Particularly in the fast-paced modern corporate world, learning and development initiatives have become more important than ever before. These investments help support and further the skills of employees, creating a stronger and more productive workforce.
Recently, the researchers at FindCourses.com surveyed more than 100 professionals in the learning and development industry to get a sense of how today's businesses approach and manage these educational pursuits. Let's take a closer look at these findings, as well as some tips to help you direct and improve the success of L&D within your own organization.
Key findings: The state of corporate L&D today
FindCourses.com's survey provides a look at L&D practices spanning large, mid-size and smaller organizations across a variety of industries, including professional services, education, consumer services, public administration and trade.
"55 percent of businesses admitted they don't track the success of their L&D initiatives."
Overall, many organizations devote a considerable budget to support internal training efforts, with the majority spending $200-$600 per employee. Oftentimes, training programs take place over the course of five days to 2 weeks during the calendar year. Despite more than half – 55 percent – of businesses admitting that they don't track the success of their L&D initiatives, 54 percent noted that their employees were satisfied and engaged with their programs.
Currently, companies are using a variety of different technologies to support L&D efforts, including e-learning programs (32 percent of companies), virtual classrooms (22 percent) and micro-learning videos (17 percent). Progressive, more innovative strategies have emerged as well in order to support continual employee engagement and participation, encompassing approaches like game-based learning (12 percent), mobile learning (11 percent) and even virtual reality (6 percent).
Insurance group Farmers is featured in the report, and is one of a few forward-looking companies leveraging virtual reality to provide employees with more real-life, situational training ahead of them interacting with customers.
"Technology has finally gotten to a point where we're able to help that process with virtual reality," said University of Farmers Claims head Jessica DeCacio. "They're getting much more of a collection of experiences before they ever go into a customer's home."
L&D challenges to address
Despite this varied and advancing industry environment, there are a few complexities and obstacles that organizations must look to address with their internal staff education and skill development:
- Budget constraints: Overall, limited budget resources was identified as the top challenge facing L&D stakeholders, existing within 24 percent of companies. FindCourses.com also noted in the report that larger businesses appeared more hesitant to make the necessary L&D investments than smaller businesses.
"Although they spend above the survey average on training per employee, professionals from larger organizations were less likely than their SME counterparts to predict a budget increase for their department," the report stated.
- Demonstrating ROI: Another challenge identified by 20 percent of L&D industry professionals was the ability to show return on investment for these initiatives. This issue is likely connected to obstacles surrounding the budget: Executives that struggle to see a return will be hesitant to invest in further training.
Tips and best practices for learning and development
In order to address these issues and help ensure the success of L&D initiatives, there are a few strategies human resource teams and executives stakeholders can consider implementing within their processes:
- Conduct an assessment ahead of training: WeTheTalent contributor Tess Pajaron noted that carrying out an assessment of current training processes can help decision-makers better analyze their needs. In this way, limited budget resources can be devoted to the most important development areas.
- Identify important performance benchmarks: Once stakeholders have a more concrete idea of where they'll focus L&D efforts, they can work to identify and measure performance benchmarks. These should closely tie-in with the areas pinpointed during the assessment, and can support the demonstration of ROI after the program is completed. FindCourses.com discovered that organizations most often leverage employee and managerial feedback, alongside improvements in retention to gauge their initiatives. However, more measurable and tangible KPIs that are related to specific training areas can be more impactful for supporting and explaining ROI.
- Consider leaning on the experts: One of the best ways to support learning and development is by ensuring that internal stakeholders have the necessary time and resources required.
To find out more about how outsourced human resources services can benefit your company's learning and development, connect with the experts at Triton Benefits & HR Solutions today!