Employer learning programs may be missing the mark

Employer learning programs may be missing the mark. More than 40% of employees responding to a survey said they don’t have what they need to develop their skills at their organizations, according to Cornerstone OnDemand’s 2023 Talent Health Index, released Sept. 12 — indicating a “persistent gap” between what employees think they need to grow and what employers are actually offering.

While the “vast majority” of employers surveyed (88%) said they are confident they can develop people’s skills, employees agreed “to a far lesser extent (59%),” Cornerstone said.

Compared to previous studies conducted since 2020, that confidence gap has continually hovered around 30%, indicating that employers have yet to shore up their learning programs to the level employees want.

Nearly two-thirds of employees surveyed said they want additional learning content, while 62% said they wanted more coaching and mentoring.

And employers have significant room for improvement regarding their talent development programs, Cornerstone’s report said. Many demonstrated a mastery of the basics and very early exploration of new innovation. But those programs lag in automation and have yet to build a robust learning strategy, according to the organization.

“In an environment of constant change, workforce innovations, and new cycles of talent development, improving the maturity of your talent programs is critical,” Himanshu Palsule, CEO of Cornerstone, said in a statement.

A focus on employee development may be a key way for employers to differentiate themselves during tough economic times, research from McKinsey Global Institute said — especially since employees may be particularly driven to seek upskilling during such times, a separate report noted.

But for such training to be effective, employers may need to ensure their learning programs offer workers at all levels the same opportunities to access “executive-style” training, such as programs with greater engagement and flexibility.