If you’re not already familiar with it, HR Learning and Development has quickly become a key component of the HR leadership agenda. As technology ushers in new skill requirements, the shortfall of qualified employees grows and the opportunity to reskill existing employees has become a strategic imperative to meet the needs of new and evolving roles.
A World Economic Forum report reports that technology and automation will create 12 million net new jobs by 2025. However, the majority of these jobs will require new skills. To that end, many of the largest companies in the world have already started investing in their employees by spending millions of dollars on retraining programs.
According to the report, “JPMorgan Chase added the tidy sum of $350M to their $250M plan to upskill their workforce. Amazon is investing over $700M to provide upskilling training to their employees. And, PwC is spending $3B to upskill all of its 275,000 employees over the next three to four years; the mantra of the program is “New World, New Skills.”
It’s not just Fortune 500 companies making the investment in retraining, according to the respondents, 59% said upskilling and retraining is their #1 priority. The number was even higher, 63%, in the SMB market.
To handle these changes and those brought about by the pandemic, Learning and Development (L&D) was one of the roles that have experienced growth in organizations over the past year. According to the 65-page LinkedIn 2021 Workplace Learning Report, last March, just 27% of L&D leaders reported their CEOs as “active champions of learning.” A year later that number sits at 64%. As a result, budgets for L&D are expected to grow in the coming year, with a third of the LinkedIn respondents expecting budgets to increase beyond pre-pandemic levels.
And with hybrid workforces becoming the “new normal”, blended online learning programs are also here to stay. This provides an even bigger lift to the budgets since instructor-led training has typically been the most expensive line item in the L&D budget. Thus the increase in budgets combined with a blended learning approach improves the level of learning that can be delivered. “Compared to instructor-led training, a robust online learning solution would provide far superior coverage in terms of reach, accessibility, and learning content,” said Samit Deb, CHRO at Airtel.
Now that L&D has a seat at the C-suite table at a majority of companies, how can they ensure they keep it? One way is by quantifying the value of the learning programs. Employee surveys made the biggest gains in the past year. According to the survey, the following are the top ways to measure the impact of L&D programs, listed in order:
- Qualitative feedback from employees using online courses
- Satisfaction of employees using online courses
- The number of employees that consistently engage with learning content
- Employee engagement survey scores
- Qualitative feedback about behavioral changes that learning was intended to drive
- The number of online courses completed
- An increase in the number of skills employees are developing
- Team/organization/business metrics (deals closed, customer satisfaction) before and after training
- Time saved/productivity increase
- Ability to retain talent within your organization
In our next post, we’ll continue to look at additional insights from the LinkedIn report. And if you’re considering recruiting L&D executive leadership and need guidance or have questions, send us a note, and one of our retained search consultants will reply right away.