New Research Shows “Heavy Learners” More Confident, Successful, and Happy at Work

I’ve been studying HR and L&D for almost 20 years now, and I constantly get the question “how do you compute the ROI of learning?”

I get tired of answering this question, so I often turn the question back and say “what do you think would happen if nobody in your company ever learned anything?”  Obviously, you’d go out of business.

We all know that learning is one of the most essential parts of business success, and it occurs at an individual, team, and organizational level all the time.

Well let me share some interesting new research: some employees spend a lot of time on the job learning (and some do not). And those that do are measurably more engaged, productive, and successful than their peers. 

We did this research in partnership with LinkedIn, so I published the detailed article here. But to give you the highlights, here are the headlines.

  • Among the 2,400+ professionals surveyed, 7% spend more than five hours a week in education and learning.
  • The “heavy learners” are significantly more productive, successful, engaged, and happy than their peers.
  • When asked why they might leave their company, professionals tell us “their ability to grow and progress” is almost twice as important as salary.
  • Even those who spend an hour a week learning show significant benefits above those who don’t spend time learning at all.

There are two big messages here.

First, learning makes people feel better. When you take time to learn, grow, and push yourself at work, you feel more empowered, engaged, and successful.

Second, more learning is better than less. The “heavy learners” are seeing almost three times the benefits of light learners. (Udemy’s new report shows that highly engaged companies are 200% more likely to have employees who spend 30-50 hours a year on learning.) This means you have to free your time to learn.

I’d encourage you to read the article and think about what it means for your own career, role as a leader, or role in HR.