Just 7% of L&D professionals evaluate the impact of their initiatives on the wider business, with most limiting their focus to learner and manager feedback, according to new research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
The annual L&D Survey of more than 500 HR and L&D professionals, highlights that a lack of effective evaluation can contribute to skills gaps being undetected, particularly in the use of innovative approaches such as new learning technologies.
The survey reveals that 1 in 3 organisations (37%) only measure the satisfaction of those that take part in L&D initiatives, rather than their wider impact on the business.
According to 45% of respondents, the most common barrier to evaluating L&D is ‘other business priorities’, but barriers within L&D and HR itself, such as the quality of analytical data (32%), and crucially the capability of L&D and HR to conduct evaluation (25%), were also voted as common obstacles.
Ruth Stuart, L&D Research Adviser at the CIPD, said: “It’s difficult to predict the ways in which L&D will evolve over the next few years, but there are a number of key tools we have which can help shape the future, and evaluation is one of them. It allows organisations to understand which L&D initiatives are working and which aren’t, so they can tailor activities accordingly and engineer people development to add the most value to individuals and the overall business.
“Although most organisations are evaluating the majority of their L&D initiatives, they’re not going far enough and crucial measurements, such as whether L&D is affecting organisational productivity, remain unknown. With more and more L&D professionals reporting increased workloads and external pressures, we need to work smarter, not harder. We need to invest in our own analytical capability and use evaluation to identify skills gaps earlier on, so we can ultimately deploy effective L&D practice and encourage long-term, sustainable organisational growth.”
Other findings from the L&D survey include:
- L&D is ‘broadly’ aligned with business strategy in 42% of organisations, and ‘extremely’ aligned in a further quarter (25%) of organisations. Just 6% report no alignment at all.
- The most common organisational changes that will affect L&D over the next two years are closer alignment with the business strategy (40%) and greater emphasis on monitoring and evaluation (35%).
- Organisations in the private sector are twice as likely to report that L&D headcount has increased than decreased. In contrast, public sector organisations are twice as likely to have reduced their headcount than increased them.
- On average, respondents said that around half of their L&D content is developed from scratch
A quarter (25%) integrate findings from social / behavioural neuroscience into practice, but over a third (36%) say they are aware of it but don’t fully understand it.
To download the report, click here.