Towards Maturity 2018 Research/Benchmarking

How Top Performing Organisations Embrace Learning Innovation To Deliver Business Results

Top Performing Organisations report that their learning innovation strategies totally deliver.  Compared with the rest of the Towards Maturity 2018 (Transformation Curve) sample they report:

  • 3x Growth
  • 3x Productivity
  • 3x Profitability
  • 4x Transformation

ITC Learning & Towards Maturity Research/Benchmarking

ITC Learning is a long standing Towards Maturity Ambassador and a representative in Australia and New Zealand.

Towards Maturity research into Corporate L&D and Enterprise Performance is independent, extremely well regarded worldwide and provides participants with an opportunity to benchmark their own strategies against the top performing enterprises in the world.

The Towards Maturity 2018 Benchmark Study was published recently and explores how effective learning innovation influences business impact. The findings are informed by the input of 6,500+ L&D leaders and 40,000+ learners gathered since 2003.

In this report, Towards Maturity apply new data analytics to reveal the most effective combinations of actions, tools and strategies to make the next step change on the learning transformation curve.


“Towards Maturity have created something which I believe will be invaluable to the L&D profession – a model of maturity that relates not only to the use of technology but to everything that L&D departments do supporting an effective organisation.”
Donald H. Taylor, Chair – Learning Technologies Conference (UK)


To participate in the 2019 TMI Research and benchmarking please go to:

The New Learning Organisation

One of the fascinating findings from the report is the considerable opportunity L&D professionals have to change the way in which they operate and add new and lasting value in this changing world.

High performing L&D teams have a history of disruptive thinking, of asking the challenging question, of turning the conversation that we have with the individual about ‘what courses can we help you with?’ to a new conversation about ‘what will help you perform at your best in your job?’

The destination is set.

It is clear we need to become a flexible, adaptable learning organisation. The New Learning Organisation puts learning at the heart of business, underpinning growth, productivity, profit and transformation. It is a place of readiness for change.

The tactics and strategies embedded in the Towards Maturity Model underpin the high performing learning organisation – the more they become everyday practice the more business impact learning innovation will deliver. Those applying the principles of the Towards Maturity Model show us that the destination can be reached. We track that progress through the Towards Maturity Index.

There is a strong correlation between the independent Towards Maturity Index and the achievement of goals for learning and development.

For a detailed look at the characteristics that define the New Learning Organisation and see the model at Appendix A

The pivot point of change – What does success look like?

When L&D spend more time in the operational areas of the business, they are building stakeholder engagement and improving the value they add back to the business.

  • Learner engagement has more than doubled (up from 17% to 42%)
  • Time to competence has reduced dramatically (up from 20% to 35%)
  • Compliance training completion rates have reached a new high of 81%


  • 52% improved the induction process
  • 62% increased learning access and flexibility
  • 58% improved the quality of learning through technology
  • Communications are better, people are beginning to gain the confidence to share their knowledge and skills and stakeholders are better informed and engaged

As more managers agree that learning is delivering benefits for the business, they are also seeing that learning offers better value for money.

Why do we need to move on?

As each stakeholder is doing so well it is hard to justify the need to transform, let alone actually take action. Yet, while success is evident at this stage, it is the disjointed nature of engagement that may lead to stagnation – if not decline. L&D have built their skills but need to commit to a transformative agenda for the organisation as well as learning. The link between learning and business outcomes hasn’t yet been solidified in the mind of top managers/stakeholders and whilst the evidence for change is stacking up it is not yet being used. Learners are keen to take ownership but are not getting the encouragement they need. What is needed is the holistic picture, which cannot be achieved by celebrating siloed successes by key stakeholders. The chance is there but is not being taken.

  • 73% believe the role of L&D is shifting to support continuous learning

How do we move forward?

Having built up the trust and commitment of stakeholders, now is the time to look at organisational learning and development as a shared responsibility. The next stage is not about stepping back and leaving the leadership to others, but in breaking through the barriers that are still getting in the way of lasting change. We need to let go of:

  • Fear of failure: taking risks, making mistakes and working out loud DOES lead to sharing, progress and recognition
  • Traditional concepts of return on investment: the desire to prove worth can hold us back from delivering strategic value
  • Siloed thinking: holistic experience for staff means that we need to challenge traditional HR and business silos

Digital transformation is as much about people as technology. In essence, the transition to the next stage is about sharing responsibility.

Those in the top 10% of the TMI show business and learning leaders starting to share responsibility for the way that the organisation continually learns and adapts. This stage is not the ultimate destination but the means of equipping the business for continual change and growth.

Top Performing Organisations show us how learning innovation can really deliver.

It bears repeating, that compared with the rest of the sample they report:

  • 3X Growth
  • 3X Productivity
  • 3X Profitability
  • 4X Transformation

Previous research has highlighted that despite the diversity of Top Performing organisations, they share characteristics of the New Learning Organisation that lead to these results.

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