When it comes to executing development strategy, no CLO is an island. Learning executives surround themselves with talented professionals to accomplish their goals. This month, members of the CLO Business Intelligence Board share their thoughts about staffing trends.

What is the condition of learning and development staffing? How has staffing for learning functions changed in the last couple of years? Research from Chief Learning Officer magazine’s Business Intelligence Board shows a contrast between staffing in corporate learning in 2006 and 2007.

Reduction in the Number of Learning Professionals
The average number of training professionals in a company decreased to 85 this year from 118 the year before. While 85 full-time learning professionals per company may sound relatively high, approximately half the companies have 10 or fewer full-time learning professionals.

Learning Departments Understaffed
Therefore, it is not surprising that more companies feel that they do not have enough staff to support their learning initiatives. As such, approximately 40 percent of companies plan to increase staffing in next 12 to 18 months. Of the companies that are looking to hire, instructors and instructional designers will be most in demand, followed by content developers and learning technology specialists. However, companies realize that with economy teetering on recession, training budgets will be tight.

Learning Professionals Face Talent Shortage
Even when companies have the funding to hire, more than half run into a shortage of talent to fill vacant positions in learning and development. Nearly one-third of companies believe it is more difficult to fill a vacant position now than it was a year ago. Unfortunately, there is no relief in sight in the near term.

Decrease in the Number of Customers Trained
Thus with limited resources, companies are forced to prioritize and are unable to train as many customers and partners as they would like or had in previous years.

Past research by market intelligence provider IDC shows that providing training to the extended enterprise can improve sales, build brand awareness, improve client satisfaction and foster customer loyalty. While it might be a short-term fix, reducing the number of learning professionals may have a negative impact on the company in the long term.

Lack of Training Resources Impact Learning Initiatives
In addition to a decrease in the number of customers trained, there are other implications to working with limited training resources. Two of particular importance are leadership training and employee development with the war for talent renewed as baby boomers retire during the next decade. Organizations will not be able to execute these strategies effectively if training resources are strained. The quality and availability of such programs would be affected by a lack of resources.
Acquiring training resources is expected to be an ongoing challenge for corporations. Finding competent learning and development professionals to fill the need is quickly becoming a problem.

Thus, it is more important than ever that the value of training is tangible and appreciated, not only to justify training budget increases but also to attract more individuals to join the learning department and stay within the profession.


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