According to a recent study by the Association for Talent Development, training doesn’t really work - only 13% of training reaches a level where participants apply what they learned, and a mere 3% reaches a level where the organization feels an impact.
The harsh truth is that this is simply not good enough. Organisations are no longer prepared to accept records of attendance and positive delegate feedback as evidence of effective training. They are (quite rightly) demanding real impact in the workplace with sustained results.
Organisations are looking to L&D to step up their game and find effective ways to not only develop higher level soft skills, but also embed them in daily routines and behaviours in the workplace.
On face value it would seem reasonable for the organisation to lay these shortcomings at the feet of L&D, but is this really fair? Perhaps not, as there is a growing body of evidence that would suggest the biggest challenges for the effective application of learning may lie elsewhere.
Senior managers, people managers and talent managers all cite the number 1 challenge facing L&D as ‘getting employees to make time for learning’, closely followed by ‘increasing manager involvement’.1
While it’s interesting that these are viewed as challenges facing L&D, it does also suggest a growing acceptance that in order for training to deliver the required impact in the business, it will need more than great training courses/programmes. It will also require the buy-in and commitment of learners and managers.
This reflects the new model of L&D, as business partners rather than providers of training and is music to the ears of L&D teams everywhere who have long argued this point.
But this doesn’t mean that L&D can now wipe their hands of the responsibility for delivering impact in the workplace and shift the responsibility elsewhere. This is still a training challenge, albeit the focus has shifted to effective application rather than skills development, and L&D are best placed to lead the effort to overcome it. They need to find practical and effective ways of engaging learners and managers and influencing their behaviour.
In an ironic kind of way, you might argue, that what L&D actually need is to draw on the soft skills we are talking about (communication, collaboration) to influence a change in workplace practises and behaviour of senior managers.
Create The Space is a training consultancy, specialising in learning and performance. We work with large organisations to improve engagement, develop new skills, and change behaviour. We are experts in the transfer and application of learning in the workplace.
If you would like to talk to one of our experienced team about how we can help your organisation with the issues raised above, call us now on 0121 232 4644.
1 LinkedIn Learning Workplace Learning Report 2018