A trainer at the front of a lecture theatre

Training: employers need to think like employees!

Employers and employees don’t see eye-to-eye on the definition of meaningful training, and it’s creating a predicament for L&D. That’s the finding of a new report from CYPHER Learning, The state of corporate learning and development in 2023.

The survey found that employees crave personalised, meaningful training while leadership tends to consider training a box-ticking exercise. This is putting learning and development (L&D) in a difficult position – they’re desperate to deliver training that is strategic to the business and impactful to employees, but they lack the resources and executive support to make it happen.

The findings show that new opportunities, competitive threats, and evolving workplace models are forcing companies to rethink their talent acquisition and retention strategies and the expectations they set for their employees.

Unfortunately, those strategies and expectations don’t always come hand-in-hand with the training employees need to help them rise to the occasion.

CYPHER Learning reports that this skills gap results in three painful consequences for employers:

  • Businesses can’t respond or adapt to market conditions with the speed or quality performance it takes to compete.
  • Employees become frustrated and demotivated and, ultimately, leave their jobs to go elsewhere.
  • Hiring managers scramble to fill the skills gaps and back-fill departing employees by paying a premium in consulting and recruitment fees.

More resourceful and forward-thinking companies try to prevent these outcomes through employee training, leaning on their L&D teams to upskill and reskill existing staff, and onboarding new employees as quickly as possible.

CYPHER Learning says the only way to truly conquer the skills gap is by modernising the learning environment and personalising the learning experience – and this requires support from leadership.

Professional development matters. Employees want to grow in their careers, and they value training that helps them acquire the technical and soft skills they need to do so. The survey finds:

  • 98% of all respondents agree that workplace training is important.
  • 84% believe that overall training is relevant to their jobs.
  • 78% want more training linked to their skills requirement.

The survey asks just how important training is to prospective employees. When asked what benefits workers would prioritise most in looking for their next job, training ranked high on the list, tying with health and wellness benefits (86%) and sitting just slightly below a flexible work environment (87%). It’s why nearly half of respondents said one of the first questions they ask about in job interviews is whether the company offers some sort of training opportunity.

Yet, despite this significant support for training, employees often aren’t receiving the training they want and need at frequent and recurring intervals. Overall, more than 20% of employees have not received any training at all in at least 12 months. And it was slightly higher for those ages 55+ and up, with 27% reporting they did not receive training over the past year.

The changing face of today’s workplace is also impacting employees’ views of what makes an ideal training environment. The options available to them vary:

  • 76% are offered hybrid training – access to both in-person and online training.
  • 56% are currently offered on-demand training via a portal.

But respondents said despite the range of training options available on the market as a whole, only 53% are given a choice as to how they wish to receive training.

The full CYPHER Learning survey report is available to download here.

International Workplace has produced a series of learning and development guides for managers. The first two are available to download now:

The Business Case for L&D: A Guide for Managers

Learning in 2023: Key Issues and Trends - A Guide for Managers

Coming soon is the third in the series, Personalised Learning: A Guide for Managers.