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Are your people keen learners?

Do your people get a lot of training at work? Are they learning new knowledge and skills that will push your business forward? And assuming they do learn at work, what do they think of the experience?

A new survey from, learning company AVADO, suggests that almost a third of UK workers are either indifferent to learning or view it negatively. Factors that are putting people off are:

  • Cost.
  • Travel to the course or learning venue.
  • Difficulty fitting the learning around doing the job.
  • Colleagues being left to cover the learner’s work,

What’s more…

When respondents were asked where was the last place they learned something, only 18% said at work. Even though, generally, people felt that work-based learning was more valuable to them than school or higher education.

Furthermore, a different piece of research by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants found that over a quarter of UK employees hadn’t had any workplace learning in the previous year.

Why does it matter?

Learning at work has an obvious potential importance to employees, in that a lack of training is likely to have a negative impact on job opportunities and careers. However, there are a number of benefits for providing employees with workplace learning:

  • Filling skills gaps – everybody has strengths and weaknesses, a targeted training programme based on an analysis of individual needs addresses the weaknesses, thus improving the general competence level of the workforce overall.
  • Better performance – it’s perhaps a little obvious, but training that is directly linked to job requirements tends to improve individual performance.
  • Keeping everyone up to date – whether it’s the latest technology or the latest project management methodology, if your employees’ knowledge and skills are on the cutting edge of whatever’s needed in your sector, you’ll see the benefits.
  • Consistency – this is twofold: firstly, training on company policies, plans and procedures means everyone has received the same messages; and secondly, consistency of skills levels and knowledge make it easier for people to cover absent colleagues (including those on a training course!)
  • Employee engagement – putting time and effort into training is a clear investment in your workforce and shows you value them; people who feel valued tend to put more into the job.

So what do people want?

If the benefits of learning are clear, but a significant part of the workforce doesn’t want to join in, how do you change that? A good place to start is to look at what you’re offering – as with any product, if the ‘buyer’ doesn’t like the look of it, or even see the point of it, then it’s a no sale. Changing the form of the learning and how people access it can help.

Another survey, Towards Maturity’s Bridging the Divide 2018, found that people wanted personalised learning, preferably being able to personalise it themselves. What’s more, they wanted to be able to access the learning when they wanted to.

One option is a package of bite-sized e-learning ‘lessons’ – learners select only those elements that are directly relevant to them and can also refresh the new knowledge when needed (the same research, however, found that only half of employers are offering this kind of flexibility and access).

The AVADO survey found that more than a third of people use the internet as their main source of learning, which also suggests a more individual, online approach would be welcomed.

If you’re not already logging on to learn, it might be time to consider it…

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