State of Employee Training (Infographic)
Investing in the continued professional development of employees is beneficial for both office morale and companies’ bottom lines. When training works, it develops employees toward their long-term career goals, promotes greater job satisfaction, increases productivity and reduces employee turnover.
To learn more about the current state of corporate training, West UC's Digital Media Services team surveyed more than 200 full-time employees on their experiences with corporate training, as well as their thoughts and perceptions on various training methods. What we found was that while most employees value corporate training opportunities, a significant portion is unsatisfied with what’s available to them.
Current State of Employee Training
Overall, three out of four employees have participated in job-related training programs within the last year, suggesting that the vast majority of organizations are trying to make training more readily available.
- 34% of employees currently spend between one to five hours per quarter on job-related training
- 40% spend between six to ten hours
- 26% spend 11 or more hours
This correlates with employees’ expectations of how much training their companies should offer. Two out of three respondents say that training opportunities are an important factor in their decision to stay with their current company/position. Not surprisingly, younger employees are more likely to put a premium on training than their older counterparts. Sixty-nine percent of employees under 40 claimed that training opportunities play an important factor in their decisions to stay with their current company/position or leave, versus 59 percent of employees over 40.
The rise of digital training models
While in-person training workshops and classroom-style training continue to be the most common forms of training, online training methods, such as virtual learning environments, are becoming increasingly more common. More than half of respondents have been trained with interactive online courses (56%) or online resource centers (53%) compared to 77% who’ve participated in in-person sessions. As tech-savvy millennials continue to fill our increasingly global workforce, it’s likely online training will continue to grow in popularity.
Platforms used to administer training:
- In-person workshops/classroom-style training- 76%
- Question and answer sessions- 62%
- Interactive online courses – 56%
- Online resource center- 53%
- Hands-on learning- 47%
- Print documents/books – 45%
- Desktop applications- 14%
- Mobile applications- 3%
The rise of online training correlates closely with the growing popularity of digital-based teaching methods. Nearly half of respondents said their training sessions have used multimedia, such as a pre-recorded show or demo. Thirty-nine percent have the ability to review content after it is presented and 29 percent have completed quizzes during training.
Perceived Shortfalls in Employee Training Although many respondents see value in training opportunities, there continue to be areas where training could improve. In fact, more than one third of survey respondents said they felt their current training programs were not a productive use of time, an alarming number considering the money and time such programs can cost companies. Another third said they felt the materials provided in their training sessions were not interesting or engaging, signs these employees may not be retaining the information presented.
Comparatively, about half of the respondents said in-person training workshops are effective in helping them retain information and 41 percent of said interactive online courses are effective, a sign that organizations might want to audit and address the content of their training programs to ensure maximum engagement.
Of those who said they have participated in interactive online training, 44 percent work at large companies (more than 500 employees) while a quarter work at mid-sized companies (101-500 employees). This confirms the notion that integrating online training into employees’ onboarding and training packages happens more often at the medium-to-big business level than the small business level.
Though one of the main goals of employee training is professional development, 36 percent of employees surveyed said they felt the training offered was not relevant to their specific job role or career path. Such shortfalls highlight areas companies must improve upon if they want to engage with employees and see a full return on investment.
Creating an Employee-Driven Training Program
Forty-one percent of respondents said they would like more training in the next year—but what exactly are they looking for?
More than half of respondents listed ‘interesting and engaging content’ as an important feature of their training programs. In fact, more than two thirds of respondents said they would choose to participate in more training if it were more interactive and engaging. Multimedia tools like video, quizzes and Q&A sessions encourage engagement with the content and promote retention.
While it can feel a bit like picking blindly out of a hat when determining the best methods of teaching or presenting new information, many online training programs have analytics that allow companies to track the learner’s behavior and interaction with the content. This can help training officers determine which approaches or pieces of content are working and which need work.
Respondents also listed the ability to customize training to their job function (48%) and the freedom/ flexibility to go through training at their own pace (47%) as important attributes of learning programs. Additionally, nearly half of respondents listed the ability to review content after it is presented as important. These preferences represent a niche online learning can help fulfill. Companies can rapidly deploy new, living content and create customized learning paths that cater to an employee’s specific role or individual goals by utilizing online modules.
In terms of mobility and interactivity, 45 percent listed the ability to interact with other learners as important, and only about one out of three employees listed the ability to access training from anywhere as an important. However, as the workforce becomes more mobile and geographically dispersed, this may become a more important component for both employees and employers alike.
Methods that best help employees engage with instructors or content:
- 78% of respondents said hands-on learning
- 60% said live discussions
- 56% said Q&A sessions
- 29% would prefer pre-recorded shows/demos
- 24% would prefer educational games
- 21% would do best learning through gamification (earning points towards rewards)
Overall, while the majority of employees appreciate the underlying benefits of the training that they’re offered, a significant number still believe the current programs could be improved upon. Companies aspiring to create a positive culture should be sure their training is interactive and tailored to fit employees’ specific roles or needs.
As online training becomes more prevalent, it’s important that companies take full advantage of its capabilities. Highly valued components like customization, live Q&A, video and group discussions—all available with virtual learning environments—can be incorporated into online training programs and ultimately increase employee engagement and productivity.
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