A recent report by Towards Maturity, ‘Preparing for the future of learning’, highlighted some interesting research around L&D investments. Contrary to popular belief, investing more money and increasing the size of your L&D team does not guarantee a better output.
That’s not, of course, to say that it won’t help achieve that, but results showed that the L&D teams reporting the best outcomes do not necessarily have the biggest budgets or teams.
So what does influence success?
Amongst the wealth of data that Towards Maturity has produced, five themes emerge as the key contributing factors.
- Being aligned with the business
Understanding the needs of the business, both now and in the future, and developing L&D’s offering to meet these challenges makes the largest impact. L&D departments that consider themselves to be in line with business needs and identify specific business metrics to improve through their offering are 2.5 times more likely to demonstrate that they improve on the job productivity.
- Knowing your audience
Due to technological advances and changes in the way we transmit and access information, learners have more L&D options than ever before. One of the key challenges this poses for L&D is how to cater for an audience that increasingly wants to learn on demand, and on its own terms. The report shows that top performing L&D departments are twice as likely to understand how their staff learn and what they need in terms of knowledge and skills to do their job.
- Implementing a variety of delivery methods
Whilst nearly all L&D departments surveyed expressed confidence in the training courses offered to their learners, a clear skills gap emerged in utilising online learning technology and facilitating social and collaborative learning. It is no surprise then that the departments performing best are three times more likely to be implementing blended learning, using analytics to evaluate eLearning, and facilitating social and collaborative learning.
- Using learning analytics to improve
L&D departments that use analytics to measure and improve upon the quality of service they offer are four times more likely to report successful outcomes. These departments are also five times more likely to report benefits relating to efficiency and productivity and eight times more likely to report benefits relating to building the learning culture in the organisation.
- Communicating with the business
The top performing L&D departments regularly communicate success to senior management and ensure there is a communication plan in place for all key stakeholders. The impact of good communication is a clear dialogue is opened around business objectives so that L&D can focus its offering around them and is able to demonstrate the value it adds to the business. This helps to create a buy in from senior management and enables L&D to remain agile to evolving business needs.
Despite the fantastic results the top performing L&D departments are enjoying, Towards Maturity’s report shows there is still a long way to go for this to be the case for the majority of L&D departments.
- Despite the widely accepted shift towards learner led learning, “only one in three L&D professionals are successfully shifting culture to a more self-directed model”
- “Only 11% of companies collect financial data related to programme benefits, and only 19% use learning analytics to improve the service they deliver”
- In terms of those actively measuring L&D’s ROI, “only 17% of L&D leaders agree they measure business KPI’s as part of their evaluation”
What Towards Maturity’s data does show us is exactly how L&D can evolve to rise and meet its full potential as a vital value adding component and business partner.
Start implementing these five key themes to guarantee the most out of your L&D budget today.
Rachel Matthews, Social Media and Marketing Manager
In my blogs I will look at industry constraints and issues and problems that employees face in their day-to-day work lives.
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