Workplace training is failing to meet employees’ needs

How can an organization experience continued success, if it doesn’t equip its workforce with the right skillsets and knowledge? Short answer: it simply will not.

So, you would think it’s a no-brainer: provide the right training for your employees, and as a result, they will be more effective in their jobs and drive company success. Unfortunately for most organizations, across a variety of industries, this is not the reality.

The good news is, most employees (57%) truly recognize the value of workplace training and agree that it helps in job effectiveness. But, a shocking one-third of employees receive zero formal job training. What’s worse? For those that do, 43% say it’s ineffective.

Axonify releases 2nd annual Ipsos Workplace Training Study — Findings show no improvement in corporate training

For the second year in a row, Ipsos, a global market research firm, conducted an online survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adult employees across numerous industries (spoiler alert: the appalling results of 2016’s survey still hold true today).

Despite the training industry producing new and innovative technologies and solutions to empower employees, the state of workplace training has not progressed. Frankly, it is alarming to see how many companies are still failing to embrace new approaches to learning as a part of their overall culture.

The simple truth is — if employees aren’t provided the right training to perform their jobs, they will disengage. So, it should come as no surprise that poor work quality, lower productivity, and customer satisfaction issues will follow. Employees need corporate training to be fun, easy, and a seamless part of their day-to-day. It’s no new revelation that the attention span of an average person does not coincide with sitting in long, mundane training sessions.

How to stop making the same mistakes

A good place to start is with the employee.

How do your employees feel about training? What sort of things are important to them? What could leadership do to increase their engagement and make the learning experience more impactful?

Luckily, the research from Ipsos has done the heavy lifting for you. The data uncovered here can help companies, spanning all industries, understand what employees truly need to embrace corporate training to drive business results. I’ll even go as far as saying — it’s possible to get your staff excited about training. Actually, let me take that one step further – it’s possible to get your staff so excited about training that they will begin to participate voluntarily, every day. I’ve personally seen these positive results on countless occasions, from a variety of companies.

Tap into employee needs to drive business results

Currently, only 46% of employees stated their corporate training programs make them feel ‘somewhat engaged’ — another unfortunate number that hasn’t progressed since 2016. But the one thing that has changed is the importance of engagement to employees. So, if you’re not one to swim with the tide, and you’re ready to learn how you can drive impactful change at your organization — take a look at these results.

Top 11 workplace training attributes employees want

When it comes to workplace training, here’s what employees feel is most important:

Top training attributes from the Ipsos Workplace Training Study

  1. Ranking as a top priority, easy to complete and understand training is important to 93% of all employees. This is up from 90% in 2016.
  2. Jumping to 2nd place, personalized and relevant training has increased in importance quite significantly from 85% in 2016, to 91%.
  3. The fun factor has also increased in standing from 85% to 90%, as more employees are placing an emphasis on training that is engaging and fun.
  4. The ability to access information anytime and anywhere is also climbing in significance. 89% of employees indicate that knowledge on demand is important, with 50% of those employees indicating this feature as very important.
  5. Being able to apply training on the job has increased in importance to employees from 86% in 2016 to 88%. But, within different age groups, Millennials place a higher importance on this at 92%, Gen Xers at 89%, and Baby Boomers at 85%.
  6. Being paid to complete training has also increased in overall importance. 86% of employees feel it’s important to be paid to complete training as part of their regular wages, versus 84% in 2016. In fact, over half of employees place a high premium on this. Although, it appears to be less important to Baby Boomers (46%, very important) than Gen Xers (57%) and Millennials (54%).
  7. 85% of employees believe it’s important to have the ability to pick optimum training times. Generation Xers place slightly more importance on this ability (88%) than Millennials (85%) or Baby Boomers (82%).
  8. 80% of employees feel it’s important to receive regular, frequent training so they don’t forget the information, up from 73% in 2016.
  9. 67% of employees feel it’s important to receive anytime, anywhere training, up from 64% in 2016. Within employee age groups though, Millennials (75%) and Gen Xers (72%) place a higher importance on this while it’s significantly less important to Baby Boomers (56%).
  10. Over two-thirds (67%) of employees feel it’s important to have short training sessions versus 64% in 2016. Of note, though, is that Millennials place a higher importance on short training sessions (74%) versus Generation X (69%) and Baby Boomers (58%).
  11. Overall, 59% of employees surveyed place importance on training that offers rewards or points, which hasn’t changed from 2016. But, within age groups, Millennials place far more importance on this (69%) than Baby Boomers (46%), with Gen Xers being somewhere in the middle (64%). And, with 65% of employees being in Gen X or Millennial age groups, this is a significant portion of the workforce.


There you have it. The research is clear: employees want to be engaged in effective training — but most companies are simply not equipped to accommodate such needs. One-size-fits-all training programs are not enough to provide an individualized and continuous approach to learning. In today’s climate, it’s absolutely crucial for organizations to enable its workers to develop their individual strengths which will positively impact their job success — and therefore, the company’s bottom line.

So, if you want to do more than float along with the status quo and drive real, impactful change for your employees and your business — I encourage you to look further into the research, do your own reading, and feel free to get in touch with one of our experts. We’re always more than happy to talk to those looking to learn more.

Speak to an expert

Carol isn’t your typical leader. She’s driving a revolutionary approach to employee knowledge, but she’s also a doors-open, come-see-me-anytime kind of executive. Carol doesn’t just talk the talk—she definitely walks the walk. You can read more from her on Training Industry Magazine, ATD, CLO and as a regular contributor for Fortune.

Let’s work together to drive frontline performance in all the right ways.