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HR News Update – L&D failing to deliver for two thirds of employers

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Learning and development activity is failing to deliver a lasting impact for two thirds of organisations in the UK, and is starved of the resources it needs to be effective, according to research conducted by learning and development consultancy Profitability.

The  research, “Learning with Impact – challenges and opportunities for L&D” published today, found that only 33 percent of those involved in designing and delivering L&D said it had a lasting impact on their people or organisation. Nearly half (49 percent) said their L&D function could do more to improve its effectiveness.

The top reason for this lack of L&D effectiveness was cited as a lack of support from business unit managers and leaders, reflected in the finding that less than one third (29 percent) of L&D organisations  said it got the investment it needed. This is despite the fact that nearly half (45 percent) of those questioned said L&D was critical in supporting execution of business strategy

The research also showed that despite the growing popularity of e-learning, practitioners have reservations around its effectiveness in delivering lasting improvement in knowledge and skills. Less than one in ten rated webinars, audio learning or online virtual learning as effective and only 12 percent said mobile learning packages for smartphones or tablets were effective. Action learning was rated as the most effective L&D practice whether this was through on- the-job training (69 percent) coaching-based learning (57 percent) business simulations (43 percent) or computer-based games (38 percent).

Commenting on the results Brian Helweg-Larson, founder of Profitability said: “L&D has a vital role to play for organisations, whether they are facing growth or reinvention, in equipping leaders and managers with the skills to deliver change. However, the stark conclusion we come to in our report is that for many organisations, L&D activity is falling short of what it needs to deliver. While it is good that organisations say they will refocus their L&D activity in the year ahead to improve business focus, unless the new activities are aligned to the needs of the business and designed with L&D tactics which can deliver lasting  impact on behaviour, knowledge or skills, then they are unlikely to deliver value.”

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