Learning & Development, Talent

Debunked: 4 Excuses for Not Offering Employees L&D Programs

Executives and working professionals outside of the learning and development (L&D) industry may not always fully understand the importance and impact of L&D, and it’s not unusual for L&D professionals to hear excuses about why these programs aren’t necessary or can’t be executed, especially from executive leadership teams.


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Here are four of the more common excuses individuals have when arguing against offering employees L&D programs—debunked.

1. Employees Will Be More Likely to Leave After They’re Trained and Developed

Some leaders worry that if they spend a lot of money training and upskilling employees, those employees will take their newly found skills and training elsewhere, not guaranteeing a long-term return on leaders’ initial investments and allowing another organization to benefit from these employees instead.
However, studies and research continually show that investing in L&D programs for employees improves retention rates and employee productivity levels. Moreover, research indicates that 40% of employees who don’t receive the necessary job training will leave their positions within the first year anyway, and 70% of employees have indicated that job-related training and development opportunities influenced their decision to stay at their job.
So, even though some leaders may ask, “What happens if we train our employees and they leave?” you should be asking, “What happens if we don’t train our employees and they stay … or leave?”

2. There’s No Budget for L&D Programs

Tying your L&D programs to your organization’s business goals will yield results and improve the company’s bottom line—and there is always a budget for something that will improve your organization’s bottom line. For example, if you can prove your sales training program will lead to more sales and revenue, you will continue to receive the budget you need for that program.
Essentially, if you can track and collect data that demonstrate the effectiveness of your L&D programs, executives will make a budget for them.
For more insight, read “How to Maintain Your Training Budget When Your Organization Starts Downsizing.”

3. Employees Should Learn on Their Own Time

The modern-day worker is already stressed out, works well over 40 hours per week, doesn’t take many (if any) breaks or vacations, and compulsively checks his or her e-mail when outside of the office.
Such “always logged in” working conditions make it impossible for workers to find consistent time to engage in quality learning experiences on their own, especially if they don’t work for an organization that has a company culture that endorses learning and professional development.
Experts and studies suggest that even if employees have access to microlearning content and informal learning experiences, they still won’t gain the knowledge and skills they need to be successful if employers don’t set aside real time for them to learn—all to the employer’s detriment.

4. Employees Should Learn from Their Bosses

Oftentimes, business leaders assume that managers are training and developing their staff or are, at the very least, hiring staff with the right skills. But research reveals that most managers don’t even receive training themselves, which perpetuates the idea of the blind leading the blind.
If you don’t train and develop your managers, you can’t expect them to train and develop your staff. It’s simply too costly not to offer employees L&D opportunities and programs in the modern-day workplace, where a new skill typically lasts fewer than 5 years.
Additionally, strategic and properly aligned L&D programs are continuously shown to be critical to an organization’s ability to innovate and remain competitive.