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Bridging the Confidence Gap Between Leaders and their Employees

To help bridge the gap in skill development confidence between employers and employees, leaders must cultivate a holistic learning culture.

As the future of work is looking more likely to focus on learning and development (L&D) for crucial skills training, research is finding a critical gap in confidence between employers and employees when it comes to boosting critical skills. Investing in L&D while cultivating a holistic learning culture can help bridge the gap.

The Confidence Gap in Learning Between Employers and Employees

Cornerstone OnDemand, a global leader in people development solutions, released the results of their spring survey of 500 global C-suite executives, HR leaders, learning and development (L&D) and talent management professionals at organizations with 500 or more employees, as well as 1,000 employees working at such organizations across the globe. For both employer and employee respondents, the majority came from North America, followed by EMEA and APAC.

The survey found that 90% of employers feel confident about their ability to develop the skills of their employees, with 87% of employers feeling fully equipped with the resources to develop those skills. However, 60% of employees felt confident that their organizations could develop their skills, and 62% felt their organizations were well-equipped with adequate skill development resources. Why the confidence gap, and what can employers do to help bridge it?

Time, Money, and Direction as Obstacles to Employee Learning

Overall, employees felt like they don’t have enough time, money or direction to fully take advantage of their organization’s learning opportunities, with 61% reporting time as the biggest barrier. Additionally, almost half of employee respondents felt concerned that their roles would change in the next few years and 30% felt their jobs would become obsolete. Feelings of hopelessness are likely exaggerated by a new world of work characterized by unprecedented changes from how we work to the types of roles that are needed. The modern workforce is quickly transforming, and 91% of non-HR executives, 88% of HR leaders and 76% of employees believe these current challenges we face will significantly alter the future work experience.

This gap in employer-employee sentiment is a challenge as well as an opportunity for business and talent leaders. Employers can start by cultivating a holistic learning culture through cementing skill development as a core value in addition to fostering strong change management practices. Learning should be demonstrated as “part of” the work, not “apart from” the work. Additionally, a culture of learning understands the fundamental adaptability of learning. In other words, employees need the opportunity to learn how they want, where they want, and as often as they want, allowing learning to become their constant companion. Proper skill development planning and investment in learning technology can then take learning to the next level.

What skills do employers and employees want?

Just as important as building a culture of learning is understanding what skills both employers and employees are looking for. According to the survey, employers want to develop the technology to enable and scale skills as well as technical training, especially for STEM work. Employees also want technology skills, in addition to skills in leadership, communication, data analysis and mental and emotional health skills. Organizations reported adaptability, agility, creativity, critical thinking, communication, and learning new skills as important skills to develop.

Developing these skills requires a shift in organizational thinking towards a culture of holistic learning where employees feel empowered to learn and grow in their roles. Doing so can help employers bridge the confidence gap they have with their employees, as well as help their organization navigate the future of work.

For mobility professionals looking to boost their learning and development, the Worldwide ERC® Learning Portal offers a collection of online professional development courses and learning options that enable mobility professionals to expand their industry knowledge, earn badges and pursue continuing education credits. Skill building is also available through an investment Worldwide ERC® has made in LinkedIn Learning for premium subscribers.

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