Employees Aren’t Feeling the Learn

Employees Aren’t Feeling the Learn

Bravetta Hassell at CLO highlights a new survey with some troubling findings for heads of Learning and Development:

According to Spherion Staffing’s 2016 Emerging Workforce Study, nearly one-third of workers do not feel like their companies provide them with adequate skills training, nor do they think their current skills make them promotion-ready. Further, only 14 percent of workers surveyed said they’d give their organization an ‘A’ grade for learning and development programming. Even more troubling, some 45 percent of companies report they’ve increased their learning and development investments in recent years.

One potential reason for the gap in understanding? Current training offerings aren’t relevant to employees’ daily responsibilities, 45 percent of workers reported.

Our research from this year confirms the magnitude of this problem. The average L&D function has increased spending by 16 percent in the past three years by adding more learning channels, making learning more fun, and creating more timely content. However, our research (which CEB Learning and Development Leadership Council members can check out here) has shown that this spending has since fallen flat.

While 78 percent of employees say they are satisfied with L&D products, only 37 percent of learning is applied on the job. As the study referenced here indicates, there is definitely a big relevance gap driving this disconnect. At CEB, we have found that the majority of employees say that learning is just too hard to find, consume, and then apply.

Skill development is obviously essential to getting new employees up to speed in their roles, but it’s also important for the business as a whole: An effective learning culture can improve employee performance by up to 12 percent and can increase profit growth by up to 3.4 percent, according to CEB’s 2014 Learning Culture Survey.

But even more than getting employees set with the right skills for their current roles, this is bad news because candidates around the world highly value skill development as a part of an employee value proposition, so it is an incredibly important component of attracting and retaining talent today. CEB research shows that the global workforce consistently ranks future career opportunities and development opportunities among the top 10 EVP attributes — even above things like health benefits and vacation. Plus, millennial employees (a large and growing segment of the workforce!) are 34 percent more likely to value skill development than their older colleagues, and development opportunities are key influencers when choosing whether to accept a new position for more than 60 percent of millennials.

(Members of the CEB HR Leadership Council for Midsized Companies can see all of our data on EVP preferences here and can read more about millennials’ preferences in our latest research report.)