A recent study by CYPHER Learning reveals significant issues with learning and development (L&D) in the workplace, highlighting how ineffective management and insufficient training programs are affecting career growth and job satisfaction.
The findings suggest that a considerable number of employees, especially younger workers, are prepared to leave their jobs due to these shortcomings.The report, titled From Skills to Success: L&D Insights for the Modern Workforce, surveyed 4,500 workers, including 2,000 from the UK. The research indicates that inadequate L&D is a major factor in job dissatisfaction, with 77% of UK workers feeling their organisation’s L&D could be improved. Notably, 31% of respondents believe poor L&D negatively impacts their job satisfaction, and 37% are considering leaving their jobs because of it. Younger workers, aged 18-34, are particularly affected, with 44% contemplating a job change.

Managers Failing to Support Career Progression

The study also reveals that many employees feel unsupported by their managers. While 73% of UK workers think that those with vocal and attentive managers are more likely to be promoted, 50% believe their own managers are ill-equipped to help them advance in their careers. Additionally, 68% of UK workers expressed a desire for more guidance and training to navigate the unspoken rules of the workplace.

A significant portion of the workforce feels unprepared for the workplace, with 63% of UK employees stating that their education did not adequately prepare them for their careers. This sentiment is especially strong among younger workers, with 67% of 18-24-year-olds agreeing.

Lack of Trust in HR and Skepticism Towards Training

Trust in HR departments is low, with 55% of UK workers doubting that HR looks out for their interests. Additionally, 9% of employees would feel sceptical if offered bespoke training, questioning the motives behind it.

The research also highlights concerns about the fairness of promotions. Two-thirds of UK workers believe that career progression is based more on popularity than competency, and 74% have observed undeserving individuals being promoted. This issue is particularly pronounced for introverts, who often feel excluded from advancement opportunities.

Call for Improved L&D Programs

Graham Glass, CEO of CYPHER Learning, emphasises the need for organisations to prioritise L&D to retain talent. “Transparency is key to building trust. People need to know that their future does not rest solely in the hands of an incompetent or disinterested manager,” he said. The research indicates that companies with effective training programs can significantly improve employee satisfaction and retention. For instance, 23% of UK employees found their training exceptionally rewarding, and 22% felt highly valued and empowered by their employer’s investment in their development.

Despite the benefits of effective training, many employees are not receiving adequate development opportunities. The study found that 15% of UK workers received no training in the past year, and 40% feel that insufficient workplace training hinders their career progression. Furthermore, 71% believe that training is often a one-size-fits-all approach that does not cater to individual needs.

The Importance of a Continuous Learning Culture

When asked about their training preferences, 88% of UK workers indicated they would feel encouraged if offered bespoke training, provided the content and delivery were appropriate. Additionally, 64% preferred training to be delivered at the point of need. Soft skills, particularly leadership, were highly valued, with many employees wanting both themselves and their managers to receive training in this area.

Glass concludes, “A workforce that feels valued, inspired, and invigorated is worth its weight in gold. When a continuous culture of learning is created, employees are given the tools to thrive and grow. This is the power that a structured L&D programme can deliver.” He emphasises that with the advent of AI-enabled L&D, personalised and timely training at scale is achievable, enhancing employee motivation and career advancement.