Towards Maturity

Evidence-Based Tactics that Will Accelerate Change

London (UK), November 2016 - Towards Maturity’s new Learning Benchmark Report shows a record 93% of L&D professionals want to integrate learning and work – however, only 15% are delivering on this. At a time when businesses need to respond faster than ever before, this is a challenge that people professionals clearly need to address.

"Unlocking Potential", Towards Maturity’s 2016-17 Learning Benchmark Report, uses data collected from over 600 L&D leaders and 5,000 learners from around the globe. By turning the insights into strategies that L&D professionals can use to improve results within their organisations, the annual study has become an internationally recognised go-to for L&D leaders.

Although 19% of L&D budget is allocated to learning technologies, and organisations have doubled the numbers of technology they use, L&D are still struggling to deliver against their goals:

  • 95% of L&D leaders want to respond faster to changing business conditions, but only 19% are making progress
  • 90% want to play an active role in supporting business innovation, but only 17% report they are succeeding

This slow pace of change has prompted Towards Maturity to develop a new statistical analysis for this year’s benchmark data. It identifies the tactics that are most likely to correlate with successful outcomes for five of the most pressing business challenges: improving efficiency, fine-tuning processes, boosting performance, cultivating agility, and influencing culture.

For example, L&D teams specifically achieving the goals related to improving efficiency, use tactics such as

  • integrating technology into face-to-face training (45% vs 21% of non-achievers)
  • regularly reviewing programmes to maintain relevance (66% vs 35% for non-achievers)

Additionally, the teams successful in achieving goals related to boosting performance

  • deliver learning in time to meet business needs (71% vs 43% of non-achievers)
  • use activities to practice learning outcomes (66% vs 41% of non-achievers)

Laura Overton, Founder and CEO of Towards Maturity, commented, “This year, we have used a new statistical analysis to highlight tactics that the most successful organisations are using to deliver impact on the most pressing business challenges. With the data showing a painful rate of progress for most L&D teams, these evidence-based shortcuts are desperately needed. Our aim is to use our data to help learning professionals kick-start interventions that will have the biggest impact."

The report shows that Top Deck organisations – those in the top 10% of the Benchmark – continue to succeed:

  • 77% are improving efficiency (vs 44%)
  • 64% are fine-tuning processes (vs 33%)
  • 62% are boosting performance (vs 26%).

Top Deck organisations are proactive in applying the strategies they use to support the business and their own L&D team. They are more active in providing formal learning opportunities for their own teams and encourage learning through social networks, both internally and externally. Stretch assignments, along with reflection on lessons learned in the workplace, also help keep skills fresh and current.

For the first time in its history, the Benchmark asked respondents about their backgrounds, the full details of which can be found within the report. The study found that 71% of Top Deck learning teams are not led by those with an HR or business background, but by learning professionals at the top of their field. Additionally, these leaders are active learners, with 9-in-10 actively seeking new work experiences to learn and 8-in-10 proactively building personal learning networks.

Jane Hart, Founder of the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies, added, "The data presented provides readers with confidence and security to identify what needs to happen next. Whilst the Top Deck may use evidence to guide their thinking, they show us that their results come because they trust their gut and try out new ideas. This report will help you unlock your potential as a learning leader."