In a 2015 survey by CIPD, it was revealed that a quarter of employees complained of a ‘lack of investment in Learning and Development departments due to a lack of insight and understanding from senior management.’
In a more recent report by Opinion Matters on behalf of the Open University (OU), it was discovered that 75% of workforces are unsure of what skills their employers require of them.
These facts and figures are just a glimpse into the current challenges that some workforces are up against when it comes to Learning &Development, resulting in confusion amongst employees and leaving them feeling ‘mismatched’ to their roles.
Studies have shown that employees are unaware of the skills they should be working towards for future jobs, progression, and further opportunities, and when asked, 26% felt that a lack of opportunities was the biggest barrier to progression.
Often employers are so focused on the results within their business that they feel allowing employees time for training, could impact on the completion of projects – but is that the case?
What this means for business owners
- If staff isn’t feeling confident in their roles, or they are unaware of the skills they require to progress within your business, then this is going to be costing you money. The staff that aren’t suited to the roles they are in aren’t going to be performing to the standard required, resulting in lower productivity and impacting your bottom line.
- Staff who feel overlooked and undervalued aren’t going to be engaged in their role, or invested in your company, and as a result of this retention rates will be low, and recruitment costs could soar.
- With staff not knowing what skills they need and employers doing little to address this, significant skills gaps are appearing in specific industries, and this is having a significant impact on the economy.
The Benefits of Learning and Development
Although Learning & Development is often low down on the list of proprieties, there is a long list of benefits found by investing time and money into this area:
- Improved productivity and performance resulting in project success and increased company turnover/profits
- Increased engagement across the workforce will improve employee satisfaction and morale resulting in higher retention rates and reduced recruitment costs
- Training presents a prime opportunity to expand the knowledge base of all employees ensuring consistency across the board
- Offering learning and development opportunities enable you to address the weaknesses in your workforce
- Having skilled employees in roles support them to be better able to cope with the changing requirements of the position and business
- With a substantial investment in Learning & Development, you could become an employer of choice attracting highly skilled and attractive candidates to your roles
Where to start
An excellent place to start if you are serious about making improvements in your L&D function is to communicate with your staff. Better communication with your team will help them be aware of what is expected of them within their roles.
An investment in learning and development is required to provide improved access to development opportunities. Not only that, but your strategy should include the monitoring and evaluation of the activity to ensure this is cost-effective, and providing a return on your investment.
To make a real difference the CIPD state that ‘Learning & Development needs to promote its value and develop its credibility actively.’ Employers need to be better at being on hand to educate and advise employers about how they can gain new skills and about what opportunities they are providing. Looking forward, Learning & Development professionals expect to see a continued shift towards integration with the business strategy rather than being an ‘add-on’.
When you think about it, the ROI on an active Learning & Development department is a no-brainer if you want a happy, productive, and engaged workforce. By focusing on good base pay, and providing clear career progression to their staff, employees are empowering employees to take responsibility for their careers.
With a preference for internal over external development activities expected to grow moving forward, employers are developing and upskilling their employees from which they can only benefit.
To read more from the CIPD October 2018 report Investing the Untapped Potential of UK Skills please click here.
So when you are forecasting for the new financial year, why not consider making your Learning & Development department a key part of your strategy?
If you would like to support developing your learning and development strategy, why not get in touch for a free consultation to discuss how Altum HR can support you? We specialize in helping businesses to create a healthy, thriving workforce who are engaged in their roles and as a result, help your business grow.