Proving the value of learning and development

It’s 2019, and still some L&D departments have to justify their existence. Libby Webb gives TJ-ers some help.

Reading time: 3 minutes.

It is no secret that training is an essential component of organisational success. Not only do talent development opportunities help businesses to nurture and retain their top talent, but it also facilitates knowledge sharing among employees, enabling colleagues to function effectively when a member of their team is off sick/on annual leave.

Research carried out in 2018 indicated that 40% of millennials who don’t receive the necessary on-the-job training to become more effective in their roles will leave their positions within the first year.

Similarly, a national survey of over 400 employees spanning three generations (Baby Boomers, Millennials and Generation X) found that 70% of respondents expressed that the training opportunities available to them influence their decision as to whether to stay in their current role.

Despite the evidence that employees value professional development opportunities highly, when budget cuts become a necessity, L&D departments are usually the first to suffer and funds for training and development programmes are soon depleted.

CEOs and their leadership teams still struggle to see the value in widespread organisational talent development and L&D practitioners are thus required to produce tangible evidence as to why L&D is a worthwhile ongoing investment.

Collecting the right data at the right time from the right people is crucial to assessing and evaluating talent development programmes

This poses a bit of a challenge given that learning isn’t traditionally seen as a quantifiable metric. But there are in fact a number of ways in which the impact of a properly funded learning strategy can be demonstrated to senior teams.

Demonstrating value

Collecting the right data at the right time from the right people is crucial to assessing and evaluating talent development programmes, as well as the efficacy of the L&D function. With the right learning analytics tools and functions in place, L&D departments have access to a whole wealth of data that’ll go a long way in helping them prove the value of workplace learning and development.


Training effectiveness is typically measured in terms of the business value delivered. This translates to the Return on Investment (ROI) of an organisations L&D efforts following the application of their employees’ newly imparted skills and knowledge.

In this instance, ROI should be used to demonstrate a cost-benefit relationship that can directly link an organisations training investment to improved sales figures.

Satisfaction surveys

If sales figures are on the rise, it is likely that customer satisfaction levels will be too. By carrying out frequent surveys, you can observe which elements of the customer experience have been improved upon following training and where still requires some attention – this can then be addressed in the next course.

Likewise, employee satisfaction surveys will help you to demonstrate to senior teams the value your employees put on training and development opportunities.

Employee retention

Retaining top talent should be a high priority for most organisations. By calculating the costs your business has saved on internal recruitment, you’ll then be able to indicate both the retention of talent through development opportunities, as well as further metrics for keeping costs down.

Information like this is invaluable for numerous reasons.

Not only can you offer up data-backed evidence for the importance of learning and development, when it comes to creating the next unit of learning, the data collated will go a long way in creating meaningful learning experiences that indicate results time and time again – the irrefutable evidence you need as to why the L&D department is an unquestionable function for any modern business.


About the author

Libby Webb is a content writer for HT2 Labs


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