While SG employers acknowledge the need to upskill employees, they are doing a poor job at it.
In NTUC LearningHub (NTUC LHUB)'s recent Workforce Learning in Workplace Transformation (WLWT) report, 55% of Singapore employees are seeking training outside the workplace in the past year. This is on top of what was offered by their companies.
Part of the reason is that the training offered by their employers fails to meet their expectations. Two in five (38%) employees said that current learning & development (L&D programmes) offered by their companies are either 'fair', bad' or 'very bad'. The reasons include: 'limited range of topics covered' (40%), 'boring and conventional training approach' (37%), and 'training topics are not relevant for career advancements (18%)'.
The Workforce Learning in Workplace Transformation (WLWT) report is based on a survey with 150 business leaders and 300 employees across industries in Singapore, and interviews with human resource experts.
The report calls companies to improve their training programs as part of their talent retention strategies. Training and upskilling also affects employee loyalty, with 86% of employees indicating that the 'availability and comprehensiveness of training courses' are key factors for them staying on.
In contrast, only less than half of employers (45%) consider L&D beneficial to employee retention. In fact, 29% of employees either perceive that their companies do not act on insights from post-training evaluations to improve training programs, or are uncertain of what is done with their feedback.
"There needs to be a push for employees to start regularly upskilling and boosting their productivity and efficiency. For businesses to be sustainable, developing human capital to be future-ready is key. Putting training at the front and center of the business is one way to overcome the prevalent skills gaps and labor shortage,” said Adrian Tan, strategist for future of work at Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP).
“Many companies tend to hire without the intention to train. If every company only acquires talent and does not develop them, it will be harder to overcome the shrinking talent supply," he added.
When asked about the motivations behind upskilling outside of the workplace, workers have cited reasons 'to stay relevant' (70%) and 'remain competitive during this period' (61%). In particular, three in five (59%) employees who are negatively affected by the effects of COVID-19 are more likely to take up external training as they prepare to seek new employment, as compared to those less affected (31%).
"Seeing employees increasingly take the initiative to upskill signals that there is a strong desire to become adaptable in these uncertain times. As much as this is a positive move for individual workers, it is also a call to action for businesses to provide quality L&D programs to engage their workforce in a meaningful way and motivate them to be the best versions of themselves at work,” commented Sean Lim, NTUC LHUB's director of human capital.
“Training should be used as a strategic tool to develop new capabilities for businesses to stay competitive today. As we transition into an endemic world, employees who are confident in their new skills and professional competencies would emerge stronger and have a greater sense of loyalty towards their company," he added.
Image credit: iStockphoto/metamorworks