Why Upskilling Fails to Deliver Employee Engagement

CoachHub · 23 March 2022 · 4 min read

The Cost of Ineffective Upskilling Programs

Irrelevance. That’s what everyone is implicitly trying to avoid when they speak about upskilling. The conundrum is, employees fear being laid off in favor of new talent, or robots, but companies need to constantly innovate or risk falling behind their competitors.

The pandemic and its catastrophic effects on the economy have only further stoked these fears. More than ever, employees are attending courses, whether on their own volition or their companies’, to keep themselves and their organizations ahead of the pack. As a result, demand for upskilling is at an all time high.

70% of employees in Singapore express a desire to stay relevant by attending courses and globally, the projected growth for the corporate e-learning market between 2020 and 2024 is a whopping $38 billion!

Yet, it seems HR departments are failing to capture their colleagues’ attention with their in-house training programs. According to an article in Singapore, most employees prefer attending courses outside the workplace. Which shows there might be a disconnect between what companies are offering, and what employees expect.

The cost of ineffective upskilling programs

According to The Industry Report, companies spend an average of over $1,000 per head on training programs. As with most business expenses, this high level of expenditure only makes sense if companies get back their dollars’ worth in terms of increased productivity. This is especially so for larger organizations, where larger headcounts can lead to escalating costs. And money’s not the only concern.

Time spent training is time spent away from work. On average, companies spend up to 102.6 hours training their employees, the equivalent of more than twelve business days.

When you’ve invested that level of resources into your employees, it can be discouraging to hear research in Singapore that shows 46% of employees are not interested in courses that are offered to them. This is despite 86% of millennials saying that they would stay in positions where training and development programs are offered. What gives?

Employees don’t have access to skills that they want

The picture becomes clearer when you take the current job market into account. We live in a time when formal qualifications are depreciating in value and demand for candidates with practical skills and proven track records are high. There’s also the looming threat of A.I. threatening to make many jobs redundant.

Training programs that are given the green light don’t engage employees because they do not equip them with the skills that they wish to learn. Because of limited budgets, companies are often only willing to invest in skills that directly relate to the employee’s job scope. On the flip side, employees want to expand their horizons by exploring new areas.

But multi-disciplinary and multi-skilled individuals can bring much value to companies, especially during a time when remote and hybrid work is proliferating. With limited in-person guidance, employees who can pick up new skills and manage cross department issues independently are incredibly valuable.

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Upskilling requires more time and commitment than companies can afford

Companies don’t realize just how much employees wish to upskill.

A 2021 study by PWC astonishingly revealed that 77% of employees are even willing to completely retrain, just to provide themselves with more employment options.

The reality however is that learning new skills takes time – far more than many companies are able to spend. 1 in 2 employees also find themselves too busy with increased workloads impeding their ability to find time to focus on improving themselves.

Here’s a breakdown of what it takes to pick up some of the more in-demand skills:

The time investment required to effectively upskill is so large that it can only be realistically achieved if employees are self-motivated enough. That sort of enthusiasm can hardly be fostered if employees are constantly fed programs that they didn’t ask for.

It makes much more sense for training programs to be tailor-suited to individuals which will meet the demands of 9 in 10 employees, who want their upskilling journey to be personalized. On the company’s end, regular check-ins and conversations with employees can help ensure that employees are on track with their upskilling goals, and also allows both parties to figure out a way to incorporate their newfound skills into the business.

Help employees realize their full potential with personalized training

Upskilling and development does not have to feel like a chore. Let employees customize their own skills packages and schedule their own lessons so that they can learn in a time and setting that is optimal for growth. Select from CoachHub’s global pool of over 3,500 certified business coaches, to find one who resonates best with your employees. Through micro-learning sessions and daily reflections, you can be sure that your employees will be engaged and learning, in a way that benefits them, and their company.

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CoachHub is the leading global talent development platform that enables organizations to create a personalized, measurable and scalable coaching program for the entire workforce, regardless of department and seniority level. By doing so, organizations are able to reap a multitude of benefits, including increased employee engagement, higher levels of productivity, improved job performance and increased retention. CoachHub’s global pool of coaches is comprised of over 3,500 certified business coaches in 90 countries across six continents with coaching sessions available in over 60 languages, to serve more than 500 clients. Our programs are based on advanced R&D from our Coaching Lab, led by Prof. Jonathan Passmore and our Science Council. CoachHub is backed by leading tech investors, including Sofina, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Molten Ventures, Speedinvest, HV Capital, Partech and Silicon Valley Bank/SVB Capital. In September 2021, CoachHub acquired French digital coaching pioneer MoovOne to build a global champion focused on jointly democratizing coaching. CoachHub is committed to creating a greener future and is a certified carbon neutral company since 2022.
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