Increased rates of job hopping and decreased rates of employee engagement pose significant challenges to employers in today's day and age, but there may be a way to combat both of these problems at once: relevant training and development.
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According to a survey conducted by learning management system (LMS) provider Bridge, training ranks highest on many employees' workplace wish lists – higher even than mentorships, tuition reimbursement programs, sabbaticals, and international fellowships
"More than 90 percent of employees said continuous learning was 'important' or 'very important' to their job satisfaction," explains Jeff Weber, Bridge's senior vice president of people and places. "It was surprising to us that it ranked that high."
Weber also noted that 53 percent of employees said they'd be likely or very likely to leave their jobs due to insufficient or ineffective opportunities for growth and learning.
"This all touches on why companies should care about training," Weber says. "It impacts job satisfaction and retention."
What Do Employees Want From Employer-Sponsored Training?
Of course, employers can't expect to engage and retain employees just by throwing the occasional training bone to them. The training has to be tailored to employees' needs.
Weber says that employees value training that helps them do two things:
become more skilled and more capable of doing their jobs
and gain the skills, knowledge, and capabilities they need to advance in their careers.
Related to that first point, Weber says that market dynamics and technological changes have accelerated the rate of change in many organizations. For that reason, three-quarters of respondents to Bridge's survey said they were worried that their skills were not current and/or irrelevant.
"Employees want to stay relevant in their skills," Weber says. "They are looking for relevant, current information when they need it, [information] that will help them do their jobs better and be more successful in their careers."
Join the Conversation: Does Your Organization Use Training and Development to Engage and Retain Employees?
Weber says that companies need to take note of this and provide employees with training opportunities that both help workers carry out their current tasks efficiently and prepare those workers for their future career moves. Employers can do this by offering two types of training:
Highly relevant and job-specific training.
Flexible career path training that allows employees to make their own choices about their futures.
"Both men and women want to have individualized and customized career growth training," Weber says. "They don't want one-size-fits-all training. They want to be able to choose which direction they go in their career and determine the skill sets they need to get there."
Equally as important as the type and quality of the training itself is the way in which employees can access the training. The preference for flexibility extends beyond career paths and to the availability of the training.
"Today, training has to be accessible on all platforms," Weber says. "In the past, companies may not have had mobile presences for their employees, but if you look at the workforce coming into play today, they are used to learning on their mobile phones."
In our everyday lives, many of us are used to being able to turn to Google immediately whenever we need to look something up. According to Weber, today's employees want this convenience in the training process as well. They want to access training whenever and wherever they need it, regardless of the platforms at their disposal at that moment.
"This is especially true for those people who work remotely," Weber says. "They're not in the corporate offices, so they need to have access to training no matter where they work."
With workplace flexibility and remote working arrangements on the rise across industries, it should come as no surprise that mobile-enabled training platforms are now a necessity, not a nice-to-have.
Unless, of course, you're not concerned with retaining and engaging your employees.