By Patti Bancroft
As Vice President of Professional Services, Patti Bancroft manages the Professional Services team, which is responsible for designing and delivering AchieveGlobal’s customized consulting, training, and measurement solutions. During her 20 years of employment at AchieveGlobal, Ms. Bancroft has worked with companies of all sizes, from small businesses to Fortune 500 organizations, and with all levels of management to develop appropriate position-related skills. Read Patti’s full bio here.
If we take the projections of many experts as any measure, the New Year is off to a good start. Most economists are predicting positive prospects for 2014, with Goldman Sachs forecasters proclaiming, “The economic news remains broadly encouraging.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reflects this in its December 20 Economic News Release, which summarizes that in November:
- Regional and state unemployment rates were generally lower, and
- Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 43 states and decreased in 7 states and the District of Columbia.
But how can we continue to build on these positive trends? According to a recent ASTD article by research program strategist Laurie Miller, workplace learning continues to be a key organizational investment. In her October 2013 article, Miller points to the State of the Industry Report which indicated that in 2012, organizations spent approximately $164.2 billion on employee training. Also, per employee direct learning expenditure remained stable at $1,195, which was $13 higher than the average in the prior year.
While the direct learning expenditure figures for 2013 remain to be seen, there are a few constants in the spending per employee trends from year to year, including:
- Smaller organizations tend to spend more per employee, since they rely more on external services and have a fewer L&D experts in house.
- Organizations often seek ways to keep training costs down, by reusing content or making use of technology.
- Organizations continue to use a blended approach to learning to maximize L&D success while optimizing budgets.
- Among modalities used, training is offered through instructor-led classroom, instructor-led online, eLearning, and mobile learning.
The American Society for Training and Development’s 2013 State of the Industry Report is full of valuable insights (available here for $499) and is well worth a detailed read to gain deeper understanding of how organizations learn.
All in all, perhaps we can expect one thing from 2014…
If economists turn out to be right in their predictions for this year, organizations will continue to raise the bar on what they expect from their employees, and will need to design training and development strategies that fit the particular needs and culture of their organization.
A great way to approach this year is to remember a few fundamental best practices about organizational learning:
- Plan and strategize learning initiatives in advance
- Train often, train relevant and train well
- Use the expertise of those who live and breathe learning and development
- Follow up, reinforce, and support learned skills
- Measure outcomes to build insight into what works and what needs to be adjusted
Between uplifting predictions for the economy, the state of the training industry, and positive labor/employment statistics, 2014 is looking to be a profitable year to invest in employee development.