Around two-fifths of UK companies said that their line managers are not very effective in supporting learning and development, despite three-quarters acknowledging that their line managers have taken on greater responsibility for learning and development activities over the past two years.
A recent Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) survey found that lack of training for line managers, competing business pressures and a need to align learning and development objectives with the wider organisational strategy, are all reasons cited for the gap between theory and practice.
“As the UK’s economy becomes increasingly service-led organisations cannot afford to be complacent about addressing their employees’ learning and development needs. Learning and development activities are vital to ensure that the workforce is kept up-to-date with fast changing skills demands,” said Victoria Winkler, CIPD learning and development adviser.
“Line mangers are critical to facilitating learning and development activities, however, many do not take learning and development seriously. To ensure that learning and development is effective, organisations need buy-in from all employees regardless of level.”
The survey found that more than 90 per cent of companies believed line managers were important in supporting learning and development in their organisations, but only 12 per cent felt that line managers took learning and development very seriously.
Furthermore, half of UK organisations only trained a minority of line managers to support learning and development.
“In addition, learning and development professionals need to make sure key decision makers within the organisation understand the importance of learning and development and the contribution it can make to business. Only when it is successfully integrated into the wider organisational strategy can it add real value,” Winkler said.
More than half of the companies surveyed believed that learning and development professionals in their organisations did not have enough involvement in the development of organisational strategy.
The survey also found that 36 per cent of UK organisations involved the learning and development team at the initial planning stage, while only 30 per cent involved the learning and development team after all major decisions.