'L&D leaders need to tailor content curation, development, and delivery strategies to unique learning preferences of different generations if they hope to use learning as a competitive lever'
Over two in five (46%) employees believe that university failed to prepare them for their current jobs, with a quarter (25%) saying higher education best prepared them for their role.
When it comes to transitioning into the workforce, 61% of employees said work experience best prepared them for their current roles, followed by formal on-the-job training (41%) and life experience (37%), according to a survey by learning content provider Go1.
Interestingly, when asked what they wish they had known before entering the workforce, 50% of employees said how to approach career progression, followed by fundamentals of the role (32%) and how to collaborate with people in other departments (31%).
L&D opportunities important for attraction, retention
When deciding where to work or whether to stay at a job, around two-thirds (66%) of employees believe learning and development opportunities are absolutely essential and valuable.
While increasing their salary potential is the top motivator to acquire new skills for Gen Z employees (45%), general personal development is the top motivator for Boomer (62%), Gen X (55%) and millennial (51%) employees, found the Go1 survey of over 3,000 employees in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.
"The widening representation of age groups in the workforce has introduced new attitudes and beliefs when it comes to the way that employees like to work and learn," Chris Eigeland, CEO and Co-Founder at Go1, said in a statement. "This presents a challenge for leaders looking to upskill and realise the benefits of a generationally diverse workforce."
Getting L&D strategies right
The biggest frustration for employees when it comes to L&D is when it is approached as a "box-ticking exercise," according to 30% of the respondents. Others cited:
- Boring learning content (27%)
- Not personalised (24%)
- Too long (24%)
Another 44% of respondents also agreed that their organisation might not be making the most of its potential for upskilling and growth.
"L&D leaders will need to find new ways to tailor content curation, development, and delivery strategies to the unique learning preferences of different generations if they hope to use learning as a competitive lever and close workforce skills gaps," Eigeland said.
The research also revealed the influence of video-based platforms like TikTok on how employees are consuming and engaging with learning content. Short videos of less than three minutes (47%) and on-the-job training with a real-life instructor (46%) are the top learning content types provided by employers, which is also consistent with the types employees like to use for learning, at 42% and 47% respectively.
“The ability to personalize learning to the varied needs of different generations can mean the difference between a high-performing workforce and an underpar one,” said Eigeland. “L&D leaders will need to find new ways to tailor content curation, development and delivery strategies to the unique learning preferences of different generations if they hope to use learning as a competitive lever and close workforce skills gaps.
Opening up to AI
With the entrance of AI to workplaces, nearly half (48%) of the respondents said they are open to using AI-generated learning materials, found Go1. Another 45% agreed that AI will help them develop skills needed in the workplace more quickly.
The findings indicate that employees might be warming up to AI potentially training them, after they initially expressed preference for human-generated content over AI when it comes to L&D.
In addition, using generative AI (44%) and finding information more quickly (46%) were named the top skills most needed to stay ahead of the AI curve. Younger workers are more likely to see AI as critical to their development, with around a third of Gen Z employees (31%) and millennials (31%) looking to generative AI as the only learning tools they need, compared to 18% of Gen X and 12% of Boomer employees.