Employees are more interested in learning and career development than ever before, yet 1 in 3 organisations are cutting their learning and development (L & D) budget.
A Skillsoft survey of 250 leaders and decision-makers across Australia and New Zealand found that 47 per cent of businesses are spending less than a fifth of their budget on learning. Furthermore, while 94 per cent of organisations do provide e-learning resources, over half are not actively encourage employees to use them.
Rose Cairnes of Skillsoft said the results are surprising.
“Against a backdrop of tight budgets and employees’ demands for flexibility, e-learning is something of a missed opportunity for organisations right now,” Cairnes said.
The survey found that 70 per cent of employees prefer e-learning for its flexibility, mobility, and convenience, while 20 per cent appreciate being able to learn at their own pace. Most are accessing learning materials in the offices, while over half are learning from home, and a quarter while commuting.
The benefits of providing L & D programs are evident: 78 per cent of respondents said they have been able to apply the skills they’ve gained, while 61 per cent said that they have recognised a direct, positive impact on their job performance.
However, though three quarters of employees would like to be able to access resources via mobile devices to make learning at times suitable to them easier, only 41 per cent of organisations provide this access.
“Due to IT and security challenges, organisations are struggling to keep up with demand for anytime-anywhere learning. When it’s done well however, we’re seeing high levels of learner engagement and satisfaction,” Cairnes said.
Twenty per cent of the business decision makers surveyed said that budget and resource limitations are the top challenges when it comes to implementing L & D initiatives.
“Offering more learners more opportunities can increase employee engagement and retention, as well as improve performance. However, achieving this means looking critically at resources, how they’re allocated, and their return on investment,” Cairnes said.
The key take-aways from the research suggest that spending on e-learning should be increased to make overall learning budgets more cost-effective, while organisations should also offer a balance of classroom learning and e-learning through blended learning options.