Learning and development (L&D) cannot be viewed only as an employee benefit in order for a learning culture to thrive within a company and deliver significant commercial outcomes. Instead, L&D leaders should position these projects as a source of corporate strategy and incentive to meet business objectives. These consequences are best represented by a measurable return on investment (ROI). Metrics traditionally associated with learning program success, such as participation and employee satisfaction, do not provide a whole picture of learning’s positive impact on an organization, particularly in terms of verifiable ROI. According to a recent estimate from IDC, consumers can expect a three-year ROI of 592% on their first investment in Udemy Business.

5 business outcomes that produce learning ROI

Many commonly cited success metrics for corporate learning initiatives are difficult to relate to business objectives. For example, learner engagement and adoption rates can help you determine the health of your learning program. However, they may not always indicate that the program produces a satisfactory return on investment in terms of the costs and time required to implement these programs. For today’s workplace, the following are common types of results that provide significant ROI for firms who invest in learning.

Reduced costs

While learning programs need a financial commitment, a designed L&D program that focuses on essential organizational priorities can help to reduce costs in the long term. Firms that chose online learning programs over in-person training sessions, for example, can provide growth opportunities to all employees while avoiding the exponential cost increases associated with onsite training for all employees.
Toyota Tsusho South Pacific Holdings (TTSPH), an automobile company, discovered this when it switched from providing only in-person learning opportunities to an always-on learning platform. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, TTSPH’s learning and development activities were only provided on request at a regional training center. Even with the pandemic’s travel restrictions, employee development must continue. “If we do not provide staff with a source of updated training on demand, we risk stagnating or continuing with outdated knowledge and practices,” commented Michelle Morell, TTSPH’s Learning & Development Operations Manager. The firm transitioned to on-demand learning using Udemy Business, allowing employees to learn anytime and wherever they wished. Not only did learning increase.

Increased productivity

When employees have the opportunity to learn critical skills, they perform more swiftly and intelligently. According to an IDC ROI research, Udemy Business customers were able to upskill considerably more individuals than they could with previous learning approaches, with a 398% increase in the number of employees trained using Udemy Business. This led to considerable improvements in employee effectiveness, productivity, and organizational value. Particularly remarkable is the increased productivity that technical teams experience when continuous learning and upskilling opportunities are provided in the workplace. Publicis Sapient, a digital transformation consultant, revealed that as employee IT certification rates rose by 20%, so did productivity, with staff finishing client projects faster as their knowledge climbed.

A learning culture benefits experienced employees in more ways than just productivity. Organizations use learning technology like online courses and learning paths to help new employees get started and contribute to company projects more quickly. Samanta Zanchi, Learning & Development Manager at technology consulting firm OverIT, explains how digital onboarding has enabled the company to expand its global operations, with managers tailoring new employees’ onboarding learning routes to role-specific courses and material. “We’ve noticed our new hires are far more productive since we introduced our induction plan using Udemy Business,” Zanchi told me. “It’s far easier to onboard in larger numbers.”

Higher revenue

Improving worker productivity directly affects an organization’s growth and competitive advantage. According to IDC, organizations that use Udemy Business have an average annual revenue boost of $22.5 million per organization. Companies create a more productive workforce that drives revenue growth by offering staff development opportunities that focus on in-demand skills or changing consumer wants.
Valtech, a worldwide business transformation consultant, first invested in a new L&D partner to expand its existing learning programs and develop the abilities of junior technical staff. By allowing these people to learn new abilities that support changing client wants, the company found that its revenue was increasing. “We don’t sell physical products—our people, skills, and retained knowledge drive our revenue,” explains Christian Haahr Sigsgaard, Global Learning & Development Director at Valtech. For service-based firms like Valtech, the final product is the skill and knowledge of their employees, therefore constant learning is critical to producing a compelling product.

Improved employee retention and experience

According to Talent LMS study, more than three-quarters of employees prefer to stay with a company that offers opportunities for ongoing development. Employees value the investment their employers make in their professional development, and learning new skills keeps them engaged and motivated as they go about their everyday tasks. Organizations benefit immediately from the ability to engage and retain employees while also aiding them in upskilling to meet the skills needed to fill unfilled positions. According to IDC, Udemy Business clients reduced their net annual costs by $1 million by recruiting fewer external personnel.

Retaining personnel is especially important on technical teams since in-demand skills change quickly, and acquiring new employees is expensive. In fact, Nutanix, a pioneer in private cloud, hybrid, and multi-cloud computing technologies, believes that learning programs are critical for staff retention. Kevin Freitas, Nutanix Engineering Enablement Director, believes that the Culture Amp Survey provided true proof of Udemy’s success. “Engineers cited learning opportunities available as one of the top reasons why they would stay at the organization.”

Support business continuity

Between the organizational shifts caused by the pandemic and an already tight labor market exacerbated by the Great Resignation, business continuity is an important result for executives to link to their learning programs. Upskilling all employees, not just managers or those who volunteer for new tasks, enables a business to keep up with the pace of change and compete in a global market. According to Ted Cogan, Talent Development Projects Lead at consulting firm Pariveda, investing in employee upskilling allows them to match customers with the best internal fit for their project. “In some circumstances, if the person has outgrown the project at hand, we could urge employees to transfer to a new project and push themselves while still offering

Retaining current personnel and limiting the loss of institutional knowledge from a staff are also important aspects of business continuity. In 2020, InnoWave, a multinational technology and consulting organization, experienced high attrition rates, which hampered efficiency and growth. By investing in employee L&D on-demand learning from Udemy Business, InnoWave reduced employee attrition by 7% and saved €300,000 in recruiting costs caused by employee turnover.

Understanding the ROI that learning drives

Creating a long-term learning culture that provides the ROI executives need is more than just signing a contract with a new learning provider. Before launching a new learning program, L&D leaders should grasp how to have a meaningful effect in support of their company’s overall strategy by understanding the main outcomes and ROI kinds that learning programs can generate. At Udemy Business, we collaborate with customers to transform their learning programs from a list of perks and advantages to a strategic initiative that drives innovation, employee engagement, and growth. Contact us to learn more about how our customer success team works with businesses to create programs that are aligned with their goals.


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