'Time-starved': one in four workers didn't join company training

Companies also accused of not offering relevant training

'Time-starved': one in four workers didn't join company training

One in four employees were not able to enrol nor attend any company-offered learning and development (L&D) programmes last year, according to the NTUC LearningHub, as employee sentiment on the importance of L&D dipped in 2022.

According to the NTUC LearningHub's State of Workplace Learning Report, only 81% of employees put high importance on L&D in 2022, lower than last year's 99%.

It also found that despite 73% of employees wanting to participate in company-offered training, 26% were not able to join them due to lack of time (52%) and heavy workload (45%).

Aslam Sardar, chief executive officer at the Institute for Human Resource Professionals, said the findings of the report "do not come as a surprise."

"Given the disruptions brought upon by the pandemic, employees are still learning how to overcome the challenge of wearing multiple hats and juggling different work expectations at the same time. This gives rise to a situation where learning and development takes a backseat, and employees find difficulties in devoting time towards upskilling," explained Sardar.

In addition, the report also found that only 78% of employees believe their employers offered relevant training in 2022.

According to these employees, trainings offered had a boring and conventional approach (31%) and had a limited range of topics covered (23%).

Read more: NTUC offers bite-sized training to one industry

What can employers do?

Sean Lim, chief human resource officer of NTUC LearningHub, said that employers need to adopt different strategies to make it easier for "time-starved" employees to participate in trainings.

"New ways of learning, such as blended learning (i.e., online learning), or bite-sized learning (i.e., modular, asynchronous learning), can be adopted to complement work commitments. This allows employers to take a practical approach in learning and development, while allowing employees to learn more effectively and comfortably," suggested Lim in a statement.

"Employees can also bring real-world projects to training lessons, so that whatever is learnt in real-time can be applied back to the workplace. This helps shorten the application loop and enhance relevance in the application of knowledge."

Organisational leaders also have an essential role to play in this. According to Lim, employers should understand that business growth goes "hand in hand" with employees' development and performance.

"Therefore, employers should encourage their employees to upgrade and upskill, and continually review their learning strategies for relevance, as well as quality and application of selected programmes."

Sardar added that it is up to senior management in establishing a learning environment for employees.

"Fostering a culture of lifelong learning within an organisation is important as it helps build competencies amongst its people, which is important in an increasingly complex economic climate. Therefore, senior management must set the tone when it comes to creating a conducive environment for learning," said the CEO.

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