Workers Want More Learning, but Don’t See the Answer in AI

Abandoned Classroom

A significant minority of employees believe they’re not receiving the learning support they need in order to grow and develop at work. They consider that a problem.

Some 41% of employees say they don’t have the tools and resources they need to develop their skills, according to research from Cornerstone OnDemand. But a clear majority want help. Nearly two-thirds, 65%, want additional learning content, while 62% seek more coaching and mentoring.  

Employers are aware of these needs, but aren’t doing all they can to address them. The average employer, Cornerstone said, is familiar with basic learning but has only just begun to explore more innovative techniques.

Among other things, those companies haven’t really leveraged automation, and may not have a robust learning strategy in place. Only 37% of the companies report having learner-centric tools that can streamline talent processes and information.  

A World of Disconnects

Today, of course, HR departments are likely to consider applying artificial intelligence to the demand for more sophisticated learning. But the use of AI is complicated by the attitude of employees. They don’t want AI to take over their learning and activities, said a recent survey by Wiley. More than half of Wiley’s respondents – around 59% — preferred having a human instructor in charge of their workforce development, as opposed to the mere 7% that preferred AI.

Plus, workers aren’t sold on AI’s teaching abilities. Research conducted by Executive Networks for NovoEd found that 42% of Gen Z employees would rather update their skills and capabilities by learning from their peers, as opposed to AI. In fact, when it comes to learning, AI ranked lower as an approach than YouTube (36%), friends and family (30%) and their company’s HR team (23%).

More Disconnects

Another complication: However they go about it, 88% of employers believe they can develop their workforce’s skills, but only 59% of employees agree – a 29% “confidence gap.” That’s about the same-sized gap as Cornerstone found when it began researching skills confidence in 2020. In other words, most employers aren’t gaining trust with their approach to learning.

It’s a different story at high-performing organizations – those that gave themselves high marks for customer satisfaction, productivity, employee retention and overall performance. Typically, these companies pursued more effective approaches to content strategy, skills strategy and performance management, Cornerstone said. Their skills gap stood at 6%, five times less than the average.

High-performing companies were also perceived more positively by their employees. The great majority of their workers, 96%, said their organization tangibly demonstrates how they help employees develop. The same number believes their employer cares about them and their growth.

Image: iStock

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