It takes a lot to really surprise me. The latest statistics from the Employer Skills Survey did though. One revelation was particularly shocking; 13 million staff in the UK received no training whatsoever in 2011. That equates to almost half of the working population. Worrying, don’t you think?

In research of private sector employers, we found that learning and development was a top priority for HR in 2012. Clearly this is at odds with the aforementioned research from 2011 but hopefully this will change this year.

My fear though is that companies focus the lion’s share of training budget on leaders and ‘high potential’ workers. At first glance this may appear to make commercial sense – you invest in those most likely to produce a significant return. It is however missing the bigger picture.

If companies invest equally in developing ALL workers, they may actually benefit more. That’s because the incremental value of getting low performers up to average performers or average performers up to high performers could quite feasibly produce better ROI.

Allied to this, investing in developing people will have a positive impact on things like engagement, motivation and retention. This approach will undoubtedly give companies a much needed competitive advantage.

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