From education to employment

Over a quarter of employees feel their managers don’t support their professional growth

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There is a mismatch between the formal compliance-based training on offer from managers today and what employees really want. 

Recent research from lifelong learning company Degreed has uncovered a gap between how managers care about their team’s learning and development, and what they can practically offer their employees. Almost 7-in-10 employees feel that their managers care about them as a person and their career growth, yet over a quarter of employees globally (26%) felt that their manager didn’t meaningfully support their professional growth over the past 12 months. 

The findings, part of the How the Workforce Learns 2023 report, highlight an opportunity for improvement for managers and for L&D teams building manager training programs. As well as wanting to develop employees, managers are offering their teams time at work to learn — according to 70% of respondents. 

The missing link is in learning experiences beyond compliance and job-related needs. Most employees (70%) turn to their managers to learn skills for compliance and to fulfill job requirements. Yet, managers are well positioned to futureproof their teams and recommend learning opportunities that will extend their skills and employability in an ever-changing future. 

Currently, only 34% of respondents said that their manager is recommending learning resources to them and fewer still, 31%, were offered practical opportunities to stretch skills and reinforce learning. For learning to be engaging and lifelong, managers need to expand their remit beyond mandatory training to upskilling and reskilling that considers the career aspirations of their teams and future business needs. 

Managers that strike this balance will help their organizations create more positive learning cultures, with a knock-on impact on retention and employee satisfaction. Indeed, the research found that managers have an outsized impact on the overall satisfaction and positivity that employees feel towards their employers with 86% of those with positive NPS scores (promoters) stating that their manager supports their learning. In contrast, only 42% of detractors (those with negative NPS scores) felt the same — over half the percentage. 

Dan Carlson, Senior Manager of Ecosystem Insights and Communications said,

“Managers remain critical to the overall success of their organizations, particularly, as our research shows, in how positively an employee views their employer. The research highlights that managers do appear to care for learning and development. Still, a lack of resources and opportunities beyond compliance is hindering further growth for their employees and coloring their view of manager support. 

“Your managers can embody and promote collaborative learning, especially during team and one-on-one meetings where informal feedback and coaching can be the extra inspiration a team member needs to explore a new skill. Offering people the opportunities they lack or seek, like stretch assignments and small-group and cohort-based learning will bridge the opportunity gap currently emerging between what’s on offer and what employees want.”

The How the Workforce Learns 2023 report surveyed 2,500 people working in companies of over 500 people, based in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, India, and Brazil. 

To read the full How the Workforce Learns report, click here.

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