September 2017
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TD Magazine

L&D Might Have a Perception Problem

Friday, September 1, 2017

Leaders see L&D matters, but it remains at a distance.

Although learning and development isn't among most senior professionals' top priorities, most recognize its value and future importance to their organizations. That's according to Corporate Learning Pulse, a June 2017 study from Corporate Learning Alliance that surveyed nearly 1,000 senior professionals from nine countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

In total, just 22 percent of the survey's respondents claimed that L&D would be a top-three priority for their organizations in the coming year, trailing competitors such as market growth (33 percent), strategy development and execution (31 percent), and financial management (26 percent).

However, most respondents also acknowledged that while L&D isn't a top focus now, its importance is set to grow. Eighty-three percent agreed that effective L&D is vital to achieving business goals, and 81 percent said that executive education and leadership development are more important than ever. Many also recognized that their company's talent development investments had furthered their careers, with 84 percent saying that L&D improved their business knowledge, competencies, and confidence.

So, why is it that although most senior professionals see L&D as both important to achieving future organizational goals and something that has helped them advance their careers, it hasn't emerged as a top-three priority?

When asked whether other senior leaders at their organization thought past investments in L&D added value, less than half of respondents (47 percent) said yes. Likewise, only 47 percent said that their senior leaders thought that current L&D programs add value and 53 percent said their senior leaders express optimism that future programs would.


Where does this poor perception come from?

According to Corporate Learning Pulse, among those who don't feel that their senior leaders believe L&D investments have added value, "the main reason is that they have not been able to measure the success or outcomes" of these programs.

About the Author

Alex Moore is a research analyst for the Association for Talent Development. Alex returned to ATD in 2019 after spending a year living and working in Chile. Prior to moving abroad, Alex was a writer/editor for ATD working on TD magazine, a research coordinator at ATD, and a customer care advocate at ATD. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 2015 with a B.A. in English.

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