Bosses only “pay lip service” to digital learning, survey reveals

Some sectors are more prepared for digital transformation than others, according to Avado

Businesses are not ready to embrace their digital potential, with senior executives failing to train up employees to be sufficiently ready for this transformation.

According to the “digital readiness index” from learning company Avado, which polled businesses with an excess of £100 million in turnover, more than half (55%) of learning and development professionals in these companies think C-suite executives are only paying lip service to digital transformation.

While almost nine in 10 businesses accept there is a need for a digital transformation strategy, and 93% claim to have a plan in place, less than one-third (28%) of them have invested in digital learning across the entire business, it revealed.

Across all the businesses surveyed, 19% of the overall budget was spent on digital learning. However, for 40% of businesses, most of that spend was directed to the sales and marketing department.

Due to a lack of buy-in from top executives, a quarter of L&D professionals believe they are powerless to influence change, despite 86% of major UK businesses being at risk of digital disruption, Avado found.

The survey also showed that a quarter of businesses fail to benchmark and measure the impact of digital training programmes, while almost one-fifth (18%) report low levels of employee engagement in these programmes.

For 43% of businesses, the chief information officer is in charge of digital change, and just under a quarter (24%) assign responsibility to a chief digital officer.

For one-fifth (22%) of businesses the CEO is leading the drive towards digital transformation.

Among the industry sectors polled in the survey, energy and utilities are the least prepared, according to Avado. Telecoms and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies fared the best.

Lisa Barrett, managing director at Avado, said: “We’ve learned that for businesses to really grasp the digital opportunity, it takes serious commitment from leadership and the right levels of investment in the right kinds of training programmes – ones that deliver business impact.

“Put simply, companies need to take their whole organisation on a learning journey. And for the ones that get this right, the results can be transformational.”

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