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Business Impact: 16 Ways Training Can Transform Your Organisation

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In today’s fast-paced business world, your success hinges on the development of your company’s most valuable asset: your people. If you want real business impact then this is where you should start.

Industries evolve, technology advances and market landscapes shift. Change is the only constant. As such, the need for a skilled, adaptable and motivated workforce becomes paramount.

You can achieve this through corporate training and learning and development (L&D) programmes. This is your organisation’s strategic engine. It will help you to cultivate a workforce that is capable of delivering transformative business impact.

As a learning professional, it’s important you understand the potential outcomes of your work and the extent of your influence. Perhaps you’ve been able to move the dial in ways you haven’t even thought of until now?

By getting to grips with business impact, you’ll be in a better position to highlight your successes. As a result, you’ll start having better conversations with your stakeholders, claim more budget and eventually achieve hero status within your organisation. 

Braced for impact? Then let’s jump in.

What is Business Impact?

Business impact refers to the tangible and measurable outcomes that result from specific initiatives implemented within an organisation. In our case, we’re focusing on the impact that results from learning and development programmes

In other words, business impact goes beyond the activity itself and focuses on the actual effect that these efforts have on the overall performance of your organisation. As we’ll see, business impact can manifest in a variety of different forms.

We all want to know that what we do matters. That’s why understanding and measuring the business impact of your training is crucial. After all, this ensures that your time, budget and resources are all being allocated effectively. 

How Do You Measure Business Impact?

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Measuring business impact and tracking return on investment is a notoriously tricky topic of conversation for learning professionals. 

According to a CIPD report, 81% of L&D teams experience barriers when evaluating their training programmes. In many cases, it’s just not a priority. After delivering one initiative, the spotlight swiftly moves to the next, often bypassing a crucial pause for evaluation. 

Indeed, the ATD claims that only 38% of organisations evaluate the ‘results’ of their training programmes. This is supported by a Mind Tools’ report which suggests that just 8% of L&D professionals calculate the ROI of their learning programmes. Yikes.

What’s more, even if you have data, it can be difficult to parse. After all, as a learning practitioner, you may not also be an expert data analyser.

The truth is, collecting this data requires a structured approach that you’ll need to implement from the outset of your training initiative. To find out more, please check out our comprehensive article on training evaluation.

16 Types of Business Impact

In this article, we’re focusing on the different types of business impact you can expect to witness as a result of your training programmes. As you’ll see, impact comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. 

Whilst we’re all ultimately hoping to see revenue or bottom-line growth, there are different routes to this goal. As such, we hope the list below helps you to prioritise the learning outcomes that matter most to you and your organisation. 

1. Improved Employee Performance

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The goal of any good training initiative is to change behaviour and improve performance. By building employee knowledge and skills, you’re simultaneously making your workforce more efficient and effective. 

As a result, you’ll transform your workplace into a hub of excellence. In fact, did you know that online learning can improve employee performance by 15-25%? This often leads to a variety of other benefits, many of which are listed below. 

2. Increased Employee Productivity

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Training turns your team into titans of productivity. It helps to streamline processes and optimise workflows, all whilst making your employees more efficient. 

Additionally, your training can and should promote good time management and collaboration. This will help you to build cohesive and effective teams within your organisation. 

Indeed, according to an IBM study, every dollar invested in online training results in a $30 productivity boost. Now that’s a return on investment that we can get behind!

3. Better Sales Numbers

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Corporate training enhances sales performance by equipping your sales team with the knowledge, skills and strategies required to excel in a competitive marketplace.

Just imagine the kind of impact that new selling techniques, improved product knowledge and effective communication skills would have on your business. You’d smash your sales targets in no time.

According to HubSpot’s 2024 trends report, 54% of sales professionals agree that selling is getting harder. As such, effective training is now a crucial countermeasure. 

4. Improved Recruitment and Retention

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There’s a clear link between effective training and employee retention. In fact, according to Lorman, retention rates rise 30-50% for companies that have strong learning cultures

This matters, as it’s estimated that replacing an employee costs between 12-18 months’ of their salary. Ouch. You should be striving to prevent this at all costs. 

Providing the right learning opportunities can also be a differentiator for you within the job market. This can help you to stand out from your competition and attract the very best talent.

5. Enhanced Employee Engagement

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According to Kimberley Tyler-Smith, the VP of Strategy and Growth at Resume Worded, ‘the most effective way to increase employee engagement is by improving the learning environment within your company’.

Employee engagement has also been shown to have an impact on other key business metrics, including productivity, innovation, retention and efficiency. In fact, companies with a high-level of employee engagement are more profitable by a factor of 21%.

6. Elevated Employee Wellbeing

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Workplace wellbeing is now a pressing concern, with 67% of employees experiencing moderate to high levels of stress. In fact, 1 in every 6.8 people experience mental health issues in the workplace. 

This inevitably has an impact on engagement, productivity and performance. Thankfully, you can make a difference. According to an Open University study, 96% of respondents see a clear link between L&D activity and employee wellbeing. 

Your training programmes demonstrate to your employees that they are valued and appreciated. Moreover, content interventions focused on mental health awareness help to proactively address the stressors that impact their professional lives.

7. Promoting Collaboration

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Employees and teams that work together are more successful. Yes, teamwork really does make the dream work. In fact, according to data from Frost & Sullivan, collaboration efforts can increase company sales by 27%

L&D programmes serve as a catalyst for fostering employee collaboration. They do this by instilling a shared understanding of goals, improving communication skills and promoting a collaborative mindset. You could even speed things along by adopting a social learning approach

8. Facilitating Change

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As we’ve seen in recent years, change comes at us fast. The business landscape refuses to sit still. Indeed, the ability to successfully lead your employees through a transition or transformation might be key to your organisation’s success. 

Unfortunately, 70% of change initiatives fail. Thankfully, this can be rectified with the right training. This ensures that your managers are equipped to drive change and that your employees are prepared for the path ahead. 

9. Real Resilience

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Resilient businesses are able to anticipate disruptions. They are then able to adapt and evolve quickly. According to an SAS poll, 97% of executives agree that resilience is important. Unfortunately, only 47% of employees agree that their organisation is resilient.

This is a gap that your learning and development programmes can help to bridge. Training programmes on crisis management, risk assessment and scenario planning provide your teams with the skills they need to respond effectively to unexpected events. 

10. Relentless Innovation

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Innovation is the difference between sitting still and moving forward with purpose and intention. As you’d imagine, innovative companies are more successful. In fact, companies that prioritise innovation grow 16% faster than those that do not. 

That’s why 84% of executives agree that innovation is important to their growth strategy. 

Encourage your employees to start thinking outside the box and experimenting with new ideas. Your training should be the spark that helps to ignite innovation across your organisation. 

11. Happier Customers

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Did you know that an NPS promoter has a customer lifetime value that’s 600%-1400% higher than a detractor? After all, happy customers become enthusiastic brand ambassadors that are more likely to make repeat purchases. 

Furthermore, Avanade claims that there’s a $3 return for every $1 a company spends on a better customer experience.

In other words, by prioritising learning and development and customer service training, you can create business advocates and a healthier bottom line. 

12. Reduced Risk

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Compliance training may have a bad reputation, but there’s no getting around it. According to Drata, 87% of organisations report negative outcomes as a result of low compliance maturity. After all, failing to follow the law or regulations generates a high degree of risk.

As a result, you may face security breaches, loss of productivity, reputational damage or worse. On the flip side, effective compliance training helps to reduce risk, prevent fines and safeguard your organisation. 

13. Goal Alignment

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Enhancing performance is crucial, but it’s equally vital that these improvements make a tangible difference to your organisation. After all, there’s no point becoming a filing whizz if your company is moving to a digital system. 

Alarmingly, 90% of businesses fail to reach strategic goals. This is often due to poor implementation, communication and other alignment issues. 

Training helps you to overcome this headache by spotlighting your goals and rallying your employees. It then equips them with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful.

14. Building Competitive Advantage

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Your development programmes grant you a competitive advantage. By upskilling your workforce, you’ll stay on top of industry trends, technological advancements and best practices. As a result, you’ll have a dynamic edge that helps you to scale your organisation. 

After all, if your employees are more engaged, productive and innovative as a result of your training, they’ll also be more successful. This will empower you to overcome any market challenges and seize all available opportunities.

15. Better Decision Making

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Workplace decision making can be a painstaking and time-consuming process. In fact, McKinsey claims that 30% of our working hours are spent deliberating over decisions. Worse still, only 20% of survey respondents claim their organisations excel at decision making. 

Training equips your employees with the skills they need to assess complex situations, analyse data and derive meaningful insights. As a result, they’ll be able to confidently arrive at more effective (and timely) decisions. 

16. Bulging Bottom Lines

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We’ve saved the best and perhaps the most obvious benefit for last. As a result of the various types of impact we’ve listed above, you should also expect to improve your profit margin.

After all, if you’re more resilient, productive, innovative and so on, you should operate more effectively and generate better value. Over time, this will naturally have a positive financial impact on your organisation. 

For instance, an Accenture study showed that every dollar spent on training generated a $4.53 return. Just imagine the impact that would have on your bottom line.

Final Word

As you can see, the work learning professionals do matters. Indeed, effective learning programmes unlock a variety of benefits that help to stimulate business impact. 

What’s more, many of these benefits have a multiplier effect. For instance, improved employee engagement can lead to better performance and better performance can lead to increased innovation. 

Whilst we tend to think of the financial benefits of our training initiatives, it’s important to note that impact comes in a variety of forms. Effective change management, happier customers and reduced risk are all valuable outcomes that are worthy of pursuing. 

You should also meticulously track and record this impact. This will ensure that you’re ready to showcase your value to your stakeholders when the occasion arises. After all, isn’t it time you got the credit you deserve?

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Thank you for reading. A role in the learning & development industry is a rewarding one. But that doesn’t make it easy. Download ‘The L&D Professional’s Handbook’ now to access 165 tips designed to help you thrive in your job!

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