New research from Towards Maturity, sponsored by Kallidus, reveals that mid-sized businesses are struggling to support the needs of today’s self-driven learners. It shows how they must modernise their learning strategies if they want to achieve the same business benefits as top learning organisations.

Launched today, Towards Maturity’s latest Sector Benchmark Report, Embracing Change in Mid-Sized Businesses, shows that mid-sized organisations (employing between 250 and 1,000 staff) only invest 14% of their available L&D budget in learning technologies, compared with top performing learning companies who dedicate a quarter (25%) of their budget to technologies that will help staff learn and support their performance.

Today’s employees want an on-demand learning experience, yet only 29% of mid-sized businesses support learning directly in the flow of work, with just 20% enabling employees to access job aids online or via mobile devices (compared with 68% and 59% of top learning organisations respectively). The majority of mid-sized businesses are also failing to embrace informal learning, realising the power of social media for enabling learners to collaborate and solve problems together, despite 64% of L&D professionals in the sample saying their appeal to the millennial learner is a key driver for their use of learning technologies.

Commenting on the findings, Laura Overton, Managing Director of Towards Maturity said: “Despite having modern business structures and increasingly multi-national operations, mid-sized businesses continue to lag behind their peers in e-enabling formal learning and embracing a truly blended approach to learning. However, this research highlights the opportunities to learn from others, exploring how they can take advantage of new learning approaches and tools.”

There is plenty of opportunity ahead: 45% of respondents expect their overall training budget to increase in the next two years – the organisations that are successfully adopting learning technologies are reaping tangible benefits. 24% of respondents reported improvements in their ability to change procedures or products, 12% reported improvements in customer satisfaction, 11% improvements in productivity and 13% have achieved savings in training programme costs.

Rob Caul, CEO of Kallidus which has a strong track record in providing learning and talent solutions to the mid-market added: “Mid-sized businesses are the powerhouse of our economy and they need to ensure they are doing enough to support their own growth. Now is the time to be investing in new learning technologies and systems that today’s tech-savvy, self-driven learners need and want. Larger organisations have a much higher cost-of-entry point and more complex deployments, so mid-sized organisations stand to gain a big advantage by evolving their learning beyond the classroom now, even on a smaller scale.”

Key highlights of the survey

Over 600 leaders in Learning and Development completed the Towards Maturity Benchmark™ review in 2015.[1] 17% of these were from mid-sized businesses with between 250 and 1,000 staff. Specific analysis of the mid-sized businesses in this independent study shows that:

  • Budgets are rising: 45% expect their overall training budget to increase in the next two years and 35% expect their L&D team to grow
  • Only 14% of L&D budget is allocated to learning technologies, whereas top learning organisations dedicate 25%
  • Key drivers for using learning technologies include increasing learning access and flexibility (98%), improving data analysis of learning impact (98%) and increasing appeal to millennium learners (64%)
  • Benefits from using learning technologies include: 24% reported improvements in ability to change procedures/products, 12% reported improvements in customer satisfaction, 11% improvements in productivity and 13% achieved cost savings
  • 22% of all learning is e-enabled, compared with 34% amongst top learning organisations
  • 29% support learning directly in the flow of work, compared with 68% of top learning organisations
  • 20% enable employees to access job aids online or via mobile devices, compared with 59% of top learning organisations
  • 7% encourage learners to solve problems together using social media tools, compared with 27% of top learning organisations
  • Only 13% of L&D professionals agree staff know how to work together to share knowledge, compared with 45% in top learning organisations

Specific analysis of mid-sized businesses and full access to the findings has been made possible thanks to the support of Kallidus.

The study can be downloaded for free from www.kallidus.com/research and from www.towardsmaturity.org/in-focus/2016/midsized

[1] L&D data taken from Embracing Change - the 2015 Towards Maturity Industry Benchmark Report, research with over 600 L&D leaders around the globe. See: www.towardsmaturity.org/2015benchmark.

For further information about Kallidus visit www.kallidus.com or follow @Kallidus on Twitter.

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