How much do employers spend on learning and training?
According to the American Society of Training and Development’s 2013 State of the Industry Report, U.S. organizations spent more than $164 billion on employee learning in 2012. (In this case, “learning” encompasses a wide array of educational initiatives including training.)
Training magazine’s 2013 Training Industry Report, on the other hand, offers a narrower focus on training initiatives and the dollars spent. The report indicates that U.S. training expenditures, which totaled $55.4 billion in 2013:
· increased among large companies (from $11.3 million in 2012 to $17.6 million in 2013);
· increased very slightly among small companies (from $294,532 in 2012 to $301,082 in 2013);
· and fell among midsize companies (from $2 million in 2012 to $1.2 million in 2013).
No matter how you slice and dice the definitions or the numbers, it appears that employers’ commitment to training and learning remains strong overall—especially considering the state of the economy during the past few years, the increasing challenge of global competition, and the ongoing turmoil around employers’ healthcare costs, among a host of other ongoing competitive hurdles.
Make no mistake, no matter what our other business challenges are, we need a no-retreat, no-surrender commitment to training and learning for one simple reason: organizations that are dedicated to learning crush their competition.
Bersin by Deloitte’s Corporate Learning Factbook 2013 contains several persuasive proof points based on years of study. They show that organizations with “strong learning cultures:”
· Are 42% more likely to innovate (i.e., be first to foster ideation and implement change initiatives) than their peers.
· Are 37% more productive.
· Are 35% more responsive to customers’ needs.
· And have a 26% greater capacity to deliver quality products.
It’s hard to ignore numbers like those, which clearly show why our investment in employee learning must be unwavering. Obviously, how we allocate our investment is equally important. The Training magazine report shows that employers’ top three priorities in allocating training resources in 2013 were: 1) increasing the effectiveness of training programs (32%); 2) reducing costs/improving efficiency (20%); and 3) increasing learner usage of training programs (14%).