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2018 Workplace Learning Report from LinkedIn – Quick Analysis

The rise and Responsibility of talent Development In the new talent labour market.

Thursday impossibly early in the morning – time for coffee and a quick review of statistics and the latest reports published on 2018 Workplace Learning Report prepared by LinkedIn Learning.

The report is available for the second year in a row and presents data on a modern approach to training in workplace environments. This year data was collected from Roughly 4.000 employees, managers, and Talent & Development department representatives.

Five main trends were identified:

  • soft skills training as a priority in L & D (learning & development) – the most important skills being leadership, communication, cooperation;
  • Due to a slow but steady paradigm change regarding future qualification needs of humans in a working environment managers need to strike the balance of selecting the right activities covering the present and the future. However, currently T & D departments (talent & development) are still more focussed on the here and now, and tend to focus on ongoing competency gap analysis and subsequent provisions of training;
  • an increase of importance and popularity of online training – already 90% of companies offer their employees e-learning in one format or other;
  • the motivation of employees to find time for their own development – this is the main challenge for T & D departments this year,
  • manager’s role in employee development – more than half of employees declared that they would spend more time on development activities if they were encouraged by their manager.

A closer look at the numbers:

Personally, the results were not surprising. For a couple of years, working with training companies and creating, I could already observe an overall trend, now confirmed objectively. Here is the breakdown of the data:

  • 85% of companies offer internal stationary training (plus 7% YoY),
  • 71% created in-house online training (plus 13% YoY),
  • 67% ordered online training From an external service provider (plus 18% YoY),
  • 59% participation in conferences (plus 10% YoY),
  • 59% training with external trainers (plus 21% YoY).

At the same time on the list, you can observe a drop in coaching, certification and reimbursement programs for the use of external educational centres.

In every form of training you can see a big increase, which likely results from two factors:

  • 35% of T&D departments expect the budget to increase in their operations (with a clear preference of smaller companies for e-learning solutions, while bigger companies invest in both, e-learning and classroom-based training, at approximately the same rate),
  • 90% of managers say that talents are priority #1 in their company.

This sounds great for someone like me who is making a living from creating e-learning solutions, but numbers are one, but real life is something else.

While managers and T&D departments continue to invest financially in their most valuable assets – their employees, it somehow appears that the invested budget does not increase team efficiency according to 65% of the respondents). But while T&D employees agree with those numbers, (and what is really striking), they actually measure something completely different:

  • qualitative employee surveys – used by 55% of organisations,

  • the inevitable satisfaction surveys came in as a close second – 43%,

  • my personal favourite came in third place – the number of completed online training – 33%.

An interesting formula emerges from this:

Training program = number of trainings + warm room + the right amount of click hours in front of the computer.

In other words, what is mostly measured is quantity over quality to determine whether a training program is actually effective.

Data collected from employees looks very interesting as well

Two numbers are worth remembering because they have enormous potential to change their involvement in development activities:

  • 94% of employees declared to be willing to spend more time at the company and dedicate it to training if it would affect the development of their own careers,
  • 56% of employees would spend more time learning if a manager would show them courses that would increase their skills and explain why that skill is an of a particular use (the “why” question).

Let’s put it in other words. Employees, despite current lack of time, have a need to develop, however, the company must provide them with programs that help them build a career and managers who can guide them in the right direction providing context and purpose.


T&D sees changes in enterprise environments and in many cases knows what actions should be taken to prepare employees for these changes. Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, in many cases, they don’t. Instead, the logistics of training remain in focus. In addition, T&D departments continue to complain that they are not involved to a sufficient degree regarding defining training strategies, rather than showing ownership and exploring the effectiveness of their programs adjusting them to ultimately achieve the targeted business goals.

Bottom line: It is very important to involve management in the whole process of shaping an effective trainings program, because not only do they have the best understanding of the development needs of their employees (or at least they should have :), but also can motivate them to acquire new skills and knowledge, and last but not least provide the required resources – aka time and budget.

That’s all my part. I hope that I was able to make you curious to deep dive and read the 2018 Workplace Learning Report.

Click LINK to 2018 Workplace Learning Report

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