The American workforce finds itself at a curious point. Between the acceptance of hybrid and remote work, concerns about career confidence and conflicting reports of overall job satisfaction, workers have a lot to consider when it comes to their professional skills development and future with a company.  

Employers know this, and their efforts to develop engaging and effective training and professional development have been called into question through notable data on training fatigue.  

CompTIA’s Workforce and Learning Trends 2023 report examines the current climate and found that 58% of human resources (HR) professionals have expressed concern about employee training fatigue and overtraining among their employees. The report notes, “This is unsurprising, given that the pandemic pushed workers to spend more time online and increased mandatory training and compliance requirements.”  

But in a world where employee priorities are shifting, how can employers best prepare and accommodate for this shift to avoid the ramifications of training fatigue?  

Today’s Workforce Looks Different, Here’s How  

Employers recognize that today’s workers seem to value different priorities than workers from previous generations. This should influence how employers approach training and development as the learning goals shift when a worker’s priorities shift.  

Today’s workers don’t show the same commitment to staying with a single company for the long term. A Lending Tree study which looked at data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that job tenure dropped nearly 11% from 4.6 to 4.1 years in the last decade between 2012 and 2022. Unsurprisingly, the biggest drop (12.5%) was among workers aged 25 to 34 whose average time spent with a company dropped from 3.3 years to 2.8 years.  

There are many reasons why worker views on tenure have shifted. Weakening benefits, waning pension plans and the influence of emerging technology have all been pain points that push employees to consider the future of their careers.  

Upward mobility, both in position and pay, is a natural motivator for many workers. When workers don’t see growth opportunities within their company, they tend to look elsewhere.  

Employee burnout is another influencing factor responsible for low employee satisfaction and declining tenure. Gallup’s 2023 State of the Global Workplace shows that employee stress remains high, with 44% of employees saying they experienced a lot of stress during their previous workday.  

Why This Matters 

Today’s workforce is different, and with that comes the need for employers to adapt. Perhaps one of the most influential ways adaptations can happen is through thoughtful, intentional and purposeful training and development.  

It is no longer enough for an employer to simply provide opportunities for training and upskilling. Instead, many employers recognize the importance of having training buy-in from the top down. 

Training buy-in looks different for all employees, but more companies recognize the importance of having a workforce that feels personally fulfilled in their roles. That personal fulfillment often comes in the form of employees having genuine buy-in where they work. This can include employees:  

  • Knowing they are receiving training that develops practical, transferrable skills.  
  • Working toward clear and purposeful objectives. 
  • Being valued for their contributions, whether through feedback, promotions or other means. 

It’s no secret that when learners are treated as stakeholders within an organization, their buy-in is much stronger.  

Increase Buy-In and Overcome Training Fatigue  

In prioritizing employee buy-in, it’s important to refocus your training program so content is employee-centered. After all, learning is more effective when there is internal motivation. 

Let’s look at how organizations can transform redundant training modules into effective avenues for upskilling, professional development and most importantly, fostering a positive work culture. We’ll explore the latest methods, including: 

  • Offering employee choice.  
  • Providing opportunities for learning that employees actually value.  
  • The power of gamified training.  
  • Personalized learning through AI. 

If your organization does not currently have the capacity or the resources to build or provide this type of training, consider looking to training organizations to bridge that gap.  

Employee-centered training programs will look different from one organization to another. But no matter the industry, employers can tap into the power of employee choice. Absorbing new content occurs most effectively when you allow employees to choose a training modality that works for them. This can include self-service formats such as:  

  • Podcasts.  
  • Webcasts. 
  • Video conferences.  
  • Books and literature. 
  • Self-paced eLearning modules. 
  • In-person activities. 
  • Instructor-led training that also offers opportunities for networking. 

Providing training options can combat training fatigue because employees have a level of buy-in that is supported by their ability to control their own career path. When employers offer relevant and personalized learning opportunities, employees feel empowered to take control of their careers, a concern many workers vocalized even before the pandemic.  

For some employees, a particular training modality can help them build skills they find valuable — skills another employee within the same company might not necessarily prioritize.   

According to CompTIA’s marketplace survey, for an overwhelming 88% of job seekers, those critical skills include digital skills, and not just for tech-related roles, but for all roles in the workforce.  

What About Organizational Goals?  

It’s important to note that employee-centered training does not mean that an organization’s goals and objectives are set aside. After all, the purpose of training is to create a culture of growth, innovation and community — this is best established when there are clear and defined objectives.  

The traditional top-down approach of delivering training that aligns with a company’s goals can only go so far. Employees generally complete the training but often walk away with lackluster motivation.  

When that motivation is intrinsic, the outcome of training can be more impactful. Employees who develop their skills with purpose will naturally carry the benefits of upskilling into their everyday work. Even if an employee’s career prospects don’t include your organization in the long run, your company can benefit from their renewed training in the short run.  

Over time, employees who recognize their organization values this buy-in are more likely to reinvest their energy and desire to stay with that organization.  

Gamified courses can improve learning’s impact on a learner’s engagement, motivation and retention of information. Gamification is successful because problem-based learning encourages a learner to be proactive and resourceful in seeking an answer, rather than having a solution presented to them. 

Short-term goals and objectives are also easier for learners to meet and understand. Plus, progress can be measured through rewards, badges and other tokens, allowing learners to have tangible satisfaction in their successes.  

Although still in its early phases, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) in training and professional development can have a profound impact on how employees engage with content and apply it in a manner that builds employee buy-in. According to a 2024 CompTIA survey of 500 organizations in North America, upskilling employees in AI is a moderate or high priority for 85% of them. AI is going to be a large part of the present and the near future and CompTIA is developing a range of certifications and training offerings spanning the complete career arc including the future needs of AI. 

AI can help instructional designers create flexible, adaptive courses that meet the unique needs of every employee. This automation brings with it several benefits, including: 

  • Adjusting to an employee’s learning preference. 
  • Delivering content that aligns with specific skills an employee wants to develop. 
  • Real-time content adjustment to meet an employee’s unique needs. 
  • Seamless transitions from practical knowledge to virtual, hands-on simulations. 
  • Gamification of content so that delivery is novel, engaging and purposeful. 

Working with a training partner can be a good way for your organization to supplement current training efforts. If your organization does not yet have the capacity for HR or training services, working with a training partner is an optimal solution.