Future of Work

As the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, opens its 2016 Learning & Development Show today (May 11), new research reveals that learning in the flow of work is becoming increasingly commonplace in UK workforces.

The latest CIPD/Halogen Employee Outlook survey of over 2,000 employees found that, over the last twelve months, employees are most likely to have received on-the-job training (28%), online learning (26%) and learning from peers (20%), creating a culture of ongoing knowledge-sharing and collaborative working. The three methods of training rated most useful by employees are training from peers (95%), coaching (92%) and on-the-job learning (91%).

However, despite the popularity of coaching, just 9% of employees said they had actually received it over the last 12 months. This trend continues with job rotation, secondment and shadowing, rated as useful by 88%, even though only 5% have taken part in the last year.

Andy Lancaster, CIPD Head of Learning & Development Content, said: “It’s interesting to see a conscious movement towards learning in the flow of work in this year’s survey and the benefits in terms of teamwork, knowledge-sharing and longer term employee satisfaction are significant. L&D professionals need to be at the forefront of integrated learning, to ensure that learning is an ongoing process and not ad-hoc. They also need to be versatile, understanding the evolving needs of employees while focusing on achieving long-term sustainable business growth.

“There are some mismatches between the kinds of learning methods employees want and what organisations are actually providing, which highlights the importance of listening to employees and understanding what they want to learn and how they want to learn it. By putting employees at the heart of the design process, we will empower them, and by measuring what works and what doesn’t, organisations can move with the times and deliver learning that brings considerable business benefits, over and over again.”

Despite these changing trends in learning and development, the survey also found that over a third (36%) of respondents said they did not receive any of these types of training. Similarly, 30% disagreed that their organisation provides them with opportunities to learn and grow and over a quarter (27%) said they were dissatisfied with the opportunity to develop their skills in their job.

The survey also highlights that the number of employees feeling over-qualified for their roles has increased a third (33%), compared to less than a year ago (autumn 2015: 29%). The number of employees who say they are unlikely to fulfil their career aspirations in their current organisation has also risen (36% compared to 32% in autumn 2015).

Lancaster continues: “It’s surprising to see so many employees missing out on training at work. For businesses to move forward, people must move forward and learning is key to unlocking their potential. There’s also a clear link between a lack of development support and employees feeling over-qualified in their current role and not able to reach their career goals. It’s not enough to just hire talent, once individuals are in the workplace, they still need ongoing development to achieve their full potential and organisations need to be driving this.

“Previous research has shown that many organisations have been looking externally for new staff to meet the changing skills needs in-house, particularly as the world of work evolves and different capabilities are needed on a much more frequent basis. However, if more attention is given to the development of internal staff,

organisations would be able to build skilled and sustainable workforces in the long-term that are able to fulfil future skills needs. Satisfaction with performance support is also likely to improve if more care and attention is given to the development of relevant skills for employees.”

The theme for this year’s Learning & Development Show is ‘driving growth through agile learning’ and will focus on new ways of meeting the needs of both individual learners and the wider organisation.

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