What value does the learning function provide the business?
When learning is tightly aligned with the businesss priorities,
both the learning team and stakeholders can readily articulate the
learning functions value proposition. Rita Mehegan Smith
$171.5 billion. Its more than just a number to learning
professionals. Its a statement, and a huge one at that.
According to the 2011 ASTD State of the Industry Report,
organizations spent $171.5 billionalmost $46 billion more than in
2009on employee learning and development in 2010. This large
increase demonstrates that organizations remain steadfastly
committed to the delivery of knowledge to and development of all
employeesfrom the executive level to the entry level.
The data in this report (see the feature article on page 44) show
that numbers count and metrics matter, but on top of that, these
encouraging numbers highlight what many learning executives have
been preaching for years: Linking learning initiatives to company
goals and strategies can translate into sustainability, which is a
strong competitive advantage for all organizations.
The value of learning came out strong in the At C Level interview
with SunTrust Banks CEO Bill Rogers on page 32. Rogers, a new CEO
himself, avowed that personal growth and learning are major
competencies for leaders. Im looking for leaders who want to grow
as individuals and who understand that a commitment to personal
growth is what makes the difference. Im a brand-new CEOsince June
1and I need to be in a learning mode along with everyone else in
the company. So willingness to learn is one of the first things I
look for, says Rogers.
Millennials will make up about 50 percent of the workforce by 2014,
and that will have a huge impact on training and employee
engagement, according to Rogers. Millennials are known for their
constant desire to learn and take part in training opportunities,
he says. Some wont work for a company that doesnt invest in their
The value proposition for learning is strong. The world is
changing, the workforce is changing, and the expectations of
customers and employees are changingwhich makes learning and
development a major player in the success of organizations. With
the dynamics of the workforce transforming the need for better
communication, stronger teamwork, and increased employee
engagement, the role of the learning professional is alive and well
in the workplace.