Employees Demand Training Over Other Learning Opportunities

When employees are nearly begging for training to do their jobs better, employers should listen.

Finding the best way to create the most productive workforce remains at the top on any employer’s list of priorities. The solution begins with ensuring employee job satisfaction. But how can employers create job satisfaction?

Some offer tuition reimbursement programs, mentorships, international fellowships or sabbaticals amongst other learning opportunities. However, it seems like employees might not want any of that.

In October, Bridge, an employee learning platform created by Instructure, conducted a survey which examined how employees value training in the workplace. Jeff Weber, senior vice president of people and places at Instructure and author of the study, spoke with Chief Learning Officer about why employers need to pay attention to the survey’s findings.

Chief Learning Officer: Bridge’s survey found that employees value training in the workplace over mentorship, tuition reimbursement programs, sabbaticals and international fellowships. Why?

Jeff Weber: Employees really want relevant training … to become more effective at the job they’re currently doing. The skills and knowledge they need to do their jobs is changing, and they want to stay caught up. It’s relevant to doing their job well. The second reason is around their career development and helping them prepare for future opportunities, either at that company or somewhere else. More and more employees are asking for [training]; it’s not just the employers providing [it] without being asked.

Chief Learning Officer: The survey also found that men care more about mentorship than women, and women care more about tuition reimbursement than men. How could this information prove useful to an employer?

Weber: The message from that data point is, companies need to be more flexible and adaptable in how we provide training to employees. Not every employee is going to want the same exact training. It has to be customized, individualized based on what that person is looking for, whether it be based on gender, male or female, or whether it be based on different career paths or different things they’re interested in learning about.

Chief Learning Officer: What else is significant about the study’s findings?

Weber: All of us are beginning to realize how important training and ongoing education is for engagement and retention of employees. I know a lot of people care about that, and we’re hearing more about that in the market place. Our survey indicated that more than 90 percent of employees said continuous learning is an important part of job satisfaction for them. Another data point I thought was even more interesting: 53 percent said they were likely or very likely to leave their job if they had insufficient or ineffective opportunities for growth and learning. Training is becoming more important to people as part of why they’re staying at a job or why they’re engaged in the job.

When employees are nearly begging for something, their employer should be listening. Providing employees with the learning opportunities they actually want can promote employee retention, job satisfaction and engagement. In the end, providing sufficient training in the workplace is a win-win for employees and employers.

AnnMarie Kuzel is an intern for Chief Learning Officer magazine. To comment email editor@CLOmedia.com.