Research shows employees want to improve their skills and expect a tailored approach. Tommy Richardson explains how asking the right questions leads to success
Corporate training has evolved over the past four years with the move to remote and hybrid work creating an increased demand for digital learning opportunities. Because of this shift, it’s imperative employers adjust quickly and expand virtual learning and development (L&D) programmes to meet the needs of their business and their employees.
The demands of today’s employees have expanded, particularly when it comes to L&D programmes. In fact, continuous learning and development is a top priority for 83% of employees. Employees expect training to go beyond simply checking a box, contributing to a much broader career goal. They also want adapted courses that meet their specific needs and provide unique value to them. In fact, 74% of workers are willing to learn new skills or re-train in order to remain employable.
When it comes to L&D, employees want to know how continuous education or specific training will benefit them individually
While many employers offer continuous learning as a company-wide benefit, provide it during onboarding, or as an annual requirement, this is no longer enough for today’s employees. Employees want their learning and development programmes to be tailored to them and as such, employers need to ask employees the right questions to discover what this looks like. In order to make an engaging L&D programme, employers should involve their employees in the planning process and the first step to this is understanding their wants and needs.
Below are the three essential questions to ask in order to understand your employees and empower them to learn and, ultimately, to thrive.
What will motivate you to learn?
Employees overwhelmingly want to learn. To illustrate, 89% of employees report feeling extremely to somewhat motivated to improve their skills. However, understanding each employee’s individual motivation is key to increased engagement in training and ultimately morale. According to findings from the 2023 State of L&D Report from LinkedIn, there are four key areas that drive motivation to learn. These include understanding the connection between learning and the impact on career progression, needing to stay up to date in their field, having the time to learn, and having learning that is aligned with their unique interests. For many people it is important to tap into a combination of these areas to create an impactful and personalised learning experience.
For example, when rolling out a new learning experience it is important to look at “what’s in it for me” from your employees’ perspective. How will this training teach them a new skill that helps in their role today or for the future? It’s also important to deliver a learning experience to employees in a way that takes into consideration an already busy schedule. This can be achieved through learning that is mobile friendly or can be built into a tool an employee is already using. Also, learning is not one size fits all, having the ability to give options through different content formats helps. To properly personalise and engage learners, employers must be able to identify and accommodate these various types of motivation, and in doing so can better drive engagement and employee growth.
What are your career and learning goals?
When it comes to L&D, employees want to know how continuous education or specific training will benefit them individually. In fact, as reported by SHRM, a common frustration with employees is that 24% report that their employer-provided training isn’t relevant to their role.
While impersonal mandatory training or certifications may be required, employers should strive to make corporate training as customised as possible. If a training or training outcome is not personalised, employee satisfaction will be impacted. Employers can focus on the learner by asking questions like, “What do you hope to achieve from this training?,” “What are your professional aspirations?,” and “How can we help you reach those objectives?”
Questions like these often lead to not only more meaningful learning plans, but also conversations with employees that articulate the value of successfully completing courses. By catering content to learners and directly explaining how the results of training will help them in their current role or career path, employers are contributing to better learning engagement and overall improved employee satisfaction.
How do you like to learn?
Determining how your workforce learns is essential for creating engaging upskilling and reskilling opportunities for employees. To do this, employers should conduct employee surveys or analyze which learning methods get the most traction. From there, employers can better understand and adapt to different learning styles and preferences so that courses and training are accessible to any employee.
As digital learning continues to grow – studies suggest by more than 250% by 2026 – businesses should consider how to best engage learners – not only by adopting personalised, quality content, but also by delivering it where and how they are most likely to consume it. In today’s business environment, employees crave deeper learning and development opportunities, and personalsation plays a pivotal role in enhancing engagement and performance, as well as increasing overall morale. When learners are engaged and excited about upskilling and reskilling opportunities, it inevitably leads to increased employee satisfaction and growth for the business as a whole.