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Investment in training on the rise, but ineffective learning & development risks spending wasted

New research finds that large employers are boosting investment in learning and development to overcome skills shortages, and help them attract and retain talent.

But, despite best intentions, nearly all employers surveyed report that training has failed to meet objectives over the past five years. This means they risk investment going to waste unless they optimise planning, delivery and evaluation.

L&D investment on the rise

The research, which surveyed 600 Learning & Development (L&D) and HR professionals from large UK organisations with a global footprint, finds that 96% of organisations are expecting their training budgets to remain the same or increase in the next financial year.

The findings suggest training is an increasing priority at a time when many businesses are having to tighten their belts, with rising demand for L&D being driven by a need to attract new talent, become more competitive, cater to employee demands for training and career progression and resolve skills shortages.

When it comes to delivering L&D programmes, the majority of employers surveyed carry out in-house training. Of these, 65% design and deliver bespoke training in-house to support technical and role-specific skills.

Training is failing

However, training programmes often fall short of expectation. 99% of respondents have seen a training plan that was ineffective or that failed to deliver on objectives in the last five years. The top reasons cited for a training programme’s failure include poor planning, not having the right people taking part, poor evaluation, or a lack of evaluation of the training altogether.

With so many programmes delivered in-house, employers should review and look to where they can make improvements to the design, delivery and evaluation of programmes, to ensure they’re getting a return on their investment.

Boosting skills, recognition and ROI

Effective training will only become more important amid ongoing economic turbulence. In addition to a need to upskill to counter skills shortages, a quarter of businesses surveyed say the current economic situation is meaning there is a higher expectation to prove return on investment (ROI) for L&D.

The findings also suggest that some businesses are using external certification to help meet these challenges. Although just 29% of large businesses surveyed offer external certification, respondents cite talent retention, attraction, and cost saving as the top three value adds.

David Phillips, Managing Director of City & Guilds said: “Large employers are investing in learning and development to remain competitive and drive growth in challenging market conditions. Although it’s positive to see consistent, and even growing, investment, employers need to consider strengthening their training offer and building in more evaluation that effectively quantifies the return on investment for training. Recognising achievement through certification could also be key in attracting and retaining talent.”

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