80% Of Your Employees May Not See Value From Your L&D Program: Here’s How to Change That

Table of Contents

At GrowthSpace, we work hand-in-hand with learning and development (L&D)  and organizational development (OD) professionals from around the world.

A core part of our mission statement makes L&D a value for every employee, no matter their department. It’s what drives us to continue building the most comprehensive L&D toolkit platform the market has ever seen. And we don’t only sell to L&D specialists, we work with them too.

The taxonomy that we’ve built to laser-focus on exactly what skills employees need help with —and which matches them with the perfect experts to get past those challenges—was developed in close consultation with experts drawn from the L&D world.

Most Employees May Be Getting No Value From Your L&D Program

When Degreed and Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning went out to survey what workers really thought about their organizations’ L&D efforts their findings were surprising, to say the least.

“Only one out of every five people are promoters for their organization’s L&D.”

While L&D promoters and detractors varied greatly in how they perceived their organizations’ approach to L&D, globally, only one out of every five employees surveyed was a promoter of their organization’s L&D initiatives. Employees’ dissatisfaction with their organizations’ L&D deployments represents a serious concern for those in HR. The report also found that 54% of the workforce will require “significant upskilling” within the next five years while 80% believe that “more innovation is needed in the L&D space.”

With the short shelf-life of skills today, employees need continuous employee development and upskilling in order to stay relevant. In today’s competitive environment, there’s just no question that the skills required for a role today will change in the next few years. Research from IBM found that most skills have a “half-life” of around five years, while more technical skills change every two and a half years. But even when organizations offer upskilling and reskilling programs, many employees are uninterested in taking part if the programs are off-the-shelf or impersonal. Employees require personal guidance when it comes to L&D – professional development is a very personal learning journey. Everyone has a different background, set of skills, goals for their future, and a unique style of learning. Learning management systems and the like are great for skill updates – not full skill development.

For HR, this means there’s an ongoing threat to employee retention that simply isn’t being adequately addressed. Unsurprisingly, when employees were asked where they would actually turn in order to upskill themselves, organizations’ own L&D programs got an overall low rating. In the Degreed and Harvard Business Publishing survey, they found that 65% of employees said that they would access specific websites like YouTube in order to acquire the skills they needed and 62% would tap into their professional networks for more informal peer-learning. Only 37% would access organizational resources such as a learning management system (LMS) or formal L&D programs such as workshops or lectures. So – what can we make of all this data?

L&D programs that Engage Employees on a Personal Level

Employees Are Unique, Individual Humans

No, we’re not trying to be funny. When it comes to obtaining professional skills needed to advance their careers, employees will turn to the resources that they’re most familiar with and which address their challenges in the most direct way possible. That means that they’ll start by figuring out what they’re trying to achieve and then find the best solution possible. Google is easy. Sending an email to the HR team asking what resources are available is harder, especially if you aren’t familiar with the team or if L&D programs even exist. And so employees will go looking for the kind of resources that they’re familiar with and give them exactly what they need.

What we can learn from these findings is that employees crave a sense of ownership over their L&D programs, and those who get that sense of being a part of the process are naturally more committed and engaged. People want to learn – they just want to learn in a way that best suits their needs. In the end, successful L&D programs are those that engage the employee on a personal level. In short, employees need personalization when it comes to Learning and Development.

We’ve Built A Platform To Deliver It

GrowthSpace’s Learning & Development Program

At GrowthSpace, we’ve listened to both L&D participants and those structuring the programs in order to develop an understanding—one which we’re always improving on—of how L&D can be done better. Because what we’re hearing from many employees is that it has to be done better. And that’s why we built a platform that addresses the above challenges.

At GrowthSpace, we start by looking at challenges—just as employees do when they’re typing their pain points into Google and searching for solutions. This is why when customer employees are onboarded as GrowthSpace participants, we ask them to describe the kind of challenges they’re experiencing in their own words. Just as they would if they were typing into a search engine. Our system then goes one step further and loops managers into the discussion so that employees, and those managing them, can align around employee growth plans. HR professionals gain administrative access in order to orchestrate the entire process. Then we bake in measurements to make sure that growth is really happening where everybody wants it to.

At GrowthSpace, we also believe in growth that’s modality-agnostic. Firstly, we look at what challenges need to be addressed. Then we find the best way to solve them. Unlike conventional L&D, we look at each employee’s objectives and then find the best solution for their needs.

Personalization and Scale

At GrowthSpace, we realize that many HR teams aren’t managing development programs for ten employees –  they need to roll them out for hundreds or thousands! That’s why our platform was designed to work at enterprise levels of scale from Day One. leveraging the power of artificial intelligence with a proprietary AI-backed algorithm in order to make personalized growth at scale possible. It taps into an L&D skills taxonomy developed in-house in consultation with industry experts. And when the two meet in the middle, great matches happen. That’s how we’ve taken personalized L&D and brought it to scale. Our matching technology has been deployed in enterprise-sized install bases.

Supported delivery methods include:

– Mentoring Coaching
– Lectures
– Better L&D
– More Engaged Participants

At GrowthSpace, we’re working hard to bridge the gap between the kind of L&D experience that employees have been asking for and the one that —until now—it was a logistical nightmare for L&D teams to actually deliver. Because let’s face it, ineffective L&D that can’t be measured doesn’t work for anyone: not L&D or HR teams, not employees – and certainly not leadership. We’ve taken the L&D toolkit and boxed it into one convenient online platform that your HR staff can access from anywhere with an internet connection—including their home if they’re working remotely.

GrowthSpace has developed an L&D platform that delivers individualized programs on a wide scale. It’s no longer necessary to put workers who want development initiatives into one basket and give them a learning program that does not focus on the needs of each individual. Nor is it required to save the specialized guidance for senior staffers only.

Spreadsheets for managing vendors? You can probably wish those an (unfond) goodbye. We’re bringing personalized scaled-up growth where it’s never gone before, including to enterprise organizations across North America. We’d love to share in our growth journey with you.

L&D Programs – FAQ


What are the types of L&D programs?

There are many different types of learning and development (L&D) programs, which are cohesive learning activities designed to encourage the professional and personal development of an organization’s employees. L&D programs are diverse and because of that, there are lots of different types of L&D programs, as well as the forms in which the programs take.
L&D programs are often specifically designed to focus on certain skills and are more personalized in order to target the knowledge and skills of the particular employee.

For simplicity, we’ll highlight some of the most common L&D programs:

1. Skill gaps programs

Employers often discover some employees are missing the necessary skills to do their day-to-day work. Through L&D programs aimed at closing those gaps, organizations can upskill their employees to increase productivity and develop a more prepared workforce.

2. Coaching programs

Learning and development coaching programs can take a variety of forms, based on several factors. Coaching can be one-on-one or take place in group settings and is mainly focused on either finding and fixing professional problems or working toward a specific goal with help.

Coaches come from all backgrounds and it’s important to choose the right person for the employees’ specific needs; someone with the experience to ensure success at the end of the coaching process. While coaching programs have often been offered to upper management ( a.k.a “executive coaching” ) , organizations are finding major value in expanding coaching programs for individual contributors. The short sprints coaching programs typically offer and focused nature of coaching creates results in a short time.

3. Leadership programs

Leadership learning and development programs vary by the nature of who the program is aimed towards. Leadership L&D programs should be tailored to the leaders’ level, whether that’s a C-level executive, mid-level manager, or frontline and individual leaders. Overall, though, the goals of leadership programs include learning how to better respond to challenges, practicing leadership skills and gaining honest feedback to improve, and creating professional goals.

Mid-level leaders face unique challenges, including learning how to move up in the organization, understanding their management style, and knowing how to meet their goals – and exceed them – to move up within the organization.
For C-level leaders, leadership programs can help scale culture change and create lasting transformational growth. Modern leaders have new challenges to face, including how to manage virtual workforces, retain employees in an increasingly competitive marketplace, and build better relationships with customers, vendors, and their own employees.

4. Mentorships

Mentorships are slightly different than the other types of L&D programs because the ‘program’ is more about an employee building a relationship with someone who has more knowledge, experience, and understanding in an area the employee needs help in or is headed towards professionally. With a different perspective, mentors leverage their know-how to offer guidance and can be a sounding board for the mentee’s ideas or issues.

What makes an L&D program successful?

Successful L&D programs can take many forms, and it really depends on what the goal of the program is. If the goal of a program is to re-engage employees, and you see an uptick in productivity and engagement, your program has been successful. For a one-on-one coaching program, success means the employee has learned to apply the skill to his or her job, and his or her work starts to show the positive results expected.

Rather than focusing on unimportant numbers, such as completion rates, the best way to make an L&D program successful is to set clear goals or KPIs that are directly tied to the business. Weaving business goals into any L&D program is a key success factor.

In addition to employee improvement affecting the bottom line, employee satisfaction and value are two other key success indicators. If employees aren’t finding value, either because they don’t have support from their managers or because the programs themselves aren’t helpful or easily accessible, that’s a major indicator that your L&D program isn’t working properly.

What are the steps for creating an effective L&D program?

After getting buy-in from the program stakeholders, creating an effective L&D program begins with setting the end goal and expectations. Assessing where you and your employees are and where you want to be will help align your program with your business goals. Once the program participants have been chosen and onboarded for their particular program, they should be paired with whatever expert – coach, mentor, or trainer – best fits the unique needs of the participant.

For large programs, partnering with an L&D platform provider like GrowthSpace can take the burden of individually matching employees to the expert they need, while also offering the tools and resources to track employee progress and analyze post-program results.

How long does an L&D program last?

The length of an L&D program depends on the type of program and if the program goals have been met. Some programs, like workshops or group sessions, can last a few hours, while other programs, such as GrowthSpace sprints can take anywhere from 4 to 10 weeks, about an hour per session. There are also long-term L&D programs that teach different skills continuously.

What is the difference between employee development programs and leadership development programs?

Unlike leadership development, which focuses exclusively on transforming individual contributors into managers or improving managers’ skills to become more effective, employee development programs focus on a variety of skills and training opportunities.

What is the difference between L&D programs vs training & development programs?

The major difference between L&D programs and training and development programs is the objective. Training programs are focused on getting an employee or group of employees ready for a specific thing – for example, a new style of management, or learning how to use a new piece of equipment. L&D programs include employee development ideas that involve training but are often geared towards professional development, such as filling skill gaps, coaching, and the like.

Interested in a demo? Click here to schedule some time with one of our growth experts and see the platform in action!