Learning & Development

5 findings from the Hemsley Fraser 2024 L&D Impact Survey Report

Impact Survey

In 2024, one thing’s for sure: there’s never been a more exciting time to be involved in L&D. The new 2024 Impact Survey Report from Hemsley Fraser acts as powerful confirmation for this, as well as revealing significant insights into how organisations can thrive amidst ongoing disruptions and transformations. 

As the Chief Learning Officer here at 5app, I see these insights not just as valuable data points, but as strategic signposts guiding us toward a more integrated and dynamic approach to organisational learning. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the key findings.


Key themes from the 2024 L&D Impact Survey


Adapting to continuous change

It’s no secret that learning functions must constantly evolve to keep pace with the ever-changing shifts in working structures, economic uncertainties and the explosive growth of technologies like AI. 

For L&D professionals, the challenge is no longer just about delivering content but doing so in a way that is flexible, responsive and tailored to the changing needs of the workforce. Ultimately, aligning the L&D agenda to the business agenda and goals has never been more important.


Economic pressures and resource optimisation

Economic challenges continue to loom large and heavy overhead, with budget constraints and the need for more efficient resource allocation being top concerns. 

The report highlights that UK companies expect a 1.4% cut in L&D budgets, while US firms anticipate an 8.8% increase. These budget pressures underscore the need for L&D leaders to justify their spending through clear, measurable business impacts.


The rise of soft skills

Amidst the technological upheaval, there's a growing emphasis on soft skills, such as critical thinking, leadership, resilience and emotional intelligence. These skills are becoming increasingly vital as organisations seek to balance technical proficiency with the ability to navigate complex interpersonal dynamics.

An element to this which is often overlooked is the need to develop or enhance the Growth vs Fixed mindset. This in itself is a key differentiator – particularly for senior business leaders keen to create a good learning culture and successful organisation.


Integrating AI in learning

Unsurprisingly, there is a significant uptick in the desire for generative AI tools within learning platforms, particularly in the US where 54% of L&D professionals ‘often’ or ‘always’ use generative AI in their L&D efforts. This reflects a broader trend towards more personalised and automated learning experiences, with learning personalisation, content curation and simulations listed as the top three AI use cases.

However, the integration of AI must be handled with care to ensure it enhances rather than overwhelms the learning experience. Going back to basics and starting with the business need is again highlighted as a critical skill set for L&D professionals to have in their toolkits.


Measuring learner engagement

Effective measurement of learning outcomes is crucial for gaining executive buy-in and securing funding, with over 40% of respondents describing learning measurement as ‘extremely important’. Organisations that excel in this area are not only better equipped to demonstrate the value of their L&D initiatives but also more likely to receive increased budget allocations. 

With 65% of respondents saying they rely on learner feedback as their key measurement tool, getting comfortable with L&D data analytics beyond vanity metrics is again an area that will prove to be a differentiator for driving the learning agenda and culture of the organisation forward. 


Why organisational learning culture matters


The survey findings reinforce the importance of a robust organisational learning culture — one that supports continuous improvement and adaptation. 

A learning culture needs to:

  • Drive engagement: Employees in organisations with a strong learning culture are more likely to feel valued and engaged. This is critical in a time when employee retention and satisfaction are linked closely to opportunities for growth and development.
  • Enable agility: Organisations that embrace learning as a core value are better equipped to respond to changes in the business environment. This agility is crucial for maintaining competitiveness when the business environment keeps changing.
  • Drive innovation: A learning culture encourages experimentation and innovation. By empowering employees to learn from failures and successes alike, companies can build a more innovative mindset that propels business forward.
  • Support effective utilisation of technology: As learning technologies evolve, organisations with a strong learning culture are better positioned to integrate new tools effectively, ensuring that technological advancements like AI are leveraged and embedded to their full potential.

The bottom line

The Hemsley Fraser 2024 L&D Impact Survey provides a clear picture of the challenges and opportunities facing learning professionals today. 

Being able to connect and influence at the C-level through demonstrable business impacts through data analytics is a crucial area we all need to become comfortable with – and that particularly means getting to grips with true learning measurement beyond simple learner feedback.

We have seen ‘Payroll’ become ‘Human Resources’ which in turn has become ‘People and Culture’, and there is now momentum gathering that ‘Learning and Development’ (even if the title doesn’t change) should become a more visible variation of ‘Performance Support’ to reflect the value it can and does add to an organisation.

In our journey towards building a resilient and adaptable learning ecosystem, the role of L&D (Performance Support) has never been more critical. Let's continue to innovate, measure and engage, ensuring our learning initiatives are as dynamic and forward-looking as the teams they aim to empower.

Curious about the impact of L&D in 2024?

Grab your copy of Hemsley Fraser's NEW 2024 L&D Impact Survey to find out what's going on in the world of learning and development.



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