Axonify Releases Third Annual State of Frontline Workplace Training Study

Only 41% of employers are preparing their frontline for the future of work

WATERLOO, Ontario, August 22, 2019 — Axonify, a global leader in microlearning, today announced results from its third annual State of Frontline Workplace Training Study conducted in June 2019 by global market research firm Ipsos. Once again, this year’s survey found that many frontline employees are lacking the development opportunities they urgently want. Nearly one-third of frontline employees do not receive any formal workplace training, a number that has remained stagnant year over year. Not surprisingly, this lack of formal training is even higher for part-time employees (36%), which has significant implications for the retail industry in particular.

Unlike many other training industry reports which survey human resources practitioners, learning professionals and corporate management regarding their training practices, Ipsos engaged real frontline employees from a range of industries to find out what is most important to them when it comes to how they are supported on the job.

“The frontline employee is often an under-supported segment of the workforce,” said Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify. “With more than 2.7 billion people working in a frontline environment such as retail stores, restaurants, manufacturing plants, healthcare facilities, transportation and contact centers, their impact on the bottom line is crucial for most businesses.”

The main highlights from the research include:

Reskilling and upskilling are not only required, they’re desired

According to the World Economic Forum, more than half of the world’s workforce will need significant reskilling by 2023. While there is much uncertainty around how frontline jobs will evolve and what skills will be required to perform these new jobs, the research clearly demonstrated that employees are anticipating these changes and want training that prepares them for what lies ahead.

  • More than three-quarters (76%) of employees feel the opportunity to complete additional training designed to develop their skills for the future would make an employer (present or prospective) more appealing to them. When broken down by employment status, 79% of full-time employees echo this sentiment versus 66% of part-time employees.
  • Future-focused development is especially valued by those starting out their career, with nine out of ten Millennials (89%) saying they are interested in future-focused training compared to 81% of Gen Xers and only 59% of Baby Boomers.
  • Despite a healthy appetite for additional training that develops skills for the future, only 41% of employees say their employer offers this kind of development.

“Preparing the frontline workforce for the future is a win-win situation,” says Leaman.  “Employees get the future-focused training they want and organizations build the future-proof workforce they need to ensure continued business success. The challenge for Human Resources and Learning and Development leaders will be to deliver training at scale so they can equip the modern frontline employee with the knowledge and skills they need to keep up with the pace of business.”

Training effectiveness across industries

While 59% of respondents report that training is very effective in helping them do their job well, that number differs widely based on the respondent’s industry.

IndustryTraining rating
Finance and Insurance67% Effective
Professional Sales70% Effective
Manufacturing58% Effective
Logistics47% Effective
Contact Center47% Effective
Retail55% Effective

Of those that said their training was not effective, some of the reasons they indicated included:

  • In Manufacturing and Logistics, 37% only receive training a few times per year and 34% of Manufacturing employees said they are trained on the wrong things that don’t help them do their job.
  • In Retail, 27% said their training is boring and not engaging and 43% of Finance and Insurance respondents agreed.
  • In Contact Centers, 43% said too much information is thrown at them at once.

Important attributes for effective frontline workplace training

We know that disengagement is a continuous issue employers face, two-thirds to be exact. The 2019 State of Frontline Workplace Training Study found 81% of employees believe training makes them feel more engaged (happy) at work. And 79% of participants feel that more frequent training would make them feel even more engaged. Across industries, here are the additional top attributes the research discovered make training effective:

  • The most desirable attribute for the third year in a row is training that is easy to complete and understand (91%).
  • The ability to access information from anywhere, at any time is also important to employees (90%).
  • Training that is personalized and relevant remains a top-ranked attribute (89%). Over the three-year history of this study, training that’s boring/not engaging consistently ranks as one of the top two reasons for ineffectiveness (91% in 2018).
  • The ability to apply training on the job is also an important attribute (87%). It’s interesting to note that this was extremely important across the board—regardless of industry, age and employment status.

Study Methodology

Findings from the 2019 State of Frontline Workplace Training Study were derived from an Ipsos poll conducted from June 10-18, 2019. For the survey, more than 1000 U.S. adults over the age of 18 were interviewed online, in English. The sample includes both full-time (74%) and part-time (26%) employed people. For the purpose of this survey, frontline employees refers to employees across a variety of industries including Retail, Contact Center, Professional Sales, Finance and Insurance, and Manufacturing and Logistics.

Download the full report here, which includes the study findings along with a detailed picture of the modern frontline worker’s learning needs and recommendations for building a learning experience to match.

Read the Ipsos Press Release here.

For more information, visit our blog.

 

About Axonify

Axonify is the microlearning platform trusted by global leaders to make sure their frontline employees remember to do the things that matter most to the business. It delivers focused, bite-sized bursts of information in the way humans learn best, wrapped in an adaptive, engaging experience that fits right into the workflow—for just 3-5 minutes a day. With more than 130 customers in 95 countries around the world, including Walmart, Bloomingdale’s, John Hancock and Merck, Axonify makes learning personal to the individual and impactful for the business. Founded in 2011, Axonify is headquartered in Waterloo, ON Canada.

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