can provide off-the-shelf elearning content acts as an additional learning designer in your team. Bonus points if your vendor supplies a content team for you to collaborate with, who can edit and alter the content to your specifications as needed. Utilising professional, ready-made, well-researched content saves you so much time and helps you deliver real impact to your teams.
     
  • Hiring manager. Onboarding new starters, taking them through their mandatory compliance training, and introducing them to the quirks and processes of the business are all essential (but time-consuming) duties. If your team is small and you don’t have a dedicated person for this, your learning platform can fulfil that role seamlessly.

 

2. Demonstrate impact

One of the most important skills that you as a small L&D team can have is the ability to demonstrate your return on investment to stakeholders. When you can prove, in black and white, the impact that your team has managed to make (with what little resources you’ve been allotted), you’re actively proving that L&D is well worth investing in.

Not sure how to demonstrate this impact? It all starts with gathering data. Make sure that your learning platform has Data and Analytics Reporting built in, in order to record learner behaviour and tell a compelling story. Making use of this data, you next need to showcase your results.
 

CASE STUDY: Lingerie and adult toy brand Ann Summers.

L&D Partner Becky West could clearly see a throughline between high-performing stores and those who were the most active within the learning platform. We all know that Learning and Development leads to high performance, but sometimes you need the numbers to prove it - and that’s exactly what Ann Summers did.

Partnering with Thrive Impact (a team of Data experts whose job it is to demonstrate L&D’s value), Becky and the rest of the L&D team rolled out a blended learning experiment to increase sales on their Buzz Fresh and hosiery lines. They split Ann Summers into two regions to see who would come out on top: the stores who received only learning pathways, or the stores who received a blended learning approach comprising learning pathways, webinars and workshops.

Unsurprisingly, the group who had benefited from blended learning made the most sales, with an overall 10% increase across all Ann Summers stores.

Whatever the size of your team or business, be like Ann Summers. By learning to demonstrate your impact, you make yourself an attractive proposition to key stakeholders - therefore making them more likely to increase your budget in the future.
 

3. Curate, don’t (always) create

When you have limited resources, content curation is your best friend. It can be tempting, after meticulously identifying and prioritising the skills gaps in your workforce, to create a fresh library of content to fill them. But while new content is sometimes going to be necessary, there are other times when what you need is right in front of you. (Well, maybe not right in front of you - but perhaps buried in a shared Google Drive somewhere.)

Delve deep into your digital clutter and take stock of what you already have. You might find yourself dusting off some old learning content you didn’t even know you had, but that perfectly fills a gap. This is where the principle of ‘curation over creation’ comes into play. Make the most of the elearning you already have - as well as publicly available resources on YouTube and Google - then build the necessary content into your learning platform.

Obviously, there will be times when you simply need to create something new. But if you’re fully aware of everything you already have, it makes it so much easier to know where to begin.

 

4. Encourage knowledge sharing and user generated content

Help your knowledge - and drive for learning - spread out from inside your L&D team, into the rest of the organisation. The idea of knowledge sharing is obviously something that most L&D teams are already striving for, but it especially benefits the smaller ones. Why not outsource a little bit of the legwork in order to deliver maximum impact, and create an impressive learning culture in the process?

This is where an LMS with a social-media-like user interface comes in handy. When your platform seamlessly mimics the social media that people use every day, it makes it so much easier - and more appealing - to use. That sense of effortlessness and ease leads to people feeling empowered to share knowledge with one another.
 

CASE STUDY: ‘The abnormal beauty company’ DECIEM

As an example, instead of being precious about where their content came from, they embraced the ‘Tik-Tok-ification’ of skincare tutorials and used it as an opportunity to share videos from real customers around the world. Thanks to this open approach to social learning, they’re enjoying 95% engagement on their learning platform.

 

5. Know when to harness AI

While we’re not advocating for an overreliance on AI, knowing exactly when to harness it can be your secret to making a big impact with minimal resources. Thrive’s new AI Authoring Tool saves you hours by auto-generating fresh content on any topic, powered by your prompts. Scripting, SCORM courses, videos, images… whatever form your learning takes, the AI Authoring Tool can create it.

Looking for even more ways AI can save you time? Check out this guide: Ways to use AI in L&D. I hope these five tips have helped your small L&D team feel empowered to reach their full potential!

 

Alex Mullen

Web Content Writer at Thrive

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