New research signposts the route to business success for L&D

Nov 29, 2017 | Press Release

Despite better outcomes than in 2016, the actual number of organisations reporting achievement of some benefits is still very low. So what is lacking, what are the current risks and how can we take strong steps forward?

The drive to develop the new learning organisation – a business where individuals continually learn and grow together and organisational transformation is a shared responsibility of both business and learning leaders, is widely recognised by this year’s Towards Maturity Benchmark participants.

Despite the increasing use of technology in learning and development, and some resulting improvements in training efficiency, the shift to an agile learning culture has not been widely achieved.

At Learning Technologies 2018 Towards Maturity will launch their Annual Benchmark Research outlining the steps to exploring learning transformation but, before we get there, L&D professionals must understand where we are today and and the route ahead to change.

Towards Maturity’s new benchmark research report: ‘L&D: Where are we now’ draws on data from over 700 learning professionals across 53 countries. Analysis reveals a snapshot of the current L&D landscape – a well-resourced, technology-enabled profession that is motivated to embrace change. So what is lacking, what are the current risks and how can we take strong steps forward?

The top priorities for companies this year are:

  • to improve organisational performance (a driver for over 98% of the sample)
  • increase productivity (97%)
  • increase learning access and flexibility (97%)
  • increase self-directed learning (96%).

Improving employee engagement with learning, speeding up the application of learning in the workplace, building the capability of the organisation to solve problems and facilitating new ways of working are also drivers for nine in ten organisations. However many are lacking in some of the essential capabilities they need:

  • 75% want to develop facilitate collaboration skills (25% have this in-house)
  • 70% want to develop data analytics skills (30% have this in-house)
  • 66% want to develop digital content skills  (34% have this in-house)
  • 65% want to develop webinar delivery (35% have this in-house)
  • 60% want to develop technology and infrastructure skills (40% have this in-house)

Laura Overton, CEO and founder of Towards Maturity comments:
The demand on L&D today is greater than ever and their expectations are building. Those organisations in the top ten percent of our benchmark are from every sector, size and region and what they’ve shown us, through the data, is that transformation is possible for every organisation.

Organisations in the top decile for the Towards Maturity Index achieve greater impact and report fewer barriers to progress. When compared to those in the bottom quartile, these Top Deck companies are 9x more likely to deliver outcomes relating to agility and culture.

These organisations have a real focus on building the capability of their teams and continue to invest in themselves, increasing the range of technologies they use in learning and development at a faster rate than the rest of the Benchmark sample. For example:

L&D Skills

  • 50% have the skills in house for facilitating collaboration (up from 39% in 2016)
  • 75% supporting ongoing workplace performance (67%)
  • 57% marketing and communication (41%)
  • 74% personal skills (e.g. creative thinking, critical analysis) (61%)

There have been some improvements in outcomes across the board. For example, efficiency improvements in increasing the volume of training, cutting course delivery time and reducing the training cost. However, despite better outcomes than in 2016, the actual number of organisations reporting achievement of some benefits is still very low:

  • Only 24% record that they successfully help to cultivate greater agility in the organisation
  • Only 19% achieve their goals in relation to the desired shift in the organisational culture

Andy Lancaster, Head of Learning & Development Content at The CIPD adds:
The CIPD understands how essential it is that L&D professionals develop their knowledge and skills. This evidence shows that top performing L&D teams not only show commitment to their own professional development, they also reap the benefits by delivering improved productivity and performance to their organisations. Whilst it remains sobering that limited progress has been made overall, it’s clear that the opportunity for change is within our grasp”.

On 31 January 2018 Towards Maturity will be launching their Annual Benchmark research at Learning Technologies, to celebrate their partnership as Global Benchmark Partner with the Learning Technologies and Learning and Skills Group. This report will be essential reading for anyone looking to become a new learning organisation – but you’ll need to read the latest research to get prepared.

Download your copy:


About Towards Maturity

Towards Maturity is an independent research company that provides expert advice and support to help organisations accelerate business performance through learning. It leverages the data of its longitudinal Benchmark Study, the largest learning strategy benchmark in the world. Since 2003, over 5,500 organisations and 35,000 learners have contributed to the Towards Maturity Benchmark.

Learn more about the Towards Maturity Benchmark and model at:

Thanks to the support of Towards Maturity’s Ambassadors, annual benchmarking findings, case studies and resources are available to download for free at

The Towards Maturity Ambassador Programme is made up of leading learning organisations. They work together as Ambassadors for change, identifying and improving good practice, raising awareness and driving the whole learning industry forward.

Towards Maturity Ambassadors include strategic partner the CIPD, publishing partner Emerald Group Publishing, the founding Ambassadors: Learning Technologies, LEO, Charity Learning Consortium, Acteon, Kallidus and Speexx, plus: Bray Leino Learning, Clear Lessons, Cognician, City and Guilds Kineo, CrossKnowledge, Degreed, Docebo, Dossier, DPG plc, getAbstract, GoodPractice, KPMG, Learning Pool, Lumesse, PurpleMedia, Raytheon Professional Services, Redware, Saba Software, Skillsoft and Workstar. Learn more about Towards Maturity’s Ambassadors at:

Towards Maturity is a part of the Emerald Group.

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