- Employees aren't happy with the learning options offered by employers, according to a new study from Intrepid. Employers identified leadership, technology training and soft skills as "critical issues" facing companies in the next two years — but employees may not see their organization's learning culture as effective.
- Of the relatively small sample of 1,000 employees surveyed, just one-fourth found their employers' offerings to be "meaningful and useful." Nearly one-third called their offerings "enthusiastic but off-the mark," and the remaining 41% rated their learning as either something that "ticks the box" or something that's talked but never acted upon.
- The most valuable and effective training is collaborative learning, respondents indicated, followed by self study.
One way employees want to be assured they matter to their company is by an investment in their growth and career progression — and that translates directly to learning. The more training they get, the more they want, a previous study by Cerego found. But that same study noted only 45% of respondents found the training to be useful.
While businesses that offer continuous learning may find it easier to attract and retain talent, employers must ensure their development programs are relevant to an employee's work and speak to what employees want to do in the future.
Colleges and universities are being pushed to respond to this demand by offering shorter-term, skills-based credentials that students can trade on in the job market prior to graduation, as well as by partnering with employers to support apprenticeship programs.
Other institutions are creating units designed to work with employers to create education specific to their workforce needs or offer pathways into their colleges for more general degree and certificate programs. Arizona State University and National University System have both recently launched such ventures, which mark a trend of more colleges and universities looking for creative ways to respond to employers' desire to provide lifelong learning opportunities for their workers.
Training spend has reached record highs in today's skills-scarce environment, partly to address this complex demand. The tech behind learning programs has improved over time, offering platforms like gamification and virtual and augmented reality to reach employees at all levels of a company. But even something as comparatively simple as offering a mobile-accessible way to complete lessons can go a long way in keeping workers engaged with the content.
Employers also have a very "low-tech" alternative to current learning offerings: encouraging employees to learn together and teach each other. PwC found success in enabling workers to serve as "accelerators" that help coworkers achieve digital fluency in a fast-moving industry. But as the Intrepid study notes, employees want opportunities to approach learning at their own pace. Luckily for employers, self-directed learning will be key to surviving an uncertain economic future.