From education to employment

Investing in leadership training for your whole workforce could pay dividends in the post #Brexit economy

Nick Cutland, Executive Director of ILM

In the post Brexit world when we are likely to see more challenging trading conditions and find it harder to recruit, it will be more important than ever to ensure that businesses have highly motivated and skilled workforces that are able to be agile to manage in a rapidly changing business landscape.

All too often businesses focus all of their attention on training their senior members of staff. Recent research by the City & Guilds Group found that developing management and leadership skills – no matter at what stage of the career the employees are – is a brilliant way to encourage teams to progress and remain loyal to the business.

The Learning Insights research, found that employees who have been entrusted with leadership responsibilities tend to be more positive about their employer, their own skillset and their ability to do their job than those without leadership skills.

The study surveyed 6,500 employees across 13 countries, who were at a range of different levels of seniority, to give their thoughts and experiences of training in the workplace. It found that 80% of those with leadership responsibility stated that training and development activities had a positive impact on their performance at work, while 68% stated that it made them more likely to stay with their current employer.

In contrast, only 69% of employees without leadership responsibilities, believed that Learning and Development activities had an impact on their performance and 57% stated that it would affect whether they remained with their current company. This insight should be a great incentive to employers to start thinking about upskilling the future leaders in their organisation now so that they are not only skilled but also motivated to continue to progress their career in the organisation.

In addition, a robust training program can ensure that employees fully understand the organisation and the sector in which they work. According to the research, the majority of workers with leadership responsibilities believed that current training had a positive impact on their understanding (76%), whilst only 65% of employees without leadership tasks agreed with the statement.

And the results suggest that providing some leadership training in the workplace encourages people to invest in their own training outside of work too. 76% of employees with leadership responsibilities were interested in investing their spare time in education, compared with 62% of employees without leadership responsibilities. More than half of the leaders we surveyed were willing to pay for training themselves, whilst only 32% of their teams would do so. Finally, almost 7 out of 10 leaders were more likely to seek online and e-learning solutions compared with only 55% of those without leadership responsibilities.

The research also reveals that employees with leadership responsibilities were more willing to be offered training (such as coaching) by their employer than those without leadership responsibilities. This shows an inequality that must be tackled if we are to see those high levels of engagement and confidence in staff throughout organisations.

The research highlights that it is essential to introduce new tools to develop talented workers at all stages of their careers giving them the skills to make a real difference in their organisation and beyond.

For this reason, it is crucial to provide programmes, that develop core skills such as teamwork, creativity or strategic planning, that can focus on those skills that employees most urgently need.

As we head into uncertain waters as we depart from the EU in 2020 those businesses that have motivated and highly skilled teams, who are able to be agile and responsive, are likely to be the ones that flourish and succeed. The future looks less certain for those that do not.

Nick Cutland, Executive Director of ILM (City & Guilds Group)

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