How to make sure your L&D strategy has real impact (research)

What makes some L&D departments more successful than others? L&D departments come in different shapes and sizes with varying budget amounts, making it hard to compare successful initiatives and figure out what would work best for your organization. In this article, guest writer, Mattison Johnson shares insight into the L&D practices that top companies are using to get ahead and how you can make sure your L&D strategy has a real impact.

In’s annual U.S. L&D Report 2018, they surveyed a number of L&D professionals from companies across the country in order to learn how they invest in talent, measure their impact, and how different levels within the organization feel about corporate training.

In order to keep the data as relevant as possible, they only included survey results from participants who manage or direct learning initiatives within their organization. Companies with increased revenue over the last year were also segmented to better understand the relationship between L&D and company growth.

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Based on the survey findings, here are 3 key practices that will help you capitalize on your L&D efforts and experience organizational impact.

Number 1: Embrace new technologies

We live in an age of technology. Technology dictates how we communicate, how we do business, and now how we learn.

According to the U.S L&D Benchmarking Survey: 2018, the companies who experienced growth this past year have embraced technology and have made it a key part of their L&D strategy. Not only are companies with strong learning cultures avid users of learning technology, but they are also 12% more likely on average to use them in 2018.

In addition, 32% of companies said that they were most likely to use elearning over other technologies in 2018.

In order to make the most out of your elearning efforts, ensure your company is practicing people-centered elearning. Embracing technology may be a key success factor for L&D but if you want to capitalize on your efforts, you need to know how to create learning experiences that make a real difference.

Technology is unavoidable and is changing the dynamics of L&D. Companies that are open to learning are more likely to see positive impact if they put the right learning technologies at the heart of their efforts.

Number 2: Report the ROI of your L&D strategy

If you want your L&D initiative to have a real impact then you need to report the ROI of training. Over half of the companies who don’t measure the success of L&D say that they perform at a lower or much lower level then L&D departments at other organizations.

On the contrary, 100% of the companies who had grown in the last financial year said they tracked the ROI of training.

Tracking ROI and ensuring that your training is achieving the desired results is one of the most important factors – if not the most important factor – of a successful L&D department. It is one of main ways that L&D departments get buy-in from upper management for more resources.  And yet, this is one of the largest challenges that L&D departments face.

According to the survey, 20% of employees interviewed claimed that showing ROI on talent development initiatives was the prime challenge that their L&D department faced. If you want to see learning results, then proving the business impact is key.

What many companies don’t realize is that tracking ROI can be done in multiple ways. If your L&D department isn’t very good at collecting ROI through surveys or other electronic methods, then try something else.

Employee stories are a very valuable tool in when it comes to gaging ROI. Stephen Garguilo, who lead a cultural revolution at Johnson & Johnson, says, “I’d constantly be on the lookout for impact stories of product development and people development, and collecting dozens of those stories was really valuable in being able to demonstrate value as well as inspire others to realize similar outcomes.”

Number 3: Promote a culture of learning within the organization

Promoting a culture of learning in your organization is crucial if you want to see positive organizational growth. Companies without staff engaged in learning are not only going to experience poor business performance, they are also twice as likely to lose staff before three years.

In a learning culture, learning is a constant process that is happening at events as well as on-the job. This can be done through coaching and mentoring, learning from smartphones and tablets, engaging in experimental learning, along with other methods. In this type of culture employees are expected to seek out the skills and knowledge they need on their own.

One of the best ways to promote a learning culture is through the use of learning technology. When learning becomes accessible, employees will be more likely to engage in it and be open to future learning opportunities.

Survey results showed that companies with strong learning cultures were avid users of learning technology and were 12% more likely on average to use them in 2018. By implementing elearning opportunities, you can create a more sustainable and adaptable culture of learning.

If your company has been struggling to find an L&D strategy that works for you, try engaging with the 3 key practices listed above and applying the 6-pillars of people-centered elearning to your organization. To transform your learning culture and start seeing real impact, join our people-centered pledge.

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