You can spend all the time in the world overhauling your corporate training strategies and building new courses. But if you’re not building what the learners actually want, employee engagement will continue to be an issue and you won’t get optimal results.
Listening to your learner market is imperative. And while we would recommend starting with an organization-wide survey about what and how your employees want to learn, there are tons of industry reports out there that have already done half the work for you.
Some of these widely requested learning solutions are down to generational differences. Some are due to changing expectations now that we’re living in a digital age. But paying attention to what employees are asking for vastly improves learner engagement and the effectiveness of your training courses.
Talent management/leadership training
Employees want to know there’s a future at your organization. In fact, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if the company invested in their development. Retaining top talent means providing clear paths for career progression and the training to help them get there.
Employees don’t want to take one-off courses that they’ve forgotten in a week. They want continuous learning and development on specific skills and knowledge.
That’s why talent management should provide things like follow-up assessments, refresher courses, and recommendations for further courses. It helps employees to continue building on existing knowledge and can help employees see their progress more clearly. Employees are more likely to feel satisfied with the training offered if they learn frequently and see clear progression.
Personalized learning paths
One of the top concerns for talent development is addressing skills gaps in their organizations. This has always been a real sticking point for L&D. But it’s predicted that with the technology available today, it’s an increasingly achievable goal. It’s more important than it’s ever been before, too. The shelf life of skills has dramatically shortened over the last couple of decades.
Closing those skills gaps is something employees are demanding, too. Personalized learning paths offer employees the opportunity to address highly relevant, performance-affecting skills gaps. Furthermore, highly personalized learning means understanding the employee’s current stage in the learning journey. L&D can then offer solutions best suited to helping them progress with a specific skill.
Employees are bored and frustrated with training that is too easy, too difficult, or not relevant enough to their role. Personalized learning paths can go a long way toward meeting the demand for more personally relevant training.
Choice of learning preferences
A survey by Skillsoft found that one third of employees prefer to learn by feeling or experiencing. Almost one fifth (19%) favour the classroom, while 17% are visual learners. Approximately 25% are happy to undertake courses in their own time, outside of office hours.
That’s a lot of different ways to learn.
The concept of learning “styles” has largely been discredited among learning academics. But there is no denying that certain learning “preferences” exist. And we live in a digital age where people are used to having preferences catered for, regardless of the experience. Employees’ level of engagement with training will largely depend on whether it matches their preferred format. So L&D should try to provide options wherever possible.
Flexibility in accessing training
Employees are time-starved and are demanding flexibility around how and when they learn. So trends like mobile learning, microlearning, and learning “in the flow of work” are top priorities for corporate training teams.
Mobile learning is on the rise and has increased 5% year on year. Being able to access training on-demand through multiple devices allows employees to create their own time and space to learn.
Employees certainly want a level of control over what, how, and where they learn. But they still want guidance and support to start those learning journeys. They also want to know that their efforts are not going unnoticed.
Therefore, management involvement and guidance on learning paths is something employees look for specifically. It encourages a much higher level of engagement with corporate training programs. In fact, 75% of workers said they would take a course if it was manager-recommended to do so.
They know their employees best, so managers are also a huge help when it comes to personalizing the learning journey. The benefit of their recommendation is two-fold. The learning journey becomes more personalized and employees feel more encouraged to engage with the training.
Over half of the workforce values the ability to interact with instructors and other employees during the learning experience. L&D can meet this demand by:
- incorporating Q&A sessions into courses
- providing social learning experiences
- setting up learner forums on specific topics/skills
- encouraging peer mentoring during on-the-job training
It’s not enough to follow the latest trends and hope for the best. Listening to your employees, what they want from their roles and what they hope to get from training is the way forward for corporate training success.
Want to see how you can better align with employee expectations? Check out this free ebook on leveraging crowdsourcing strategies for corporate training!