Leadership development for senior managers has for the first time this year become the top priority for learning and development activity as employers attempt to "sort the wheat from the chaff".
According to the Corporate Learning Priorities Survey 2012 carried out by Henley Business School
’s corporate development team, some 47% of respondents made it their first or second priority compared with only 35% last year.
As one participant in the study explained, the goal was to “be more rigorous in who are truly managers and who the leaders are, or could be. Sort the wheat from the chaff”.
This objective fed into the overall key aim among a huge 71% of those questioned, which was to use learning and development activity as a tool to boost business growth, up from 64% in 2011. A further 70% saw it as key to maintaining staff engagement, while 63% considered it a means of helping to manage change.
As a result, some 84% of those questioned said that their training provision during 2012 would remain at about the same levels as last year and would not be cut.
But a pragmatic, ‘back to basics’ skills focus was more prevalent than in the past, with a focus on goals such as “purely tactical skills development”, “to improve sales capability” and “to equip talent with cross functionality skills to make them more versatile”.
Organisations were likewise keen to exploit existing knowledge, with 55% saying that they planned to encourage informal knowledge-sharing between peers and 59% indicating that they would boost the number of peer mentoring schemes that they ran.
For the first time, pragmatism also overtook reputation as the key driver when selecting a training provider. The top three requirements are now the delivery of courses by experienced practitioners (81%), a provider’s reputation (64%) and the use of up-to-date case studies (62%).