Businesses increasingly measure ROI on L&D, says CIPD study

An increasing number of businesses are measuring financial returns on learning and development (L&D) programmes, according to CIPD research.

The CIPD Learning and Development survey, compiled in conjunction with talent management systems provider Cornerstone OnDemand, polled 1,081 L&D specialists. Almost half (48%) of employers now measure return on all learning and development schemes. This is up from 26% this time last year. 

The median budget for L&D programmes is £286 per employee, down slightly from £303 in 2013. Public sector organisations have the lowest spend, with a median of just £238 per staff member. 

The survey also suggests that e-learning suites are waning in popularity. Only 23% of respondents said they believe e-learning will grow over the next 12 months. This is compared to 29% in 2013 and 30% in 2011. However, the figure did also dip to 24% in 2012. Managers polled found e-learning the least effective of all learning tools, with on-the-job training and in-house programmes considered the most useful. 

Ruth Stuart, learning and development adviser at CIPD, told HR magazine it is important for companies not to "rest on their laurels" with their L&D initiatives.

"Companies have to keep asking themselves whether it is working," she said. "Talk to your staff, see what is and isn't effective. If you combine this with harder metrics for the business you have the best chance of running things effectively."

Vincent Belliveau, SVP and general manager EMEA at Cornerstone, told HR magazine learning and HR departments are on a similar curve to marketing departments around 20 years ago.

"If you look at marketing then, someone going into that field wouldn't necessarily see themselves as adept with figures or finances," he said. "But now they need to produce solid metrics for the business to justify their budgets. Learning departments are on that same path now, businesses want to see tangible evidence of the effectiveness of development programmes."