Unclear Roles Between Managers And Employees Pose Key Challenge In Workplace Learning

DigitalCFO Newsroom | 15 September 2022

Clear and open communication at the workplace is important.

  • Employees are more likely to regard managers as the main champion for workplace learning (29%) as they have a better understanding of employees’ learning needs (75%) and have more visibility over them (63%).
  • However, 31% of managers say employees should be the main driver for learning and development.
  • Nearly a third of employees (27%) share that there is no official communication from their organisation about learning and development, while 39% of managers say that the lack of requests from employees is the primary reason for not enrolling them in training.

Clear and open communication at the workplace is important, as it promotes the success of a business and ensures everyone in the organisation is headed towards the same direction, including learning and development (L&D).

However, unclear roles and responsibilities between managers and employees is a major barrier in implementing L&D at the workplace, where 29% of employees regard managers as the main champion for workplace learning. Conversely, 31% of managers say employees should be the main driver for L&D.

These are some of the key findings from NTUC LearningHub’s State of Workplace Learning (SWL) Report 2022 launched recently. The SWL Report 2022 is based on a survey of 450 full-time professionals based in Singapore, including 150 managers and 300 working professionals.

The SWL Report 2022 aims to uncover the dual perspective on the role of managers in employee learning and the current and desired states of workplace learning and is a continuation to the Workforce Learning in Workplace Transformation Report 2021 (link). 

According to employees, the top three reasons why managers should be the main driver of L&D are better understanding of employees’ learning needs (75%), more visibility over employees (63%), and more control / influence over what employees can do (57%).

Nearly a third of employees (27%) cite the lack of official communication from their organisation about training opportunities. On the other hand, almost two in five managers (39%) admit that they do not send their employees for training as the staff do not request for it.

In addition, almost three in five respondents (60% of employees, and 55% of managers) agree that managers should lead by example and take up training themselves.

Commenting on the survey sentiments, Dean Tong, Head of Group Human Resources, UOB, says, “UOB believes that continuous learning is integral to the growth of our people. Besides collaborating with partners like NTUC LearningHub, we have rolled out learning and development (L&D) programmes such as our flagship reskilling programme; Better U, to actively support our employees to upgrade themselves.

To ensure that L&D is relevant and timely, we adopt a two-pronged approach in empowering our managers to nominate employees for suitable L&D programmes, while also encouraging employees to attend courses through our online learning platform as well as various open-enrolment programmes under Better U. In 2021, we invested more than S$23.3m in L&D and will continue to explore new and better ways to enable our employees to remain active learners.”

Commenting on the findings, NTUC LearningHub’s Chief Human Resource Officer, Sean Lim, says, “Both managers and employees need to recognise that learning and development is a two-way conversation, and a collaborative decision on learning and development is the best middle ground. Continuous communication between both parties is necessary to facilitate efficient workplace learning strategies and programmes.

Managers have an important role to play, as they are able to provide support and clarity to employees on the training that they could take up that are beneficial to both the employee and the organisation. Managers can better support their employees’ learning and development by helping the employee to identify specific progression gaps and map their learning journey. That said, employees should also assume personal responsibility in identifying and committing time and resources to upgrade themselves and make lifelong learning a habit.”

To download the State of Workplace Learning Report 2022, please visit https://www.ntuclearninghub.com/workplace-learning-2022