Learning professionals take a hit from layoffs and budget cuts, as a recent study reveals. The research shows that those who face budget reductions are 11% less likely to find joy in their work, and 11% more likely to feel that their organisation falls short in helping people achieve their desired outcomes.
Intellum, a prominent EdTech for Business leaders, conducted the study to gauge the effects of the economy on learning professionals and identify best practices for positive business outcomes. The survey, conducted during the winter of 2023 (December 2022 - January 2023), included a sample size of 445 full-time US employees engaged in delivering workplace education.
The main findings of the study indicate that companies that centralise education ownership are more likely to achieve improved business performance. Additionally, layoffs and budget reductions have a negative impact on learning professionals, and these professionals often feel under-skilled in their roles.
Better business performance linked to centralised education ownership: Although 66% of education professionals believe that ownership of employee, customer, and partner education should be shared across teams, those who advocate for a single owner tend to work for companies that surpass their business goals. Furthermore, companies with dedicated executive sponsors for their education initiatives are 19 per cent more likely to exceed their business goals.
Layoffs and budget reductions take a toll on learning professionals: Within the last year, 33% of respondents experienced budget reductions in their teams, while 15% faced team member layoffs due to workforce reductions. Learning professionals who experienced budget reductions were found to be 11% less likely to enjoy their work and 11% more likely to express concerns about their organisation's ability to help to pay customers to achieve desired outcomes.
Learning professionals don't feel adequately skilled: 12% of respondents express a desire to make a greater impact but feel limited by a lack of knowledge and training. Among the respondents, HR professionals are twice as likely (16%) as education professionals (8%) to feel that they "lack the knowledge and training I need to succeed." Additionally, 10% of surveyed executives and directors believe that a skills gap is preventing them from achieving greatness.
"With the current economic environment, talent and customer retention have never been a more critical success metric. The best way to meet that metric is by ensuring customers, employees, and partners are educated on how to best use your products. Our survey shows what those education initiatives—and the learning professionals responsible for them need to drive results in today's volatile environment," said Robyn Hazelton, VP of Growth at Intellum. "
Key Takeaways for Driving Positive Business Outcomes:
- Adopt simplified working methods and leverage technology to enhance efficiency.
- Survey education professionals to assess their readiness for success.
- Streamline ownership of education initiatives as your organisation grows.
- Ensure your education initiative has adequate resources and skill sets for success.
- Appoint an executive sponsor for your education initiatives to ensure sufficient resources and drive business results.
The data revealed that workplace education professionals across industries are striving to achieve positive business outcomes despite challenging economic and employment conditions. Notably, research from the US Bureau of Labour Statistics highlighted a significant gap of 10.5 million open roles and 5.7 million unemployed Americans seeking employment.
This leaves organisations with two options: hiring under-qualified candidates and providing training, or re-skilling existing staff. It is evident that employee education plays a critical role in addressing the prevalent skills gap.