Revealing the Value of Corporate Learning and Development

This year’s Corporate Pulse Survey of almost 1,000 executives from Europe, the Middle East, Japan and China, reveals – among other things – that:

  • Learning and leadership development is highly valued, though not highly prioritised.
  • Addressing talent and management issues are priorities for senior leaders – continuing the trend identified in 2016.
  • To date, learning and leadership development programmes haven’t lived up to senior professionals’ expectations – although these professionals are optimistic that future programmes will be worth the investment.
  • Although organisations have tried to measure the impact of executive education and leadership development, they say that they don’t always succeed, despite this being a priority when choosing appropriate learning programmes for their organisations.

Priorities for 2017

This second annual Corporate Learning Pulse Survey, commissioned by Financial Times |IE Business School Corporate Learning Alliance (a joint venture between the London-based Financial Times and Madrid-based IE Business School), shows that senior professionals’ top priorities for 2017 are:

  • in-market growth (33% of respondents),
  • strategy development and execution (31%),
  • financial management (26%) and
  • cyber security (26%).

Executive education and leadership development (24%) is sixth on the priority list, with 22% also seeing this area as a challenge they must address in the next three years.

“Nonetheless,” observed VanDyck Silveira, FT | IE Corporate Learning Alliance CEO, “over 80% of senior professionals believe that executive education / leadership development has improved their skills, is vital to achieving business goals, and is more important than ever. In addition, 58% of them believe that executive education and leadership development are key to holding on to their best employees.

Driving Innovation

“The same percentage believe that these programmes can also deliver tangible and intangible value to their organisation, while 53% believe that investing in their employees via these programmes drives change and innovation in their organisation.”

Some 84% of senior professionals believe that learning and leadership development programmes have improved their business knowledge, competencies and confidence; 83% believe that these programmes are vital to achieving business goals, and 81% say that executive education/ leadership development is more important than ever.

Satisfaction with the impact of learning and leadership development programmes is highest in China (72%), Spain (64%) and Germany (57%). The lowest satisfaction ratings come from Japan (16%) and the Nordic countries (37%). Moreover, senior leaders in China, Spain and Germany are more likely to be optimistic about future investments in executive education / leadership development.

When it comes to previous investment in executive education those in China (69%), Spain (60%) and Germany (60%) are the most fervent in the belief that these investments have added value to their organisation.

The most popular measurements of these investments’ value are in terms of their impact on:

  • Employee satisfaction (72% of respondents)
  • Customer satisfaction (72%)
  • Employee engagement (72%)
  • Revenue, profit and margins (68%)

However, only 37% report seeing a tangible impact on employee engagement. Some 34% have found measurable benefits in terms of customer satisfaction; while revenue, profit, and margins, and employee satisfaction both return figures of 32%.

Although not specifically focusing on the use of learning technologies, the Survey touched on such issues as asking whether the respondent’s organisation is ‘well-prepared to adapt to new technologies, such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence’.

Although, overall, 44% of respondents agreed that their organisations were well-prepared, there was a wide variation in national responses.

Japan (21%) and the Nordic region (26%) claimed to be least well-prepared, while China (78%), followed by Spain (49%), the UK (48%) and the Middle East (48%) were the most confident on this issue. It was only respondents in France who fitted the overall response exactly on this issue.

Overall, in terms of job role, confidence on this issue was highest among C-suite executives (56%) and Presidents/ MDs (69%). It was lowest among learning and development professionals (37%) who, presumably, have to implement these technologies.

According to VanDyck Silveria, “This research further highlights the place of corporate executive education and leadership development, along with today’s key issues in this area across a large proportion of the globe. As such, it contains great deal of data to inform would-be suppliers of corporate learning and development programmes. In addition, hopefully, the resulting report will spark conversations about how an organisation can reach its strategic goals through learning.”

Read more about ROI of corporate learning on the Speexx Blog.

The 2017 Corporate Learning Pulse global survey report is available to download here

View a video summary of the 2017 report findings.

About the Author:

For over 20 years, Bob Little has specialized in writing about and commentating on, corporate learning – especially e-learning – and technology-related subjects. His work has been published in the UK, Continental Europe, the USA, South America and Australia. You can contact Bob via bob.little@boblittlepr.com or visit his blog.