Organizations increased their spending on employee development by 9.5 percent in 2011—to a per-learner average of $800, according to The Corporate Learning Factbook® 2012: Benchmarks, Trends and Analysis of the U.S. Training Market from Bersin & Associates.
The firm also reported that large businesses nearly doubled their investment in social learning—to an average of $40,000. “Companies are using social learning to drive innovation in their learning organizations,” said Josh Bersin, chief executive officer and president, Bersin & Associates (www.bersin.com). “By allowing users to actively interact and share knowledge, organizations are both empowering users to teach one another and are actively encouraging conversations that organically foster creativity and problem solving.”
Learners received an average of 15.3 hours in development in 2011 compared to 12.8 hours in 2010, according to the research, which was conducted in partnership with Workforce Management magazine.
Job Shadowing Exercises
The study pointed to BJC Healthcare as one company that is investing more heavily in employee learning and development (L&D) due to the track record of success it has achieved by ensuring that training is relevant and reality based. The organization operates 13 hospitals and multiple community healthcare centers in Missouri and Illinois.
Twice each year, every member of BJC Healthcare’s L&D staff job-shadows nurses during their shifts. “The shadowing gives L&D team members a deeper understanding of nurses’ daily duties and challenges, so that they can design training initiatives to help nurses provide better patient care,” Bersin & Associates explained.
“Through initiatives such as job shadowing, our L&D team has been able to demonstrate how we can add value by carefully targeting L&D initiatives that will boost staff productivity and contribute to bottom-line results—and do it cost effectively,” said Jeanne Bonzon, L&D director at BJC Healthcare.
Private Social Network
In the social learning realm, Bersin & Associates said that Columbus, Ohio-based Abbott Nutrition started using Chatter last year in an effort to help learners communicate with and support one another more effectively. Chatter is a collaboration and communication tool for businesses.
“Our use of Chatter has encouraged strong collaboration and was a factor in accelerating results delivering a record-setting year,” said Jackie Winner, manager, retail sales training for Abbott Nutrition.
High-Impact Learning Organizations
Bersin & Associates reported that high-impact learning organizations (i.e., those “that are more efficient, effective, and aligned with the business”) commit more time and financial resources to learning than the national average, and they do so with less staff.
Specifically, the firm found that these organizations spend $1,021 per learner (or $221 more per learner than the national average) and deliver 20 hours of training per learner (nearly 5 hours more than the national average) each year. At the same time, high-impact learning organizations have 4.3 L&D staff per 1,000 learners compared with the national average of 5.2.
The organizations achieved those results “[b]y utilizing staff effectively, pushing more delivery to local resources, and building informal learning environments to develop and support learners,” the firm explained. High-impact learning organizations also allocate 20 percent of their training budgets to external providers, compared to 14 percent nationally.
In addition, Bersin & Associates noted that “[t]he shift to online training and social learning has changed the mix of competencies needed on the L&D team. Most traditional classroom instructors now find themselves spending much of their time outside of a physical classroom to deliver more training online and in one-on-one sessions with learners.”