From education to employment

Over half of UK businesses prioritising workforce skills development over recruitment

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Over half (56%) of UK businesses report improving their learning and development (L&D) processes as their top business goal over the next three years, compared to just 32% who cited increasing the number of employees.

The findings come from Go1, the world’s learning content expert, who surveyed over 1,000 L&D decision-makers in the UK on their approach towards workforce skills and training programmes. Improving L&D processes was also seen as more important as a business goal in the next three years than both improving profitability and growing revenue (both 55%).

When thinking specifically about L&D goals in the next 12 months, enhancing employee capability, and encouraging employees to learn a new skill are both the equal top priority for 47% of L&D decision-makers. This was closely followed by improving L&D to both increase employee retention and satisfaction (44%). 

The research also found that L&D leaders are exploring new ways to upskill and reskill their teams, with around four in five (79%) using an online-based platform for their L&D programmes. Some industries have been slow to adapt however, with 31% of those in retail trade still using paper-based forms for their employee training and development. 

While businesses are making L&D investments, many are facing barriers to scale these initiatives across the organisation, with almost a third (30%) citing training employees in a hybrid workplace as the top concern. Helping employees adapt to new L&D platforms (29%) and catering to different needs across the organisation (29%) are also seen as top barriers to achieving L&D objectives. 

Employees not having time to learn is also a key inhibitor to L&D initiatives for companies in the retail trade and healthcare industries (46% and 45%). Whereas businesses in the rental, hiring and real estate services are most likely (44%) to cite constantly changing industry regulations in relation to compliance as a barrier to their L&D goals compared to other businesses in other industries.

“Of the companies we spoke to, many said persuading employees to embark on a reskilling program is a top challenge they face. This is understandable, as these initiatives require learners to make a major time investment. To increase uptake, it’s crucial to communicate a clear strategy on the benefits of these learning and development programmes for employees and managers, and to design a learning experience that employees actually enjoy and is integrated into their workflows so it’s easy to access.” said Andrew Barnes, co-CEO and co-founder of Go1.

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