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L&D departments tasked with solving productivity issues throughout UK

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According to new research, learning and development departments could be absolutely vital to solving the UK’s productivity problem. This research has been conducted by Knowledgepool, Capita’s learning solutions business.

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In the study, it was revealed that 85% of business line managers believe that learning and development (L&D) should be taking ownership for workforce productivity. In addition to that 79% of L&D professionals agree that they are the rightful “owners” of productivity.

113 L&D decision-makers and 102 line managers at businesses with at least 100 staff and a dedicated L&D function were consulted for the white paper, entitled L&D: Agents of Productivity.

ONS (Office for National Statistics) figures showed that UK productivity growth is still lower than it was before the financial crisis in 2008. 82% of business managers say that improving productivity is currently proving to be a challenge for their organisations and 96% regard this as an organisational priority over the next 12 months.

The study finds that ownership of productivity as a strategic business priority is currently spread across different business functions, with little consistency across organisations. Most often responsibility resides with the CEO or senior leadership team, but elsewhere productivity is owned by the HR Director, the Finance Director or the IT Director.

However, a large majority of both business managers (85%) and L&D professionals themselves (84%) see a clear link between skills and productivity and therefore believe that L&D should take responsibility for addressing the challenge.

This current research indicates that this change is already underway. 59% of L&D professionals report that they are already tasked with improving productivity, whilst a further 28% are increasingly being asked to do so. Another 9% expect to be given some responsibility for driving workforce output in the next 12 months.

“With extensive internal and external networks, a solid understanding of people (engagement, motivation, learning) and a hunger for driving change, it makes sense for L&D to take responsibility for driving workforce productivity,” commented Dan Ferrandino, Managing Director at Knowledgepool.

“It’s a huge step change from traditional L&D roles but a career-defining opportunity for practitioners to tackle one of the biggest strategic imperatives in business today. The research shows that Chief Productivity Officers could well emerge over the next five years – that’s a pretty exciting future for anyone building a career in L&D today.”

To read the research  L&D: Agents of Productivity’ white paper in full, download here.

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