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Study: Frontline employees often lack training

BY Dan Berthiaume

Frontline employees are interested in skill development, but that doesn’t mean they are getting it.

According to the 2019 “State of Frontline Workplace Training Study” from microlearning platform Axonify and market research firm Ipsos, many frontline employees are lacking the development opportunities they want. The survey of more than 1,000 part-time and full-time employed adults indicates nearly one-third of frontline employees do not receive any formal workplace training, a number that has remained consistent year over year.

Not surprisingly, this lack of formal training is even higher for part-time employees (36%). However, more than three-quarters (76%) of respondents feel the opportunity to complete additional training designed to develop their skills for the future would make a present or prospective employer more appealing. Broken down by employment status, 79% of full-time employees and 66% of part-time employees gave this response.

Younger respondents showed more interest in future-focused training. Nine out of ten millennials (89%), 81% of Gen Xers and 59% of baby boomers said training for future skills boosts their opinion of an employer. Yet only 41% of respondents say their employer offers this kind of development.

While 59% of overall respondents reported that training is very effective in helping them do their job well, that number differs based on the respondent’s industry. Fifty-five percent of retail respondents consider their training very effective, while 27% said their training is boring and not engaging.

Other notable results include:

• 81% of respondents believe training makes them feel more engaged (happy) at work.

• 79% feel that more frequent training would make them feel even more engaged.

• The most desirable attribute for the third year in a row is training that is easy to complete and understand (91%).

• The ability to access information from anywhere, at any time is important to 90% of respondents.

• Training that is personalized and relevant remains a top-ranked attribute (89%). Over the three-year history of this study, training that is boring/not engaging consistently ranks as one of the top two reasons for ineffectiveness (91% in 2018).

• The ability to apply training on the job is also an important attribute (87%) across the board—regardless of industry, age and employment status.

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