A company is only as strong as its employees, and the best way to empower your workforce is by actively maintaining and improving their skills. Offering comprehensive training and education is absolutely crucial for companies looking to build a reliable workforce. When trained properly, workers forge a symbiotic relationship with the company, nourishing professional harmony and growth on both a micro and a macro level.
Training is essential for employees as well, as many are now facing a reality in which a shrinking workforce is handling a higher volume of work.
Understanding Current Workplace Training Trends
This year, LinkedIn released their “2018 Workplace Learning Report,” based on survey data aggregated from approximately 4,000 managers, talent developers, executives, and employees.
The report revealed that employees considered training, engagement, and professional development the most important aspects of a job, even above salaries and benefits. In fact, an astounding 94% of employees surveyed expressed that they “would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career.”
However, talent developers reported that making time and providing the proper resources for education was the number-one challenge in workplace training in 2018. Professionals in executive and managerial roles agreed that training was paramount in ensuring company growth.
The study also highlighted that, because so much technical work is now being automated in one way or another, training for various soft skills has become the top workplace education priority. Leadership, collaboration, and communication skills, in particular, all ranked highly.
What Aspects of Training Can Be Improved?
When asked about training methods, 68% of employees indicated that they preferred to learn on the job, and 58% stated that they preferred to be able to learn at their own pace. Digital training offers the kind of flexibility that successful talent management requires. Luckily, approximately 90% of companies offer some form of digital learning.
Talent developers listed micro learning, just-in-time learning, and employee experience with engaging content as the most important workplace education trends for meeting the training needs of a busy, hardworking workforce.
There are a wide variety of resources available that many companies are becoming increasingly reliant on, including in-house instructor-led classes, conferences, peer-to-peer coaching, online training, and certification programs. Companies that scale their training programs and experiment to find the right formula stand to gain the most from their efforts. The top three ways to measure the success of a training program, according to the report, are improved performance metrics, employee retention, and qualitative behavior changes.
The report also found that increasing manager involvement in the training process played a significant role in the efficacy of a training program. Over half of the surveyed employees indicated that they wished managers played a bigger role in the learning process, and that they would “spend more time learning if their manager directed them to complete a specific course in order to gain or improve their skills,” compared to only 40% who listed incentives as motivation for learning.
3 Suggestions to Improve Training Effectiveness
Although the workforce craves a higher degree of manager engagement, 85% of the surveyed employees reported that they were either not engaged or actively disengaged at work.
The surveyed employees offered a few recommendations to improve training and development, which managers can use boost morale while enhancing overall productivity.
The top three training improvement ideas centered on:
- Inspiring — Today more than ever, employees want to feel like they have the ability to make a difference in both their organizations and the world. This is especially true of millennials, who are projected to comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025. These employees find inspiration through comprehensive training and education opportunities that allow them to grow professionally and hone their skills. Ultimately, understanding individual employee goals is the key to unlocking workers' full potential.
- Motivating — Strong bonds between employees and managers are an important aspect of motivation. Employees are also motivated by opportunities for career growth — through promotions, for example. To make the most of these motivating factors, managers should try to impart their knowledge on the characteristics and skills that employees should work on cultivating in order to advance their careers.
- Partnering — Just as managers can serve as a great resource for employee learning, employees can also be a great resource for managers. Workers are often willing to provide extensive feedback on training programs, potential career growth opportunities, and workplace tools, which can be extremely valuable when making critical in-house decisions on learning initiatives and overall workplace structure. By creating a symbiotic partnership, managers can inspire and motivate their employees even more.
Today’s workers are looking for enriching professional experiences. When employees feel satisfied with their projected career growth and their engagement within a company, they, in turn, help to grow the business.
Managers, executives, and talent developers alike must all play a role in ensuring that their employees are learning everything they need to succeed. By improving training programs and offering real opportunities for continued education and growth, companies can achieve a competitive edge in an increasingly tight market.
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