Commitment to Growth: Companies Continue to Spend on Employee Training

Employers are making a healthy investment in talent development, and workers are spending more time in training, according to new research from the Association for Talent Development.

A new study shows that organizations in a wide variety of industries are making investing in employee training a priority.

The Association for Talent Development analyzed training and development expenditure data submitted by 340 organizations of all shapes and sizes for its 2014 State of the Industry Report. The group found that, on average, organizations spent $1,208 per employee in 2013—a 1 percent increase over the previous year. Further, the number of hours that employees spent on training and development increased to 31.5 hours from 30.3.

The spending per employee was heavily influenced by the size of the organization and its industry, according to ATD. Small organizations with fewer than 500 employees spent around $1,888 per employee, while larger organizations spent $838. Despite spending less per employee, larger organizations allowed workers to spend an extra day at training (36 hours, or 4.5 days) compared with smaller organizations (27 hours, or 3.5 days).

“Every organization has unique needs and challenges that their organizational learning function will need to address,” Laurie Miller, director of research services at ATD, wrote on the group’s website. “How they do so and what they offer will affect how they align with the benchmarking statistics presented. Just as organization size and industry affect the direct learning expenditure per employee, the types of training offered and methods of delivering training also have an impact.”

Other key findings:

  • By industry, healthcare and pharmaceutical organizations spent the most on per-employee training ($1,392), followed by finance, insurance, and real estate ($1,107), consolidated ($1,028), and manufacturing ($535).
  • Organizations spent 63 percent of their direct learning budgets on internal services—including the learning department’s staff salaries, travel expenses, and administrative costs. External expenses, which account for 27 percent, include consultant services and workshop programs. The remaining 10 percent was used for tuition reimbursement programs.
  • Training hours were used in a variety of formats: 59 percent involved an instructor, 25 percent were completed through online courses, and 16 percent were used on self-paced learning programs.

The Coaching Approach

In a separate study, ATD surveyed 575 learning leaders to get their take on the use of coaching as a managerial tool. While almost half of the respondents identified coaching as a powerful tool, only 27 percent said they heavily incorporate it into their talent development plan.

Of the organizations that do use coaching, 43 percent said they use peer coaching, 46 percent said they use coaching as a discipline to build performance competency for managers, and 57 percent said they use in-the-moment coaching.


Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

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