A recent survey by iHR Australia, Australia’s leading provider of integrated human resources solutions, shows that business undertakes a significant spend on employee training but is seeking better value for money in tougher economic times.

The iHR Australia People Development and Training Expenditure Survey includes responses from 115 participants from a wide range of industry sectors. Most are from larger (100+ employee) businesses with multi-site operations and most (96%) are Australian-based.

“These responses from industry offer a fascinating snapshot of Australian management’s preferences and intentions around training in the context of a sluggish economy and an uncertain political climate”, says iHR Australia Managing Director, Stephen Bell.


Key findings include:

  • The most challenging elements of Managing Performance for managers are giving effective feedback (86%), setting expectations (49%) and empowering staff (41%)
  • The most common mistakes made by managers when conducting interviews are the interviewer doing most of the talking (58%), the interviewer failing to adequately prepare (54%) and the interviewer making a premature decision (41%)
  • The key reasons managers fail to run productive meetings are failure to define the purpose of the meeting (54%), failure to define an agenda (50%) and no creation of action items and allocation to staff (49%)

“The survey also shows that the overwhelming number of respondents (89%) believe that training has a positive ‘bottom line’ benefit to their business”, says Mr Bell.

“However, in perhaps a sign of tougher economic times coupled with political uncertainty, fewer respondents (by a small margin) anticipate their 2014 training budget to be greater than their 2013 training budget. This result suggests a determination on the part of respondents to extract better ‘value for money’ from training budgets, consistent with the trend towards eLearning described in the Survey.

“A strong link between training and operational impact has been drawn by survey respondents, no doubt with an eye to obtaining a productivity and performance advantage over the competition. As such, in a tighter economic environment, focused and relevant training makes more business sense than ever.

“While face-to-face training is still the most popular training methodology with 82 percent of respondents using it, eLearning is used by two-thirds (68%) of respondents and blended learning is used by half (52%), indicating that organisations prefer to use a range of training methodologies. Over half the respondents (51%) will use more eLearning this year and around a third (35%) will use the same.

“Some deficiencies in managers’ skill sets around recruitment, managing performance, giving feedback, interviewing candidates and conducting meetings are revealed in the results – shining a light on some key skills gaps in corporate Australia in the Leadership and Compliance space.

“This includes a lack of skills, ability and confidence in having a conversation addressing poor performance and inappropriate behaviour, impacting on firm productivity.

“The responses indicate a potential need for manager up-skilling, training and professional development in the area of managing performance generally, and engaging in Professional and Courageous Conversations more specifically”, says Mr Bell.

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