The business return on learning and development

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The business return on learning and development

Using learning and development to empower Australia's future workforce

With skills shortages growing, learning and development (L&D) is becoming increasingly important for business performance. Developed in partnership with DeakinCo., this research explores the current state of L&D in Australia and quantifies the business return on L&D.

Businesses have faced unprecedented challenges since the onset of COVID-19. Among these is the obstacle of finding and retaining talent, with job vacancies continuing to grow. While migration is starting to flow back, strong international competition and a significant backlog of skill needs mean the war for talent remains acute.

Learning and development (L&D) can play a critical role in addressing skills shortages within businesses, by upskilling and reskilling workers to better meet current demand. L&D is the process through which employees are empowered with specific skills to deliver better business performance, covering a wide range of both formal and informal training activity. This includes targeted skills programs, mentoring and coaching, short courses, online seminars, credentialing, on-the-job shadowing, and more.

Developed in partnership with DeakinCo., this research explores the current state of L&D in Australia and quantifies the value of L&D for organisational performance. Data for this report is drawn from a bespoke survey of large Australian businesses. This research builds on previous research by Deloitte Access Economics for DeakinCo. which examined the role of soft skills for business success.

This research finds that on average a 1% increase in L&D expenditure per employee is associated with an 0.2% increase in business revenue in the same year. In dollar terms, this is equivalent to every $1 invested in L&D per employee being associated with an additional $4.70 in business revenue (per employee).

Importantly, this report seeks to identify businesses at the forefront of leveraging L&D – known as learning organisations. To better understand what leading businesses are doing, this report develops a framework which has been applied to the survey results to understand the key features of learning organisations, based on 13 unique indicators.

The results of this modelling revealed that at least 83% of businesses in Australia could do more to enhance their L&D, with just 13% of businesses classified as Advanced learning organisations. Based on our analysis of leading businesses, this report identifies the top four actions a business can take to identify their learning maturity and maximise the associated benefits.

Published: April 2022

The business return on learning and development

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