Employers are struggling to find the skills and talent they need and employees often struggle to keep up with an ever changing set of technical skills. Meanwhile, independent online courses and MOOCS are exploding, and you have companies like LinkedIn betting billions on the idea that employees will train themselves with their acquisition of Lynda.com. So, where do employees stand in this discussion?

Saba’s Global Workforce Leadership Survey conducted in March, along with WorkplaceTrends.com, surfaced some very interesting answers.

  • A whopping 82% of polled employees feel that there is still a need for employer-sponsored development, even though you can teach yourself nearly anything on YouTube now.
  • 66% would prefer to be trained by their company than to go out and train themselves.

This may be simply a matter of cost – who would want to pay to learn a skill if their employer will pay for it, but I think it’s more than that. So, heads up employers, if you were thinking of reducing your employee development budget this year – it might be the wrong time to do it. Our January Harris Poll found that 36% of US employees were planning to leave their jobs in the next six months and lack of development was the top reason cited.

  • 76% of those surveyed believe that their company should invest in their personal development.

A rather generous 63% feel that their company’s current training and development programs are effective and 62% said they make them more effective at their jobs. But, when asked the top ways that they acquire job skills, only 11% said company-provided training, and 62% said on the job experience.

So, it’s pretty clear that there is room for improvement in employee development programs, but where to start? Well, step number one may be to look at technology. I was shocked to learn from our survey that more than half of the respondents are not using technology for learning and development. I assume that means they are delivering instructor-led training, and have not automated the registration or tracking of it. Wow! But, I suppose that explains why the Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2015 report found that “less than 25 percent of companies feel comfortable with today’s digital learning environment.”

Well, here at Saba, we are more than comfortable with today’s digital learning environment, as we were one of the pioneers of it, and we are continuing to push the boundaries and incorporate new technologies every day. But, don’t be intimidated, just get educated! One place to start learning about personalized employee development and coaching is to download our eBook: “The Essential Guide to Career Development and Coaching” – you’ll find 5 simple strategies to get started. If you’re looking to retain your talent, it’s clearly no time to be uneducated about employee development!