Two in three businesses have no clear employee training plans

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Only 29% of organisations claim to have a clear training programme plan for employees, according to a report by CIPD and Accenture.

The Learning and Skills at Work 2020 report showed that, based on a survey of more than 1,200 employers, one in five organisations do not use any technology to support learning. Many rely on classroom-based training.

Skills development is being frustrated by the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic, says the report, which calls for organisations to harness digital learning methods. It says companies must foster a culture of supportive learning.

Nearly 80% of employers have taken up learning technologies, with leaders showing signs of growth in digital learning. But barriers to digital learning still persist.

Adoption of emerging technologies has been slow, with innovations such as augmented reality, virtual reality and mobile apps only being used by a minority of organisations.

Many in-house learning and development roles are dominated by face-to-face trainers, whereas digital asset creators or curator researchers are rare. The majority of employers lack the skills needed to deliver training that could set them apart.

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The report also suggests a link between learning and productivity. Of those with above-average productivity, 84% said their learning strategy is linked to business needs, compared with just 43% of companies with below-average productivity.

Barriers to the delivery of training and learning were cited as a lack of time, limited budgets and a lack of support.

Peter Cheese, CEO of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said: “Learning has never been more important for business, the UK and working lives – we needed it before COVID-19 and we need it even more now.

Yet this report highlights the gap between companies who know this, following through with strategic investment, professional practice, new technologies and time to learn – versus those who know the importance, but allow it to be the first thing cut from the budget.”

Andy Young, managing director of talent & organisation at Accenture, said: “Technology was already disrupting the world of work, and now with most of the workforce going virtual, the pandemic is accelerating the need to harness human and digital skills.

“While digital learning is commonplace in our personal lives, our report shows that many UK organisations have not invested in this as a competitive advantage, risking significant skills gaps.

With new solutions such as virtual and augmented reality that simulate difficult situations, gaming technology, and films to encourage decision making and new behaviours, employers can revolutionise their training plans at a time when their people need it the most.”