Spend in the right areas for employee development

Spend in the right areas for employee development

Workers are showing greater interest in enhancing their skill sets in what they perceive as an increasingly volatile job market, after a tough few years in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis.

This means that employers are under increasing pressure to provide increased and higher-value training in order to satisfy a restless labour force. But workers are now so committed to improving their industry skills and knowledge, they are prepared to fund their career development, at least in part.

As part of the career development process, employees utilise a range of different resources to fulfil their career ambitions, including training, mentoring, coaching and assessments. These resources may be provided by the employer, the employee, or both.

With a new wave of empowered employees taking greater control over their careers, there is a fresh focus on the effectiveness of these tools and resources.

However, what is perhaps most problematic is that well-intentioned employers are wasting some of the investment in career development resources.

We also see that while employees attach considerable value to those employers that do a good job in nurturing and developing talent, they are also prepared to seek out and pay for their own training or seek out organisations with a reputation for talent development.

At a global level, employer-provided training was utilised by 46% of respondents to the Kelly Global Workforce Index, although those in in APAC committed slightly more often to training their staff (49%).

But, training that was sought out or paid for by the employee was the second most-used career development resource, used by 32% globally, and 36% of respondents in EMEA and 32% in APAC.

Mentoring, career tests, and professional career coaching are the other most commonly used career development resources.

Young workers more likely to use employer-provided training – but they also want mentors

Significantly more Gen Y workers (48%) helped themselves to employer-provided training within the last year to realise career strengths, compared to their older counterparts in Gen X (45%) or the Baby Boomers (43%)

But it’s the slightly older workers among the Gen X sub-set, who are most likely to seek out training or pay for it themselves, as more than a third of Gen X (35%) are prepared to fund their own training, compared to 34% of Baby Boomers and 28% of their younger counterparts in Gen Y.

Mentoring is more likely to be sought after by Gen Y (31%) than Gen X (26%) and Baby Boomers (23%)

Getting the balance right

Employers need to get the balance right between providing training to employees, and self-sought/paid training; and in each case they must assess whether the training provided is meeting the needs of employees and the business.

Healthcare and Sales industries have the highest rates of employer-provided training (49%) while Law has the lowest rate of employer-provided training (38%) but one of the highest rates of self-sought/self-paid training (38%).

Much depends on the nature of your business, as to whether employees should access workplace-provided training, or seek out private career development resources.

Low levels of satisfaction with career development resources

It is particularly troubling that many employees feel only marginally satisfied with the career development resources that their employers are making available. Globally, less than one-third (29%) of workers surveyed said they were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied with the career development resources offered by their current employer, and just 21% or respondents in EMEA countries were happy with the training and development on offer at their workplace.

This satisfaction rate points to a mismatch between employers and employees on this issue and suggests that much of the employer investment is being wasted.

Oil/Gas sector workers happy with career development resources

Across industry, the Oil/Gas sector stands out as having a relatively high level of employee satisfaction with the employer-provided career development resources on offer (34%). At the other end of the spectrum, just 24% of employers in the Utilities industry were pleased with employer-provided career development.

How to make career development a win-win

Employers that take the initiative of helping employees to better understand their career paths need to ensure that the resources they deploy are properly suited to those they intend to help.

  • Employers should fully evaluate existing career development programs to test suitability to employees’ needs and the organisation’s human capital needs.
  • Career development must be a structured part of regular performance reviews.
  • Consider a career future-proofing exercise to get workers to consider how their jobs will change and the training, which they need.
  • Develop a knowledge-capture program to harness the skills and expertise of gifted or longstanding or expert employees so that corporate knowledge can be retained and passed on to less experienced staff.

For more information on career development resources download the report here.