Learning is in the best interests of both parties.
New research suggests employers are failing to provide the upskilling their staff require to perform their jobs effectively – thereby missing an opportunity to reduce the skills gap.
That’s according to the Learning Mindset Report, produced by recruitment and workforce solutions specialists Hays and on-demand training provider Go1.
Together, Hays and Go1 surveyed more than 5,000 organisations and 15,000 professionals. They found less than half (48 per cent) of professionals surveyed believe the learning resources provided by their employer allow them to upskill as their role demands – yet 60 per cent of employers believe their learning resources are adequate.
Importance of learning new skills
When asked how frequently their role requires them to learn new skills, 92 per cent of professionals said they always, frequently or occasionally need to learn new skills. Only 8 per cent either rarely or never require new skills.
Meanwhile, 42 per cent of workers said their employer doesn’t have a clear development plan in place involving specific learning, with another 16 per cent unsure. This is despite 82 per cent of employers admitting they are worried about skills shortages.
In a separate survey, the Hays Salary Guide found 91 per cent of employers in Australia are experiencing a skills shortage. According to Hays, regular upskilling can help employers fill skills gaps and ensure staff develop the competencies required to continue to perform their job effectively in our constantly evolving world of work.
Opinions between employers and employees differ
The survey revealed that 83 per cent of professionals are highly interested in learning new skills, whereas only 48 per cent of employers believe their employees are so inclined. Meanwhile, 81 per cent of professionals believe they apply new skills quickly, compared to 60 per cent of employers.
Only half (52 per cent) of professionals said they received learning resources from their employer. Yet 78 per cent of employers said they provide employees with learning resources.
Commenting on the findings, Alistair Cox, Hays CEO, said, “Organisations need to ensure that their workers know what learning resources are available to them and provide the right level of support in areas of skills development that are needed. Employers must also ensure they work to identify what skills of the future may be needed and encourage their workers to acquire new skills.
“Learning is in the best interests of both parties. Organisations need to prioritise upskilling to fill skills gaps and workers need to constantly learn to make sure their skillset remains relevant and future-proofs their career.”
Chris Eigeland, Go1 Co-Founder, said, “Even with the best of intentions, many employers seem at a loss to identify and embed the skills needed for an effective workforce. This has resulted in a mismatch between the skills that employers need and the skills that workers actually have. Organisations are also weighed down by the challenge of engaging employees in learning. Even employers who recognise the importance of upskilling are struggling to find learning content that meets the full spectrum of their learners’ needs.”
5 ways to embed learning in your organisation
To reconnect with employees on learning expectations, experiences and outcomes, Hays and Go1 suggest:
Align learning to business ambitions:
Research from McKinsey shows just 40 per cent of executives believe their learning and business strategies are aligned. By linking training to objectives, employees see the relevancy and are more likely to engage in the learning process. Further, a skills mapping exercise allows you to identify current strengths and weaknesses, then design and deploy learning to match business needs. But make sure you allow room for agile learning opportunities, so your workforces’ skills can adapt quickly to change.
Set learning into the flow of work:
Create a culture of learning, such as by encouraging staff to ask questions, incentivising knowledge sharing and creating to-learn lists alongside to-do lists. Regularly communicate learning opportunities and give employees the time to upskill. Consider assigning staff stretch opportunities or tasks slightly outside their current proficiencies. While it will take them longer to complete the task, they will learn, and retain, new skills.
Pay attention to data:
When implementing a new learning program, determine the metrics that point towards success, review them regularly and improve processes as appropriate. Consider including development discussions in your quarterly or annual reviews.
Turn to technology:
Existing and emerging technology can help meet employee learning expectations and deliver upskilling opportunities. Chatbots, for example, can send timely prompts to remind staff to complete learning sessions or even reinforce learning with a series of quickfire questions. Virtual spaces, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, can help foster mentoring programs across borders. And while it is an emerging option, the metaverse could help facilitate learning opportunities in future.
Train for today, plan for tomorrow:
Many organisations offer training that meets the needs of today – but successful upskilling should also consider the technical, digital and soft skills your workforce will require in the future. Draw on market knowledge, global insights and key indicators to guide your upskilling and create development pipelines to ensure you have the right talent in the right place when needed.