IMG_1502Which came first the chicken or the egg? In case you missed it, a few years back scientists claimed to have solved that age-old riddle; it was the chicken. This is because shells of eggs are formed from a protein that is only found in a chicken’s ovaries. So eggs can only be made inside a chicken.

Another riddle then. Should your training be efficient or effective? Or both, maybe? Reading the latest (2015) edition of the CIPD L&D Survey, I tried to summarise the findings as to whether the results were about either the efficiency or the effectiveness of L&D.

This quote from the report appears most telling (Assessing the impact of L&D): –

“Most organisations assess the impact of their L&D initiatives, although evaluations are often limited to participant satisfaction and many encounter barriers to evaluations. Where L&D is aligned with business strategy, evaluations tend to be more in depth and the data collected more widely used. Three in ten organisations quantify the impact of L&D on productivity.”

Bearing this in mind, a definition could easily become a problem. So here, the perspective should always be that of the business. To make training more efficient it should consume fewer resources. If training is more effective it will have a tangible impact on the business.


Training that is inefficient and ineffective

These L&D departments are always undervalued and under threat. No needs analysis is done and L&D is not connected to business need or performance. Often such departments are under-resourced. In recession or adverse conditions these departments are cut first.

Training that is inefficient but effective

These L&D departments tend to be under resourced but in a constant state of flux. They do, however, understand what L&D delivers to the business. What they may lack are strong advocates and the ability to develop a business case for their resources.

Training that is efficient but ineffective

L&D departments like these offer a breadth of training that is well chosen and well designed but does not connect with the business. Sounds familiar? Many large companies inhabit this area. Why would large companies spend large amounts on training and neglect to check whether it is providing real value?

Training that is efficient and effective 

Such L&D departments struggle least for budget because there is a clear link between what L&D delivers and the business objectives. Stakeholders support the learning interventions and help to prioritise according to the business need. Demonstrating value is easy because it is not the sole responsibility of L&D and stakeholders play their part.

So looking at the matrix:

  • Where does your L&D team lie?
  • Do you need to move?
  • How are you going to move?

If you need to move and would like help then running a Learning Loop workshop may be what you need. It combines a solid business process with creativity and inspiration to produce learning that is engaging as well as effective.

Disclaimer: this is not a critique of the CIPD report; you should read it for yourself.

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