"L&D planners must ensure they are equipped to prove the training programmes in place do deliver business impact, as it is likely that questions will start to be asked."
Learning and development (L&D) has an important role to play in the long-term business recovery plans but evaluation processes must be reviewed, according to a new report by Warwick Conferences.
Warwick Conferences, a leading venue within the L&D sector based at the University of Warwick, has published the report which reveals inconsistencies with industry surrounding the evaluation process of training programmes.
The report follows a survey of 200 directors across finance, HR and L&D by Warwick Conferences, which was undertaken before the impact of Covid-19 was known.
It says that as businesses start to think ahead to business as usual, the attitudes towards L&D and its necessity will be more important than ever.
According to the survey, investment in L&D programmes was set to increase among many organisations in the UK.
The report says that while the need for L&D – once businesses are up and running again – is undisputable, the attention for training programme managers must turn to the evaluation processes.
It found that almost half of L&D directors were concerned that calculating the return on the investment (ROI) of training programmes could lead to an enforced programme change.
One in five of those surveyed said they run the same programme annually, regardless of feedback or business impact.
Following the growing business uncertainty faced across the globe, it is expected that any budgets provided will come under more scrutiny than ever and a clearer ROI will be increasingly important.
The report findings show clear inconsistencies when calculating the ROI of a training programme, with more than 90 per cent saying there was at least one barrier to measuring ROI. Among those, complexity and lack of an accurate tool were high on the agenda.
Paul Bartlett, Director at Warwick Conferences, said: “It’s clear from this survey and report that L&D still holds significant importance to organisations across the UK. When businesses start to look to future-proofing, L&D will have an important role to play and if this is the case, it is likely that there will be more scrutiny on programmes.
“L&D planners must ensure they are equipped to prove the training programmes in place do deliver business impact, as it is likely that questions will start to be asked.”
The ROI Institute, which helps organisations across the world measure the success of projects and programmes to maximise their financial investments, has welcomed the report and has challenged the notion that lower investment leads to greater ROI impact.
Jack Phillips, who provides commentary within the report and is Chairman of the ROI Institute, comments: “It is great to see that there are positive attitudes towards the role of L&D within the wider business function in the UK.
“However, finance teams should not be deterred from L&D, especially if the main reason is to reduce cost. We have studied thousands of programmes, and we find that it is not unusual to find cheap programmes deliver a negative ROI, with greater business impact coming with more investment.
“The quality of the programme – both in the delivery and location – has a positive impact, according to our years of extensive research. L&D directors and programme managers need to ensure that, if they are receiving budgets, that they employ a proactive approach to calculating ROI and proving the value that training brings.”
As a result of the findings, Warwick Conferences has teamed up with the ROI Institute to deliver a first-of-its-kind tool to support the L&D industry.
To find out more information and receive a copy of the report, visit www.warwickconferences.com/roireport
PICTURE CAPTION: Paul Bartlett, Director at Warwick Conferences.