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New research shows 29% of learning leaders are overwhelmed and under skilled

Learning NewsTowards Maturity

Towards Maturity’s latest report, based on its annual L&D Health Check research and launched at last week’s Learning Technologies 2019, reveals that in a time of constant change, L&D must use an evidence-based approach to work through the barriers to successful transformation.


The Transformation Journey marks the 15th anniversary of Towards Maturity’s industry research, using data to understand where the L&D profession is today, key progress since 2004 and what steps it needs to take for the future.

“The focus this year is the fact that our community is faced with uncertainty”, says Laura Overton, CEO and founder of Towards Maturity. “Our focus is about helping people look at their data and their journey. L&D leaders must focus what they can do today that will help them prepare for tomorrow. We have designed the report to help people establish what works and what will give them a role for the future so that they can see clarity through the confusion.”

Through its research and analysis of 7,500 L&D leaders, and 50,000 workers and leaders in 30 sectors and 55 countries, Towards Maturity has been able to home in on both the success stories and the barriers to change. It found there are three big barriers to a successful learning strategy: digital disruption, cultural resistance and L&D capability.

Sarah Lindsell, Global Chief Learning Strategist at PwC and a Towards Maturity ambassador, said the report shows that two things are particularly holding L&D back: a lack of real learning culture in organisations and resistance from managers. Almost a third (29%) of L&D professionals say managers are reluctant to make time for learning.

“These are two things people are struggling with”, says Lindsell. “It’s really hard when people say managers don’t create time for learning. The business must provide time for people to gain and practice skills in a safe environment. It’s also about L&D being willing and able to challenge the business and say, ‘If you want to shift the culture and get people reskilled, you have to create the environment for them to do so.’”

The report outlines that L&D should create a learning culture internally and externally, to overcome barriers and to bring all stakeholders with them on the journey of transformation. To operate in today’s digital world, L&D has to ensure is has the right in-house skills to create the much-needed shift in digital maturity. The Towards Maturity Health Check, conducted among 700 L&D global leaders, identified the learning technology trends for 2019. Organisations need to stay abreast of those trends and invest wisely.

The report shows that smart learning decisions make a real difference to business outcomes. For example, learning innovation is consistently delivering a minimum 9% improvement in outcomes leading to business growth, productivity, transformation and profit. According to these latest figures from participants, new tools, technologies and methods have led to:

  • Improved growth: measures of external customer satisfaction improved by 21%
  • Productivity: learning interventions increased productivity by 14%
  • Transformation: ability to change products and processes improved 28%
  • Profit: revenue increased by 11%, while costs decreased by 36%.

Towards Maturity’s 2018 report, The Transformation Curve, signaled a major shift in focus. In order to help L&D leaders achieve the transformation it needs to accelerate progress. Towards Maturity knew it had to find out what was holding L&D back, which is why The Transformation Journey builds on this new focus and digs deeper into why the S-curve is important and why L&D has to keep driving to the right of the curve.

Towards Maturity has worked with a community of ambassadors, relevant membership bodies, industry experts, corporate organisations and not-for-profits to shape and participate in this groundbreaking programme of industry research.

The Transformation Journey is available to download at: