Today, effective corporate learning and development (L&D) plays an all important role in engaging existing employees, and attracting and retaining top talent. Future-looking organizations are realizing the value of developing sustainable learning strategies to boost engagement, productivity and enhance capabilities.

However, according to Towards Maturity’s The Transformation Journey report, the constantly evolving corporate landscape calls for L&D to leverage a more prolific and evidence-based methodology to achieve an effective learning strategy. Yet, research suggests that nearly 29% of learning leaders are more overwhelmed and under skilled to deliver desired outcomes.  

Laura Overton, Founder of Towards Maturity says, “The focus this year is the fact that our community is faced with uncertainty. Our focus is about helping people look at their data and their journey. L&D leaders must focus what they can do today that will help them prepare for tomorrow.”

Towards Maturity researched and analyzed 7500 L&D leaders along with 50,000 employees and leaders across 55 countries, to discover three major barriers to an effective learning strategy. Let us explore these key barriers and how L&D can address them.

1.Digital Disruption

Our world is becoming increasingly digital, and in this digital age businesses as well as consumers are more informed, aware and better connected, becoming a crucial part of the value chain. Digital technology has transformed the world that is now more mobile, social, and data-driven. Today, digital technology can deliver more value in terms of creating enhanced customer experiences, making workplaces more agile and unlocking newer avenues of growth and success. Employees and people as a whole are indispensible for this transformation, and empowering today’s employees is up to L&D that needs to be agile, aware of latest digital trends, employees’ changing mindsets and intuitive towards the next disruptors to their business.

2.Cultural Resistance

Although there is a lot of talk about how fostering a learning culture goes a long way in the development and retention of employees, creating an effective, sustainable and organization-wide learning culture is one of the major barriers towards an effective learning strategy.  The two things holding L&D back are a lack of effective learning culture and the resistance from leaders towards continuous learning, with almost 29% of L&D professionals saying managers are averse to learning.

Sarah Lindsell, Global Chief Learning Strategist at PwC says, “It’s really hard when people say managers don’t create time for learning. The business must provide time for people to gain and practice skills in a safe environment. It’s also about L&D being willing and able to challenge the business and say, ‘If you want to shift the culture and get people reskilled, you have to create the environment for them to do so.’”

3.L&D Capability

Though businesses are making larger investments to develop their L&D capabilities, over 50% of them say they don’t expect to shift their focus to ELearning, learning technology, content development, analytics etc. So, while more L&D leaders seek to maximize performance and productivity, only 53% of them believe they are enabled by diverse options that go beyond course-based learning. Highlighting this point is Ruth Stuart, research adviser at CIPD, “It’s very interesting how, as L&D professionals, we constantly champion the importance of staying ahead of the game in terms of skills and capabilities, but don’t take our own advice. In this volatile work environment we need to be agile, adaptive and ambidextrous to drive performance and stay relevant, aligning our work to the wider business.”

However, in order to accomplish this, L&D needs to assemble the right capabilities, roles and resources along with a clear vision and purpose to ensure all resources are leveraged effectively.

Towards Maturity’s The Transformation Journey report suggests that, to overcome these barriers and to take all those involved on the transformation journey, L&D leaders need to build an effective learning culture, both internally as well as externally. For L&D to navigate the digital world, it must ensure the availability of rightly skilled people to bring about the much-needed push towards digital maturity. Furthermore, L&D leaders must also stay abreast with the latest technology trends and invest wisely.

Learning decisions taken smartly can open up newer ways to achieve better business outcomes. Innovation in corporate learning can consistently deliver a minimum of 9% improvement in results that lead to growth, productivity and profit. Newer learning tools and solutions have already led to improved growth (customer satisfaction grew by 21%), productivity (increase in productivity by 14%) and transformation (ability to be agile improved 28%), and profit (increase in revenue by 11%).


L&D needs to efficiently manage learning, and ensure that it’s implemented and measured effectively in order to build an effective learning strategy. Technology is fast-paced, as is the corporate learning landscape, and L&D needs to be adept in the tech-lingo to be able to better engage with the workforce.

This is all the more evident when it comes to choosing a robust learning platform or an LMS to deliver training, as well as offering more and diverse learning opportunities through online content libraries with limitless eLearning courses and videos on a range of topics.  

Today, more than ever, L&D needs to align learning objectives with larger business goals, and to do so they must work in tandem with other business functions to improve training and incorporate those results into their learning strategy.