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Laura Overton

Learning analyst

Read more from Laura Overton

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How to drive organisational efficiency through learning


This week we kick off a series looking at how learning professionals can deliver on five key business outcomes. Laura Overton, CEO and founder of Towards Maturity, explores 13 years’ worth of data, collected from L&D professionals in the Towards Maturity benchmark, to provide insights on how the most successful organisations are positively impacting on business outcomes. In our first instalment Laura focuses on improving efficiency.

At Towards Maturity we’ve been collecting data on how organisations use learning technologies to drive performance for over 13 years now. In that time we’ve gathered data from over 5,500 L&D professionals and more than 35,000 learners.

That’s enabled us to provide you with the evidence and strategies to help deliver learning impact and unlock an organisation’s potential.

This year we’ve taken an action-oriented approach to the data.

In our latest benchmark report, Unlocking Potential, we explore the factors that lead to successful business outcomes,  focusing on five business-critical outcomes:

  • improving efficiency
  • fine-tuning processes
  • boosting performance
  • cultivating agility
  • influencing culture

I want to start by taking a closer look at efficiency, a subject close to all our hearts!

What efficiency outputs are learning leaders expecting to achieve and how do they compare and contrast with the top 10% of companies in our research (which we call the Top Deck)?

Our data shows that:

  • 99% of us want to increase learning access and flexibility
  • 98% want to improve the quality of learning delivered
  • 96% want to improve induction/onboarding process
  • 93% want to increase the volume of learning, reaching more people
  • 87% want to reduce training costs
  • 86% want to comply with new regulations 86%

So...are we succeeding?

There’s still a way to go.  Only 42% of organisations on average are achieving their goals, compared with 77% of those in the Top Deck. We also found that 31% of what we call the “efficiency achievers” are achieving successes in five or more of the key areas. So what differentiates the achievers from the non-achievers?

Our research explores the tactics that are most likely to correlate with successful outcomes and when it comes to improving efficiency, the most successful organisations:

  • Integrate technology into face to face training (45% vs 21%)
  • Regularly review programmes to maintain relevance (66% vs 35%)

Ensuring learning content is relevant, well designed and easy to access is also critically important. Our research with more than 35,000 learners shows the three most important factors in delivering a successful online learning experience are:

  • The overall quality of the learning design (79%)
  • Online elements are easy to use and navigate  (78%)
  • Content and resources are relevant and timely for my work situation (77%)

No wonder then that “efficiency achievers” focus on getting learning design right and keeping content clean. 

The results of this approach speak for themselves. Top Deck organisations are almost twice as likely to agree that they have:

  • Increased the proportion of staff now on learning programmes (72% vs 39%)
  • Increased the volume of learning that they deliver (73% vs 35%)

Our data shows that 61% of organisations are failing to achieve significant progress in meeting their goals of a digitally enabled learning strategy. Whilst technology is critically important for driving efficiency, for many of us it’s still a challenge we’re grappling with.

In our next article we’ll look more in depth at how to drive efficiency through learning with several practical tips. In the meantime, we ask you to tap into the resources you have freely available to you. Participate in the Towards Maturity Benchmark Study and review your strategy, compare your performance and find out what actions you should be prioritising with your personalised benchmark report.

Author Profile Picture
Laura Overton

Learning analyst

Read more from Laura Overton

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