The 3 Needs of Corporate Learning, Part 1: Business Needs

In the lead up to the launch of the 2015 Towards Maturity Benchmark Report on 5th November, we’re exploring three areas of need for corporate learning that have emerged from the data we’ve analysed this year. They are the needs of the business, its learners and its L&D leaders.

In Part 1, we take a look at what businesses need from the learning and development function in 2015 and beyond.

Changing Business Needs

In the introduction to the Global Human Capital Trends 2015 report, the authors outline how work is changing; global teams are operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week; teams are increasingly made up of part-time and contract workers, with technology starting to replace old processes and the employees who supported them.

Added to this, new entrants to the workforce have different expectations of what their workplace should provide; from better and more rapid development opportunities, to greater flexibility in how work is done.

The authors of the above report conclude:

“For human resources (HR) organisations, this new world requires bold and innovative thinking. It challenges our existing people practices: how we evaluate and manage people and how we engage and develop teams; how we select leaders and how they operate. HR organisations now face increasing demands to measure and monitor the larger organizational culture, simplify the work environment, and redesign work to help people adapt.”

What the Business is Doing Differently

Back in June, we shared some early findings from this year’s benchmark. Those findings shone a light on eight factors that are influencing the future of L&D:

  • The way people are connecting and collaborating (social learning) is changing: How can we support them better?
  • The importance of agility: businesses and individuals need to stay ahead of the game
  • Rising costs and reduced budgets, driving innovation
  • High demand for improving capability, but no time to go on courses
  • Delivering more value for less
  • The need for learning flexibility, demanding mobile technology
  • Technology is becoming an imperative, as opposed to a “nice to have”
  • Consulting approach to L&D

This list reflects how organisations and their work is changing, very much echoing the findings of the Deloittes report. We can see from these eight influences that organisations need to be agile and adaptive to the constantly changing business landscape. That means a more collaborative approach to work in order to become more innovative.

L&D Reality Check

These changes will not come from the old ways of doing things, like courses and classrooms. Business wants technology to deliver more value from its workforce, quickly. Technology is now at the heart of business transformation.

Here’s how is L&D shaping up in the face of these challenges: Data from this year’s Benchmark shows that businesses are benefiting from integrated thinking; 40% of the Top Deck (the top 10% of L&D teams according the the Towards Maturity Benchmark), are saying they are achieving the desired benefit of integrating learning into the workflow, as opposed to 16% of all organisations who benchmarked.

The organisations that are successfully putting technology at the heart of their learning strategy are reaping business benefits, with 74% of the Top Deck saying their ability to change procedures or products has improved. There is an average improvement of 22% across the wide range of organisations taking part in the Benchmark.

Top Deck organisations are also looking beyond courses to provide business solutions, with 94% considering the course as only one option to build performance. (compared with 52% on average).

Organisations are moving in the right direction; the 2015 Benchmark shows that more mature organisations are helping deliver business goals and transforming the way work is done.



Towards Maturity will be launching the 2015 Towards Maturity Benchmark Report on 5th November, during a free webinar in conjunction with the Learning & Skills Group. If you are responsible for driving L&D or business performance, don’t miss this webinar. Register for the webinar


Originally published at towardsmaturity.org on October 8, 2015.