In this fast-paced world, technological transformations are imminent and often come faster than most people have time to prepare for. But businesses today do not have the luxury of waiting, as they might find themselves ill-equipped to address unprecedented changes.

Instead, they must be ready for tech advancements and market fluctuations, as that’s the safest way to stay on top of the game. However, companies can only be prepared if they ensure their employees have relevant skills and knowledge.

Without learning and development (L&D) investments, businesses will struggle to handle adversities and anticipate future needs. After all, employees are the most significant asset of every company and require nurture and up-to-date training to keep up with industry transformations.

Thus, talent shortage and skills gaps are among the most alarming workforce issues of the decade. Over 75% of employers encounter difficulties filling job roles, and 87% of companies worldwide admit they have significant skills gaps.

But business leaders also expect to encounter the same issues in the coming years, making it crucial to establish well-rounded programs to upskill their workforce. Otherwise, companies could struggle to stay competitive and attract talent, while employees might be unable to tackle new projects and use modern technology.

What if Employees are Uninterested in Upskilling?

In ideal conditions, every employee will be happy to participate in upskilling programs to adopt new skills. Sadly, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, employers have to nudge their employees to be curious about learning opportunities and participation.

But according to a study by the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, 77% of knowledge professionals doubt that learning will significantly impact their ability to perform their jobs. Moreover, 65% believe their current skill set is enough to sustain them through their career.

Hence, even though lifelong learning is crucial for navigating uncertainties and staying competitive in this rapidly changing economy, not everyone understands the benefits of upskilling. As a result, many programs could fail or receive an insignificant number of participants.

If companies want to encourage people to upskill, they must first comprehend the reasons behind their participation hesitation.

Why Don’t Employees Want to Join Upskilling Programs?

Here are the most common reasons people refuse to participate in upskilling programs.

  1. They See No Point or Benefit to the Program

Employees must understand how participating in an upskilling program would benefit their careers and make their jobs easier. They might perceive it as pointless if companies don’t promote the positive outcomes and what participants can get from joining.

But employers often don’t spend enough time clarifying what upskilling encompasses and the stages employees should reach. Thus, if people can’t find sufficient information about upskilling, they might consider it redundant and unable to make a difference in their jobs.

  1. They Find the Offering Irrelevant

Most workers don’t consider the entirety of learning opportunities irrelevant. Instead, they are not interested in programs that don’t align with their job roles, responsibilities and objectives.

Companies must identify their employees’ needs, expectations and skills gaps. Otherwise, their programs could fail or not provide a genuine value.

  1. They Lack the Time

An upskilling program can take time and require employees to perform their daily responsibilities while attending training. But due to the fast pace of life, most people already struggle with a lack of time.

Extensive and demanding workshops and lessons would likely dissuade many workers from joining the program and adopting new skills. That’s why upskilling training should be concise and flexible, allowing more people to juggle it with their other obligations. A great example is on-the-job training and coaching, which allow employees to learn in the flow of work.

  1. They are Unsure About What They Want to Achieve

Even though most employees are aware of their objectives and career aspirations, some might be conflicted. Thus, not everyone is confident they can obtain new abilities, use new tech platforms or transition to different job roles.

Managers and human resources (HR) professionals should also work on leadership development and ensure they have enough candidates for more demanding positions. Moreover, they should talk with employees and let them know what to expect and why upskilling is advantageous for their careers.

  1. Lack of Competent Managers

It’s not enough to only develop an upskilling program if facilitators have no competencies or determination to roll it out. According to a study by TalentLMS, Workable and Training Journal, 74% of employees think their managers need upskilling or reskilling training.

Most people won’t join a cause or program if they have doubts about the leaders facilitating and promoting it. Companies should ensure managers have the necessary skills and knowledge to educate workers and lead workshops and lessons.

Moreover, managers should know the program’s content and how it benefits employees and the workplace. Only then can they encourage people to participate and give them reasons to invest their effort toward acquiring new skills and abilities.

 In “How to Encourage Employees to Participate in Upskilling Programs: Part 2,” we will provide actionable insights on ways to get employees excited about their training and development.