Latest research from Towards Maturity reveals that mid-sized businesses are failing to capitalise on the benefits of learning technologies, but brings hope by identifying opportunities for success within these organisations.
Towards Maturity’s latest Sector Benchmark Report, Modernising Learning in Mid-Sized Businesses, launched today, shows that just 40% of mid-sized businesses (MSBs) are delivering learning solutions in time to meet the needs of the business. Only 10% understand and can demonstrate the value of learning in their organisation.
The independent research on organisations with between 250 and 999 employees, supported by integrated learning and talent provider Kallidus, shows that these MSBs are among the least likely to be using learning technologies in learning and development programmes, with just 13% of training budget allocated to learning technologies.
Commenting on the findings, Towards Maturity MD Laura Overton, said:
“Despite the proven benefits that effective learning innovation provides for increasing business agility and rapid upskilling, many mid-sized businesses are lagging behind their peers in the use of learning technologies. This research highlights the need for these organisations to evolve their L&D practices beyond the classroom, update legacy systems and approaches, and align their learning strategies more closely with organisational needs to achieve sustainable growth and success.”
Some organisations are successfully adopting learning technologies and reaping the benefits. Of the 117 respondents from MSBs who took part in the research, 10% reported improvements in customer satisfaction, 9% improvements in productivity, 12% were realising reductions in time to competency and the same proportion were reaping savings in programme costs.
But this success is not without its challenges. The reported top barrier to implementing a technology-enabled learning strategy was employee engagement, with 83% of L&D professionals citing a lack of skills amongst employees to manage their own learning and 67% saying their audience are reluctant to learn with new technology.
Rob Caul, CEO of Kallidus, added:
“Mid-sized businesses are the backbone of our economy, supporting millions of jobs and making a vital contribution to economic performance. It is essential that they gain the full support they need and invest in the right systems, as they continue to try and evolve their L&D practices beyond the classroom and align their learning strategies more closely with business needs.”
The report highlights a number of areas where L&D teams in MSBs can take action to improve learning and business outcomes:
- Demonstrating value: Only 10% of L&D professionals in MSBs agree that they know the opportunity cost of the various ways their audience learns (compared to 42% of the overall sample of 600 participants)
- Motivating learners: 21% agree that they support career aspirations (or personal job goals) with technology-enabled learning (66%)
- Technical environment: 49% have good links/relationships with their IT department (74%)
- Supporting performance: 10% agree that they use available support systems to promote self-reliance amongst learners, rather than a culture of dependency (51%)
- Empowering users: 17% involve users in the design of the most appropriate learning approach (64%)