What makes L&D programs ineffective?

'If you don't know why the training is important, then it will feel like a drain on your time and energy'

What makes L&D programs ineffective?

While most workers put value in the training they get in the workplace, very few — along with many leaders — believe that L&D programs are bringing the best results.

Three-quarters (75 per cent) of learners say strong workplace training would have a very high or high impact on their decision to stay with an employer, reports Emergn, a global digital business services firm.

And 55 per cent say that L&D programs increase job satisfaction and employee morale.

However, only 23 per cent of learners and 22 per cent of leaders view their organization’s current workplace training as extremely effective, finds its survey of more than 1,200 professionals from the United States and the United Kingdom, conducted in July and August 2022.

Read more: Work-integrated learning could solve labour shortage: Expert

“A lot of organizations are used to collecting what we could train our people on… but individuals want to be connected to something, to a mission, to a purpose,” says Steven Angelo-Eadie, head of learning Services, Emergn, in talking with Canadian HR Reporter. “If you don't know why [the training is] important, then it will feel like it's a drain on your time and your energy.”

“Everything you do [in L&D] should be related to the company's mission. If those don't connect, you will feel dissatisfied.”

Here’s an example on how to change that approach, he says: Do not ask workers to learn Excel just for the sake of them taking a course on Excel. Instead, explain that by taking up the course on Excel, employees can reduce the amount of time they spend working through the monthly spreadsheet.

“Imagine if we just did that.”

Read more: Why good training matters with the 'great resignation'

When asked what learners would like to achieve when participating in workplace training, a majority of respondents note the desire to gain new skills (80 per cent), improve their confidence in their current role (67 per cent) and gain access to new opportunities at their current organization (55 per cent).

“[Training] matters because nothing is ever fixed,” says Angelo-Eadie. “Everything is always evolving. So that idea of constant learning, we do it as humans all the time, whether it's a planned event or not.”

“From an organizational perspective, it makes the organization and their individuals more resilient to change, more resilient to transformation.”

Read more: Ontario boosts training for 600 in food and beverage industry

Measuring ROI

HR leaders are also struggling to showcase the results of workplace training to prove its benefits to employers.

This is because the current ways of measuring training success are based mostly on management’s perspective and self-reported progress (i.e., employee surveys), according to the report.

These measurements do not accurately identify the return on investment or even determine if training programs align with overall goals. Currently, only 35 per cent of leaders say their workplace training is completely connected to the goals of their team.

“Businesses looking to build lasting value, drive better customer outcomes, improve operational workflows and retain top talent must implement strong workplace learning programs,” says Angelo-Eadie. “We often hear from our clients that aligning programs with learners’ priorities helps to retain top talent, and the survey results confirm that. Businesses must remove barriers to participation in workplace learning programs and align those programs with transformation plans to achieve the most value.”

Read more: 5 questions on career development

Going forward, L&D is going to play a more significant strategic role in organizations, says Angelo-Eadie.

“L&D has to now become less of an order taker and more of a strategic thinker and player in the education space for workers of the future.”

Latest stories