Measuring the economic impact of training and development in 2022


How can Learning & Development teams ensure they are getting the greatest economic impact from training their employees in 2022? A

It might well be a sweeping statement to say that the majority of training within some organizations is inherently flawed, but to qualify that statement, organizations need to realize that the purpose, content and timing of employee training – and how it is delivered – will be critical to improving employee capabilities, job satisfaction, key performance indicators and broader economic growth within companies in 2022.

For this to happen, there needs to be a shift in how L&D permanently analyzes and repairs the root causes of individual employee knowledge gaps that continue to impede economic growth and hamper productivity.

Harvey believes that (often) mandatory, one-time training is not only counterproductive to improving company productivity, but also extremely disenfranchising for employees. It also urges training and development professionals to be very mindful of considering historical transitional training factors when designing and revising their learning programs in 2022.

Harvey explained:
“The 2021 Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Workplace Learning and Skills Survey found that companies now primarily deliver their training through webinars, virtual classrooms, LMSs, learning social and online education platforms. Similarly, the majority of learning initiatives organized or funded in the last 12 months were also webinars, virtual classrooms and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).[1]

Historically, these “default” learning arrangements have not been able to fully and permanently address transient training issues that prevent employees from becoming more competent in their role – and the evidence confirms this.

The Department for Education’s Employee Skills Survey (ESS) research report – which had more than 81,000 employers participating in the most recent study – is one of the largest business surveys in the world.[2]

The ESS survey found that 79% of employee skill gaps were entirely caused by transient factors (they also noted that this was historically the case in all previous ESS surveys and that the prevalence of transient factors had increased since 2017).

These factors include people new to their role (67%), training only partially completed (61%), staff who lack motivation (38%), staff who have been trained but are not do not improve enough (33%) and staff who have not received appropriate training for their role (28%).

For Harvey, solving transient training problems means that learning and development professionals must recognize the science behind how employees learn and seek to deploy methods that allow them to better improve and prove employee capabilities. on an individual and continuous basis.

“The CIPD survey noted that impact measurement, transfer and engagement of training and development activities are continually hampered by barriers to evaluation; specifically expressing that these activities cannot be effectively measured via end-to-end course questionnaires or post-training surveys.

They also assert that evidence must permeate and inform every step of the decision-making process. And, while their findings indicate that there has been a slight increase in the proportion of organizations now critically evaluating the impact of their learning and development initiatives, the main barriers are still directly related to evaluation. the broader impact on business performance and how the transfer of learning is reflected and measured in the behavioral changes of their employees as part of their day-to-day performance.

To make matters worse, CIPD research also indicates that the majority of training and development professionals do not use evidence to inform the design of their learning program, with only a third of participants in the survey stating that they are proactive in identifying performance issues before recommending a solution.

If learning and development are going to better demonstrate their value in 2022 – both in terms of fiscal impact and their potential to build a more inclusive, engaged and successful workforce – they will need support functions agile to translate gaps in employee knowledge into tangible learning outcomes. that employees can apply within the scope of their functions to meet the economic needs of their company. »

Harvey’s organization, which conducted a three-year employee skills study, analyzed responses to more than 72 million questions about employee knowledge across a wide range of industries regarding skills and operational knowledge of employees (defined as: knowledge of products, services, policies, processes, and governance) to know an average level of competence of incumbent employees. Their study concluded that the average skill level of employees was fair 52%.[3]

In the majority of cases, employees only really know half of what they need to perform their role optimally within organizational and (if applicable) regulatory requirements.

Behavioral science dictates that we forget up to 80% of what we are taught in the first 30 days when there is no attempt to retain it.[4] Therefore, transient factors – the process of forgetting that occurs over time – shape how we effectively retain and apply the required learning content.

Without an evaluation and continuous improvement methodology to “plug” these transient factors, it seems inevitable that some training and development teams will continue to be hampered by a lack of evidence illustrating how transferred learning improves the capabilities of employees and business performance.

Employee-centric solutions like our AI – Clever Nelly – help training and development professionals better deliver and translate their learning content on a one-to-one basis, while empowering training and development teams to prove broader economic impact their training has on business KPIs.

Microsoft recently reported that our AI specifically helped them increase employee knowledge on the topic by 19% in specific industries, increase first-call resolution by 9%, customer satisfaction by 5%, and reduce call handling times by 12.5%, illustrating the positive impact. that the right technology can have on employee performance and productivity when aligned with the expertise of L&D teams.

[1] CIPD, ‘Learning and Skills at Work Survey 2021’, available here:

[2] GOV.UK, Department for Education, “Employer Skills Survey 2019”, Available here:

[3] Elephants Don’t Forget, ‘Three Year Skills Assessment Study’, 2017-19

[4] German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850 – 1909) theorized that training material is exponentially forgotten from the moment a learner consumes it unless efforts are made to preserve it. His study – now known as the “Forgetting Curve” – demonstrated the decline in retention over time. For more information visit:


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