There is not a business in the UK that hasn’t been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and, with restrictions lifted, leaders face difficult decisions about how they are going to navigate a post-pandemic world. But their employees are also looking to the future; in the UK, resignations are at a five year high, with 4.7% of workers leaving their roles in the wake of lockdowns.
Upskilling and reskilling have always been fundamental components of employee experience, but with technology advancing quicker than ever before, workers are acutely aware of the need to update their skills – and they expect their employer to be making this a priority. But, with the pandemic forcing businesses into damage-limitation mode, leaders are failing to take the long view when it comes to talent.
Immerse’s recent report, The Upskill Ultimatum, examines the predictions of 1,000 knowledge workers and 1,000 HR professionals across a range of sectors on the future of training. The data reveals that nearly half of UK and US employees are prepared to move companies if they don’t receive the training they need – and many are not. Organisations that are delaying a training overhaul are at risk of losing their best people.
Traditional training is broken
Our research reveals that a quarter of employees do not feel they have learned anything new through workplace training in the last year, and 7% say they haven’t not learnt anything new in the last two years. This learning drought is having a noticeable impact, with half of HR professionals reporting an emerging skills gap in their organisation, resulting in operational company risk.
Nearly half of HR professionals (49%) believe that today’s training deployment is inadequate for a hybrid working world, and this number is only set to grow. The last year has proved the capabilities of virtual working, now is the time to embrace virtual learning. But companies need to go beyond e-learning, looking to cutting edge-technologies to reboot their L&D.
Making way for new methods
Although employees are keener than ever to learn, they are still struggling to make the time. HR teams are challenged with bringing training closer to the workstream, while using a method that allows employees to disconnect from their daily tasks and completely focus on learning.
Immersive training platforms – such as virtual reality (VR) – allow for microlearning, where training is delivered in more manageable bitesize sessions at a time that suits the individual. Not only it is flexible, but it is highly impactful; immersing employees in highly-realistic simulated training scenarios allows them to gain ‘hands-on’ experience without disruption to actual production or office environments.
Almost three out of five employees (58%) say that the use of immersive tech would make training exciting for the first time ever. These technologies not only have the power to make training more engaging and accessible but to solve critical business challenges. Sixty-four per cent of HR professionals believe that on-demand immersive training could be the key to solving the productivity crisis in the workplace, and 70% say that it would provide safe training in high-risk scenarios.
But despite the wide-ranging benefits, our research shows that businesses are dragging their feet when it comes to embracing this transformative technology.
The upskill ultimatum
Our study reveals that two-thirds of HR professionals believe companies that fail to employ cutting-edge training technologies will struggle to attract and retain top talent. Traditional training is no longer going to cut it, but although HR teams can see this change coming, they’re not moving fast enough. But, on average, organisations don’t expect to have fully rolled out immersive training solutions until 2028. By this time, they could have already seen a huge talent exodus, with their best employees jumping ship to join the organisations that have embraced change.
There is a lot of discussion around skills shortages, and whether Brexit or the pandemic are to blame – but there is a lack of action. Now is the time for businesses to embrace innovative platforms and transform their training. Those that fail to make this a priority risk losing their best talent.