Learning & Development

Is There an Employee-Employer Gap Regarding Value of Corporate L&D?

A recent survey conducted by edX involving over 800 C-suite executives and 800 employees reveals a significant disconnect between employees and employers regarding the value of learning and development (L&D) programs. While 84% of employees expect their employers to provide necessary training and education, 51% of executives view existing L&D programs as a waste of time.

This disparity extends to satisfaction levels with L&D programs: 65% of executives believe employees are very satisfied, but only 32% of employees agree.

The survey highlights that employees value career development and are willing to switch jobs for better learning opportunities. Over three-quarters of respondents indicate they would stay longer at their current jobs if their organizations offered better training.

In addition, 39% say they’re currently considering leaving their jobs within a year for better L&D opportunities.

Andy Morgan from edX emphasizes the need for effective L&D strategies, including providing time during work hours for courses and adopting a cohort-based class structure for deeper learning.

Exploring the Disconnect

The disconnect between employees’ desire for effective L&D and employers’ skepticism about its value can be attributed to two key factors:

Misalignment of expectations: Employers may view L&D as a supplementary benefit rather than a core part of employee development. In contrast, employees see it as essential for staying relevant in their fields. This difference in perspective leads to a mismatch in the investment and quality of L&D initiatives.

Ineffective implementation: Often, L&D programs aren’t tailored to the actual needs of the workforce or are delivered in formats that don’t engage employees effectively. This leads to an employee perception that these programs aren’t beneficial, reinforcing executives’ belief that they’re a waste of time and resources.

The Importance of L&D for Employers

Employers that downplay the importance of L&D could be missing out on some key benefits.

  • Knowledge and skill development: Training and development help keep employees up to date on industry changes and the ongoing evolution of technology and business practices. L&D helps build a workforce that’s both competent and competitive.
  • Engagement: Employee engagement is a must-have in today’s competitive work environment. Companies are at risk of both losing employees and failing to meet customer expectations if they don’t maintain an engaged team. When employees are supported, they’re motivated and committed to their jobs and the companies they work for.
  • Recruitment and retention: Offering robust L&D opportunities can be a significant factor in attracting top talent. It also plays a critical role in retaining employees, as edX’s survey results indicate.

The gap in perceptions about L&D between employees and employers highlights a need for a strategic reevaluation of these programs.

By aligning L&D initiatives with employee needs and industry trends, and delivering them in engaging formats, employers can leverage these programs not just for skill enhancement but also for boosting engagement, recruitment, and retention.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.

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