Workers point to L&D disparities between front-line, office employees

About 93% of front-line workers responding to a recent survey said they want more learning and development opportunities, according to a Nov. 15 Kahoot report.

At the same time, workers voiced concerns about barriers to training. Although 87% said they were confident about their ability to acquire new skills at work, a third said their employers don’t invest enough in their growth, and 25% felt left on their own to pursue new skills. Nearly half noted disparities in training opportunities between front-line and office employees.

“Although employers are struggling to retain talent, this data illustrates employees’ unwavering commitment and strong desire for personal growth within the company,” James Micklethwait, vice president of Kahoot, said in a statement.

“The frontline workforce is telling our leaders something important: When you invest in our growth, you’ll see our true potential and how we can benefit the company in the long run,” he said.

Experts have long cited a relationship between development to retention, and last week’s results appear to support that tie. In the survey of 1,626 full-time, front-line workers, two-thirds said they would extend their employment by six years with enhanced career support and training. Forty-four percent said they would stay an extra decade with more training.

Learning and development opportunities may be particularly key for retention of women, people of color and millennials, according to a Conference Board report. Nearly 60% of those surveyed for that report said they’re more likely to leave a company if it doesn’t provide education and training to develop new skills, stay current on trends and advance their careers.

Other research has indicated that employers may need to improve various aspects of front-line employment. Communication between managers and front-line workers may be lacking, a survey from operations technology platform SafetyCulture found. About 40% of workers said management communications were “out of touch,” and 30% said internal communications got in the way of performing their roles.

Benefits may need a second look, too. In particular industries such as manufacturing, employers are trying new initiatives to retain frontline employees, according to a recent report from PwC and the Manufacturing Institute, an affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers. Flexible work arrangements, frequent breaks and mental health resources could help, according to the report, along with surveys of workers’ needs and preferences, mentorship opportunities and a dedicated leader focused on employee experience.