How to compare the success of your L&D strategy with others (and why you should)

Emma Weber

Great to feature a guest blogger this week! Introducing Laura Overton from Towards Maturity. I’m excited to share that Towards Maturity will be creating a specific Benchmark Report for Australia and New Zealand out of this year’s Benchmark Study. We are grateful to have Laura’s expertise on our blog to share the power of benchmarking…

With an increasing pressure on the global L&D population to satisfy business needs whilst engaging learners, and to budget, the pressure has never been higher.

14 years ago, Towards Maturity set out on a journey to understand how learning innovation delivers business impact, not just for a few, but for everyone. Through the process, we identified six workstreams that characterise how successful, high performing organisations are learning. From these workstreams, we have developed a common framework of effective practice that L&D teams can use to accelerate the impact of their strategy.

By benchmarking against this framework, L&D teams can pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of their own organisation, work out what needs to change and map out the actions that will bring tangible results in the workplace. In essence, it helps you get from A to B, faster!

What is benchmarking?

Benchmarking is the process of comparing your business processes and performance metrics with those of other organisations. The Towards Maturity Benchmark specifically measures the performance of your L&D strategy by guiding you through a series of questions about your learning offering and impact. It is an invaluable reflective process, providing actionable insights to improve the impact of your strategy.

What this means for you as an L&D professional

A benchmark provides the evidence you need in order to influence the business in regards to the learning agenda. Evidence is vital to backing up a case for change and even more powerful when internal data is being compared with data from top performing organisations. With the Towards Maturity Benchmark, you can see how your strategy compares with top performing organisations in your sector and shape your L&D strategy using tactics that work.

Joining the likes of Qantas Airways Ltd, the Australian Financial Security Authority and Coca-Cola Amatil, the benchmark process allows learning professionals to confidentially review their strategy, compare their approach with top performing peers around the globe and establish priorities. Consolidating the experiences of more than 5,500 people, each participant receives a unique, Personalised Benchmark Report to target improved performance as well as a copy of the new study focussed on the needs of the region.

The benefits of benchmarking

Systematically benchmarking your L&D strategy with your peers helps uncover insights that will help you:

  • Modernise your learning strategy
  • Redefine priorities
  • Identify opportunities for development
  • Increase learner engagement
  • Save time and accelerate progress
  • Demonstrate value by providing evidence of progress

The business benefits of benchmarking are extensive. Top performing organisations are over 5x more likely to benchmark and report a significant impact on business, with up to:

  • 10% increase in revenue
  • 14% improvement in productivity
  • 15% reduction in time to competency
  • 18% increase in customer and employee satisfaction
  • 18% reduction in overall costs

I’m sure you’ll agree, anyone would be proud to report this kind of impact on their organisation!

What will I be asked whilst benchmarking?

The Towards Maturity Benchmark asks questions that help you reflect your current L&D strategy/plan and think about the year ahead. But don’t worry, all your answers are kept completely confidential:

  • Understanding the context of your strategy
  • Goals and vision for your L&D strategy
  • Develop learning technology plans
  • Identifying barriers to transforming learning
  • Measuring the impact of your current strategy
  • Converting an L&D plan into tactics for success

What you need to get started

  • You’ll need to set aside 30-60 minutes to reflect on the areas above – you’ll need longer if you plan on doing this as a team exercise, but you’ll quickly realise that the time spent is well worth the investment
  • Some basic information on budget and team size is included in setting the context
  • Impact data on particular projects will be useful (but not essential)


“Over the past few years I have found the Towards Maturity Benchmark an essential tool to reflect on the effectiveness of my L&D strategy, help me demonstrate the value and benefit of investments made and also to identify tactics to improve the impact of L&D.”
Michelle Ockers

Discover your keys to success

The Towards Maturity Benchmark is considered one of the most comprehensive, independent reviews of how organisations are establishing successful learning strategies in the workplace.

The report shows how you compare with peers and the actions you need to take to improve impact, with scores on 19 effective practices and insights to help you improve business alignment, increase learner engagement and make informed decisions about new models of learning, like 70:20:10.

It takes 30-60 minutes, it’s entirely confidential and you’ll receive many benefits from the process.

Get started here.

Written by Laura Overton from Towards Maturity