L&D teams struggling to deliver – report

by L&D22 Nov 2016

Nearly all learning and development (L&D) professionals want to integrate learning and work, but very few are delivering on this, a new report has found.

New data, published in an article by CIPD, shows ‘a painful rate of progress’ for most practitioners, prompting experts to call for evidence-based shortcuts to kick-start interventions.

According to the latest Towards Maturity 2016-17 Learning Benchmark Report, titled: Unlocking Potential, nearly all (93%) L&D professionals want to integrate learning and work, but only 15% are delivering on this.

It also found that while 19% of L&D budget is allocated to learning technologies, and organisations have doubled the amount of technology they use, L&D departments are still struggling to deliver against their goals.

The study of 600 L&D leaders from 48 countries found that 95% wanted to respond faster to changing business conditions, but only 19% were making progress.

A further 90% said they wanted to play an active role in supporting business innovation – but only 17% were succeeding.

Towards Maturity’s data analysis has identified the L&D strategies that were most likely to correlate with the five essential outcomes of a successful L&D team (improving efficiency, fine-tuning processes, boosting performance, cultivating agility and influencing culture).

Its data shows that L&D teams that achieved goals related to improving efficiency used tactics such as integrating technology into face-to-face training (used by 45% of professionals who achieve this goal, compared to 21% of non-achievers), and regularly reviewing programmes to maintain relevance (66% compared to 35%).

Teams that were successful in achieving goals benefitted from improved performance. Almost three-quarters (71%) delivered learning in time to meet business needs, and two-thirds (66%) used activities to practise learning outcomes.

Laura Overton, founder and CEO of Towards Maturity, told CIPD: “This year, we have used a new statistical analysis to highlight tactics that the most successful organisations are using to deliver impact on the most pressing business challenges.

With the data showing a painful rate of progress for most L&D teams, these evidence-based shortcuts are desperately needed. Our aim is to use our data to help learning professionals kick-start interventions that will have the biggest impact.”

The report also found that 71% of ‘top deck’ learning teams – those in the top 10% of the benchmark – were led by high-performing learning professionals, rather than individuals with an HR or business background.

Additionally, these leaders were active learners, with 90% seeking new work experiences to learn, and 80% proactively building personal learning networks.

Face-to-face learning was still the most popular delivery method (56%), compared to 22% delivered online only. While seven in 10 L&D professionals were using video and mobile, 61% were failing to achieve significant progress in meeting their goals for a digitally enabled learning strategy.