It’s time to reimagine—and democratize—corporate training. In too many companies, training is seen either as C-suite perk or a reward to the internal department that makes the best pitch for the available dollars.  There is a better way to view and implement corporate training; it should be return on investment (ROI)-focused and individualized.

Certainly, the training investment is happening. According to Bersin by Deloitte’s annual Corporate Learning Factbook, U.S. businesses spent 10 percent more on corporate training in 2015 than in 2014—good news on many fronts.  First, it answers the desire of employers to hire and promote from within: if workers are training in company-supported programs, there is a greater sense of confidence the employees have the skills and knowledge necessary to move up and into new positions.

Second, increased investment in training indicates greater financial confidence on the part of employers because it is one of the first pieces of discretionary spending to go in times of uncertainty. In other words, when corporate training increases, it’s a good sign the economy is trending upwards.

Still, management and leadership are the areas for which spending on corporate training remains the greatest. A reimagining of corporate training can attribute investment in training a specific person directly to how that employee’s capabilities and productivity have improved, no matter where they reside in the organization. In short, corporate training would be democratized.

There are many reasons why democratization makes sense. Learning content has exploded and there is a subtle but significant shift starting.  Companies are starting to recognize that “gray collar” and blue collar jobs also require training dollars.

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