Preparing for the Future of Learning

Preparing for the Future of Learning

Over two thirds (70%) of L&D teams are failing to improve business productivity.

So says the latest research launched today by benchmarking organisation, Towards Maturity. The 2015-16 research, ‘Embracing Change. Improving Performance of Business, Individuals and the L&D Team’, found that L&D has high aspirations and a keen desire to make an impact on the business, but is falling short in many areas.

Only three out of 10 organisations are achieving improved productivity and engagement from their L&D initiatives. Two out of 10 have enjoyed improvements in the learning culture of their organisation and only four out of 10 report increased efficiency. This is despite a continued drive in the sector to improve productivity, efficiency and engagement, foster new ways of working and a culture of continuous learning that supports employees at the point of need. The report highlights those companies where L&D is having a big impact on organizational and individual performance. It reveals what the top 10% of organisations, those it calls the Top Deck, are doing and why this is producing results.

Those Top Deck organisations report a 12% improvement in productivity, 21% improvement in employee engagement and 16% reduction in costs. So, what is it that the Top Deck companies are doing right? According to the Towards Maturity research, they possess a fundamentally different approach to learning to other organisations.

They are moving away from the delivery of courses – something that L&D and the business knows has to happen – and are finding new ways to support learning and business performance as part of the organizational and individual workflow.

When asked how they build skills, an overwhelming majority of Top Deck organisations (94%) said the course was one option, compared to an average response of 53%. Moreover, 86% adopt approaches that support learning in the workflow, compared to 47% on average. Laura Overton, MD at Towards Maturity, says the research shows that L&D teams in Top Deck learning organisations have strongly aligned themselves to the business and have a close working partnership with business leaders. That is why they are able to contribute to business success. “Compared to the average, they are twice as likely to identify key performance measures that are important to the business and to have a plan to meet those goals,” she says. “Their management teams are twice as likely to assign board level accountability for learning and 90% expect managers to take responsibility for the learning of their staff.”

The report makes strong reference to the need for L&D to be consumer led – to put learners’ needs and preferences at the heart of the learning culture and the solutions that L&D provide. Top Deck learning teams are doing this, rather than being the gatekeepers of learning. Of the 600 plus L&D professionals from 55 countries and 1,600 learners surveyed for the report, 30% on average say they are proactive in understanding how their learners learn, compared to 86% of Top Deck teams. “When seven out of 10 (L&D) do not even know how their staff learn what they need to do their jobs today, we are clearly missing an opportunity,” says Dave Buglass, head of organizational capability and development at Tesco Bank.

The report also talks about the skills required by today’s L&D teams. To find out more take a look at the slidedeck and go to http://www.towardsmaturity.org.

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