August 2019
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TD Magazine

Not Trained and Afraid

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Employees desire training their employers don't provide, and they save face by not asking for it.

Most employees know that training is important, and they generally want it, but their interest in developmental initiatives doesn't match up with what employers are willing to offer. According to Future of Work and Employee Learning, a report from the customer experience management firm Sitel Group, 79 percent of employees said that when job searching, it's important to them that organizations offer formal training programs. The report also found that more than one-third of employees do not believe their employer understands their skills gaps and doesn't offer training to help them advance; an equal portion said they will leave their current job if not offered training to learn new skills.


Further, about half of workers said their employer penalizes them for not having the right skills, and about one-third said they have avoided asking for training for fear of seeming incompetent.

With this downplayed importance on the part of managers, employees may be afraid to ask for training. However, talent development professionals can help meet worker demand and boost retention by first educating managers on the need for L&D.

While L&D is important to ensure that workers have both the skills they need now and a path for advancement plotted for the future, learning that relies on antiquated tools or that merely checks the box can frustrate workers. Employers tend to be willing to spend more money on learning than they did before, but before committing to any one program, the talent development function may need to talk with teams to figure out what training is most applicable to the work that employees perform.

Keep in mind that the most effective programming enables workers to learn collaboratively from each other, both formally and informally. Front-facing employees can be an organization's best ambassador, or its worst. Also, engaging L&D offerings can help employers enhance their company brand, which keeps workers in the organization while also piquing prospective hires' interest.

About the Author

Stephen Newman is a former writer/editor for ATD.

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