All too soon another year comes to a close. For many of us, December and January offer time for reflection. It’s time to review the past year and think ahead to the new one. Have you reviewed your accomplishments of 2016 or begun to create your resolutions for 2017? As the year ends, I hope you’ll find some quiet time for reflection and thought about where you’ve been and where you’re going.
How Far We’ve Come
In February, we posted on what was ahead for learning in 2016.
At that time, most of us anticipated learning budgets would increase. That probably came true for many of you. Budgets increased in 2014 and 2015. The trend appeared to be on track for this year as well. What will happen to budgets for 2017? There may be some economic uncertainty, but as long as employment rates hold steady and labor markets remain tight, learning development will be a necessity.
That post also noted that L&D had fallen behind major business segments in measurement. Unlike other groups, L&D hasn’t kept pace with data collection and reporting. Our function often fails to measure the impact of learning. That failure leaves us grasping for straws on how to prove our effectiveness to stakeholders. For me, improving that outcome for L&D was a primary focus for 2016. I feel encouraged by the companies I’ve worked with and trained. I know many L&D professionals are starting to see the light about how important measuring outcomes is for our profession.
A third observation from that post noted that business and learning would align better than ever. Learning would link closely to overall business goals. That’s a transition in thinking. In the past, business leaders saw learning as a nice-to-have. It was ancillary to the real calling of the business. That is changing. Businesses are starting to see the essential role learning plays in achieving big goals. They want L&D to be a partner in their success. The learning professionals that recognize the need and rise to the occasion will be successful. Again, I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen from my clients and partners all year. As they have learned the keys to addressing job outcomes, choosing metrics and determining ROI, they have empowered themselves. Their business partners appreciate the insight.
So What Are Your Resolutions for 2017?
I believe training budgets will hold steady in 2017. However, I see growth in budgets from the L&D groups that have learned how to measure the quality of their training programs. I believe companies will continue to insist on proof that learning programs are effective. In 2017, it will be the smart learning professionals that deliver that proof.
Finally, businesses will continue to insist on alignment between business objectives and learning outcomes. Your stakeholders want you to succeed because it ensures their success. This move to partnership will certainly continue.
As you imagine what’s ahead for learning in 2017, what are you greatest hopes? Will your budget grow, hold steady, or shrink? Do you feel pressure to show learning ROI? If you need help tackling your resolutions for 2017, I hope you’ll contact us here at eParamus. We’d love to help.
Photo copyright: naphotos / 123RF Stock Photo
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