Are You Part of the 27% of Orgs Spending More on Learning in 2017?

February 17, 2017

How to get more money for your learning and development program.

Recently, we surveyed more than 500 L&D leaders from companies across North America. One thing we found out – more than ¼ were getting more money to spend on learning in 2017.

That’s an impressive number, considering only 13 percent will get less money in 2017 (another 37 percent said they are getting about the same amount of funding, whereas the remaining 23 percent either didn’t know or didn’t want to answer).

So you might be thinking, okay, great, all things considered that’s a sizeable amount of learning and development teams getting an increase in funding for 2017. Here’s the question though – why are they getting an increase? And what are they spending the money on?

Let’s take those questions one-by-one.

Why 27 percent of L&D teams are getting an increase in 2017

So why are 27 percent of companies spending more on learning in 2017? Well, first and foremost, it’s because 69 percent of companies surveyed said talent is their number-one priority, and learning is a part of that.

But, beyond that, what are these companies looking to accomplish with their learning program, hence requiring extra money to do so? Well, to find out we asked L&D leaders, and here’s what they said:

Clearly, companies are spending more money on their learning programs to make their managers better. A worthy investment too, as research shows bosses (expectedly) really affect the bottom line.

How exactly are companies trying to improve their managers? Again, we asked L&D leaders and they said the number-one skill they were looking to improve was their managers' coaching ability, followed by manager communication.

It’s worth noting though that small companies have slightly different goals with their learning programs than large companies. While both care most about developing better people managers, smaller organizations care more about their people developing technical skills, whereas larger companies care more about supporting their employees' career development.

So clearly if companies are investing more in L&D, the biggest reason is to improve their managers. For larger companies, the second reason is to support their employees’ career development, whereas for smaller companies it’s to develop technical skills.

What those L&D teams will spend their additional money on

Okay, so the reasons for why companies are spending more on learning are relatively clear, the biggest reason being developing better managers. But what exactly will L&D teams spend their extra money on?

To find out, again we asked L&D leaders what they spend their money on. What we found out is that instructor-led classes are top of the list:

However, we are seeing an increase in online training, as budgets for eLearning are expected to increase by 11 percent by 2020. More and more frequently in companies we talked with, we found that in-person and online training is being bundled to form a more immersive training experience.

So, again in-person training continues to be the most common buy for L&D departments, with online training becoming more and more frequent.

What if you aren’t part of the 27 percent?

Of the 500 L&D leaders we surveyed, 27 percent said they were getting a budget increase. But what if you aren't part of that 27 percent?

Chances are, you’d probably like to have a budget increase. The key to getting one is leveraging the wisdom in this article, and finding a way to show ROI off of it.

No matter what size company you are, manager effectiveness is likely a massive priority of your L&D department. The better metrics you have on improving managers, the better chance you have of getting more funding in 2018.

If you are a smaller company, closing technical skill gaps is a big deal. The more you can design a comprehensive solution around that, the better chance you have of getting more funding (for larger companies, it's more about developing employees).

Bottom line, getting more funding as an L&D team isn’t impossible – 27 percent of companies prove that. It just comes down to creating solutions based around your company’s largest learning needs, and using metrics to track that.

Looking for strategies on improving your L&D program? Download our Workplace Learning Report today for free, where we surveyed 500 L&D leaders to find what’s working (and what’s not).