Lack of self-belief among L&D professionals hampering innovation in workplace learning, new study finds

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Written by Seun Robert-Edomi on 4 November 2014 in News
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The study found that almost half (48 per cent) are expected to increase ROI over the next year, yet two-thirds (65 per cent) are operating with similar or lower budget levels compared to the same time last year. Furthermore, more than half are expected to deliver more innovative L&D programmes, which lead to improved staff retention

Learning and development (L&D) professionals are operating under intense pressure, with little recognition from the board for their efforts and less budget despite higher demands on programme impact and return on investment (ROI).

The knock-on effect is a cohort of professionals who lack confidence and doubt their own ability to make an impact. This is hampering innovation in workplace learning, according to a study commissioned by KnowledgePool, a division of Capita Learning Services, and questioned professionals responsible for the L&D function within large businesses. It found that almost half (48 per cent) are expected to increase ROI over the next year, yet two-thirds (65 per cent) are operating with similar or lower budget levels compared to the same time last year. Furthermore, more than half are expected to deliver more innovative L&D programmes, which lead to improved staff retention.

KnowledgePool managing director, Al Bird, said: “It’s not surprising that business leaders want better outcomes from their learning programmes, and reduced L&D budgets shouldn’t get in the way of this. As the labour market starts to pick up again, the pressure for businesses to retain top talent is intensifying and all eyes are on the L&D department to find new and innovative ways to keep staff engaged and performing at the top of their game.

Yet the Learning Curve findings reveal that while L&D professionals possess the right intentions, attitude and expertise to unlock workplace potential and achieve great things, a lack of confidence in their own ability to innovate and measure, in particular, is getting in the way of progress. Key findings reveal:

  • Perfectionists or realists? Fewer than a third (30 per cent) say they are very confident that their current L&D programmes are relevant (delivering and equipping employees with the required skills), not duplicating training already provided (28 per cent), tailored to the needs of the organisation and employees (27 per cent), and attended by the appropriate employees (26 per cent).
  • Fear of the unknown? Just a quarter are very confident that the L&D programmes are sufficiently innovative (25 per cent).
  • What’s it all for? Just 23 per cent are confident that their L&D programmes have a direct impact on their organisation’s bottom line, have an impact with longevity beyond the duration of training (21 per cent) or are accurately measured in terms of ROI (20 per cent).

“The reality is, how a workforce wants to learn is changing, and the younger generation is driving a strong need for innovation in delivery. While this doesn’t come without its challenges, it does present a genuine opportunity for the L&D professional to unleash their potential, prove their worth and show the business how they are impacting the bottom-line through the right development of talent,” Bird added.

“Collectively, we have an opportunity to create a strong, stable skills system that meets the needs of not only our employer, but our people, our economy and our society as a whole. Yet it’s paramount that L&D professionals get the right level of recognition and support from C-level execs so they feel empowered to turn this potential into a reality.”

 

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