Disengaged UK workforce calls for a more targeted approach to training

New research published by City & Guilds Group, the leading global skills organisation, reveals that UK employees feel bored and disinterested when it comes to workplace learning and are calling out for a more engaging, accessible and targeted development experience.

The study, conducted by City & Guilds Group business Kineo, surveyed 500 employees and 100 employers in the UK – and a further 6000 employees and 1200 employers across 12 other global markets. It finds that despite 80% of British employees saying their organisation has taken steps to improve their skillset and overall employability over the past year, in many cases this effort hasn’t hit the mark. Only 13% of employees would rate the L&D opportunities over the past year as very effective and just a fifth (21%) feel very well equipped to do their job to the best possible standard.

UK workers are bored of their current learning provision, with over two thirds (69%) saying training content is not always exciting or engaging – significantly higher than the global average of 59%. Yet this hasn’t driven them to take learning into their own hands: employees in the UK were amongst the least likely to have invested their personal time in training (43%) and to have looked for e-learning solutions or online advice (46%).

Instead, UK employees are calling on their employers to provide a much more curated and tailored approach to training to better equip them with the skills needed for the future. More engaging (37%), personalised (35%) and better quality (29%) content – as well as shorter, micro-style learning (23%) – are cited as the most effective methods, and those they would like to see more of, when it comes to developing new skills and abilities.

John Yates, Group Director – Corporate Learning at City & Guilds Group, comments:

“The nature of work is evolving rapidly and consequently learning and development has never been more important. While employers are making concerted efforts to upskill their workforce for the future, it’s concerning that current training may not be hitting the mark. Our findings clearly show that employees in the UK are crying out for new ways to learn and train, that truly cater to their individual interests and career paths.”

Whilst employers in the UK are fairly confident they have the budgets (81%) and resource (82%) to invest in staff training, the research highlights they need to make it far more accessible. A worrying 80% of UK employees cite some sort of trouble accessing L&D activity in their workplace, with lack of time being the most significant barrier (24%).

John Yates continued:

“Even if budgets and strategy for learning and development are in place, businesses won’t see a real return on investment until training and learning are fully accessible to all. Employers need to deliver training in a way that makes it easier for employees to learn on their own terms, fitting around their schedules by harnessing technologies that enable a ‘Netflix’-style experience of L&D. Only by listening to the expectations of their workforce, and taking inspiration from global counterparts to develop an approach to learning and development that is both accessible and inspiring, can employers prevent this significant investment from going to waste.”

An organisation doing it right

Leading skin care brand Dermalogica places professional education at the heart of its organisation. Committed to helping skin therapists and employees achieve their professional goals, Dermalogica has over 90 Training Centres and around 1000 Partnership Colleges worldwide.

Candice Gardner, Education Manager – Digital and Content at Dermalogica commented:

“There is a constant battle between being broad enough to reach as many people as possible with education, and yet making sure learning is personalised enough to be effective. You aren’t going to get it right every time, but successful educational experiences come down to nailing the human connection – authentic trainers delivering content that has real personal relevance or worth to the individual. We believe learning must be accessible and trackable so people can see where the value is and how it will impact personal, professional and business growth. By keeping learning focused and responsive to the needs and goals of individuals, we are able to keep people engaged for the long haul.”

A learner from Dermalogica added:

“What’s kept me motivated is knowing that it’s personal. Of course, you know that you are helping the business by developing the skills to deliver specific treatments, but when you feel like it’s an investment for you, that’s what makes you want to keep learning. We all have bigger goals.”