To gain findings for the Emergenetics Industry Insights Survey, we surveyed more than 150 professionals from all levels and industries, to gain access to the brightest minds in training and development and talent management.

Every organization faces both unique and not-so-unique challenges on a daily basis. Overcoming many of these challenges—especially in areas like Management, HR, and Learning and Development—relies on understanding.

Rating the Challenge: How difficult is it to communicate the benefits of training and development to executives? How difficult is it to illustrate the impact that training and development have on the bottom line?


These questions must be at the top of the list for any HR or training department; creating value and communicating that value is necessary. In our last Survey Insights question, we touched on the challenges HR faces in connecting executive leadership initiatives with employee development and the organizational culture. The numbers painted quite a depressing picture: a significant number of respondents found their leadership teams to be indifferent to the benefit of training and development to better their culture and generate more productivity towards the bottom line. In this post, we are expanding on this issue and delving even deeper.

The results are in, and our survey has shown a clear challenge in gaining leadership support for employee training and development. We previously explored the “What?” of the problem, which is that executive leadership is not seeing the value proposition in investing time and money into employee training and development.

Now we must look at the “Why?”—the factors that explain this trend?

Why is it that so many leaders simply fail to act on such a powerful source of competitive advantage? Is it a failure to see the bigger picture? Is it the inability to get their minds off balance sheets and financial statements causing the problem?

The answer, in some cases, is not that there is a failure from the executive standpoint to take advantage of training and development, but rather, at least to an extent, that there is a failure among HR departments to properly convey the importance and value proposition that training and development can use to empower and engage a workforce and impact the bottom line outcome.

Another trend is emerging from this survey, too, which is a sense of neutrality (or indifference) in gaining executive buy-in and the proper value proposition for training and development. Over a third of respondents (35%) found it neither difficult nor easy to express the value of HR to executive leadership.

There were, however, 21% of respondents who stated that they effectively conveyed HR value to executives. This translated to more educated leadership decisions and most likely greater investments in their workforce. 32% of respondents stated that they had few challenges linking training and development to the bottom line, as well. The ability to articulate clear, understandable value for training means a justification for increased spending, resulting in greater and stronger development impact.

Unfortunately, these numbers are still low; HR departments who communicate value effectively are in the minority. The question is raised, then, on how to reverse this trend.

It starts with a strong understanding of an organization’s workforce—HR must truly know their capabilities, know how they work, know how they think, and know how they relate to one another. This level of understanding can then act as a guideline for allocating investment into the workforce in the most efficient way possible. In doing so, not only will the firm be able to utilize its workforce more effectively, but employees will be able to feel more respected, as well, and HR will be able to clearly show the value proposition they can create for the company.

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