Survey: Training participation lags, even as offerings move online

Dive Brief:

  • The majority of employers surveyed by ThinkHR [now Mineral] — 91% — said they had some trouble with employee training, particularly keeping up with training compliance requirements and getting employees to complete training. Online training remains the most popular way training is delivered.
  • More employers are planning to offer diversity, equity and inclusion training in 2021 compared to last year, according to the report — a jump from 35% to 50% saying they had DEI training plans for the new year. Workplace health and safety training also saw huge jumps due in part to the pandemic.
  • Training cost and quality were the most important factors employers considered when evaluating training, followed closely by ease of use, the report said.

Dive Insight:

The sudden shift to remote work in 2020 put particular spotlight on L&D, especially online training. On LinkedIn Learning alone, users watched 7.7 million hours of courses in April 2020, three times the amount watched in February of that year. A separate May survey from LinkedIn also noted the growing importance of learning overall, with 68% of respondents saying that the level of urgency around learning program launches has “increased substantially.”

The push to all-online learning out of necessity may be a boon to workforce development in the long run, Monne Williams, partner at McKinsey & Co, said in a McKinsey Live panel in November.

“We’re living in an unprecedented moment where people are more comfortable with virtual tools than they ever have been before,” Williams said, meaning future online learning programs may have lower barriers to entry than prior to the pandemic.

Notably, attention to D&I training spiked after social justice protests took place in summer 2020, reflected in ThinkHR’s data. Numerous learning program providers, including LinkedIn, Udemy and Skillsoft, said they saw huge growth in interest in their D&I training programs, even beyond compliance-styled training.

“[We] know from our clients that supplementing that learning with discussion and reflection can be a really powerful tool to turn learning into action,” Jolie Miller, head of business content strategy for LinkedIn Learning, previously told HR Dive.


This article was authored by Kathryn Moody and published on February 23, 2021 by HR Dive.