Budgets, exec buy-in for learning initiatives are on the rise
- Both budgets and executive support for learning and development are up, according to a new report from LinkedIn Learning.
- Almost twice as many employers reported an expected budget increase for L&D initiatives over recent years; 43% of survey respondents said they anticipate a budget bump for 2019 compared to only 27% in 2017. Similarly, only 27% of L&D professionals listed "limited budget" as a top challenge in 2019, compared to almost half of respondents two years ago, LinkedIn said.
- The commitment to learning also is top-down for almost all employers. Eighty-two percent of talent development professionals said they have support from the C-suite. Downsizing isn't affecting most L&D teams either, with 87% reporting their teams will stay the same size or grow in 2019.
As the C-suite begins to realize that the skills gap will require a strategic response, learning and development pros — and talent acquisition pros — are enjoying more support. "If you’re a talent developer and you need more resources to accomplish your goals, then 2019 may be a good year to ask for it," LinkedIn Learning's Bogdan Zlatkov said, announcing the report.
And that executive support is critical to learning initiative success. Employees are much more likely to participate in learning programs if their managers are on board with the idea, various studies have found, and executive buy-in is necessary for manager buy-in. Executive support sets the tone, Karen Hebert-Maccaro, chief learning experience officer at O'Reilly, told HR Dive in a previous interview. Phyllis Millikan, senior vice president of career management for ManpowerGroup's Right Management, agreed: "Behaviors and learning are practiced and reinforced based on expectations and discussions with your direct leaders — which includes leaders of leaders."
But L&D professionals still must be able to demonstrate value by measuring their results. Calculating an initiative's ROI can be challenging, but experts recommend that L&D professionals paint a full picture for stakeholders, encompassing everything from content consumption to employee feedback.
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