What employees want to learn

Soft skills like communication and leadership are top learning priorities for most employees. | Freepik

Soft skills like communication and leadership are top learning priorities for most employees. | Freepik

Published Jan 12, 2024



Career growth and development are the most important things employees want from their employers. They also want to work in roles that challenge their strengths and competencies, and for organisations that provide opportunities to grow their knowledge and skills.

Employees who do not apply their knowledge, skills and strengths in the workplace feel unfulfilled and tend to leave their jobs 12 times faster. So learning and development are imperative for a happy, engaged and high-performing workforce.

Employees’ learning interests vary widely depending on their roles, goals, interests and career paths.

However, we have noticed some common themes from conducting learning needs assessments and plans in various industries.

Here are some employee learning interests – listed from most to least of interest:

  • Soft skills like communication, leadership, time management and problem-solving are highly valued by employees. Many seek opportunities to improve their soft skills to enhance their effectiveness.
  • Customer service skills are crucial for customer-facing employees to improve their ability to interact with customers and handle challenging situations.
  • In today's rapidly evolving work environment, employees want to acquire or enhance their technical skills. This includes learning programming languages, data analysis tools, graphic design software or other job-specific software and tools.
  • Industry-specific knowledge: Employees want to stay updated on industry trends, regulations and best practices to stay competitive and to put them in line for potential promotions.
  • Skills that advance careers such as networking, negotiation skills, project management and strategic thinking are high on the learning lists of many individuals.
  • Digital literacy: Most employees want to remain current with technology such as new software and online platforms; or they want the skills needed to adapt to remote work technologies such as time management, effective virtual communication and cyber-security.
  • Financial literacy: Many employees want to upskill on financial planning - not only in the context of organisations, but also personal finance and financial planning. They may want to learn about budgeting, investing and retirement planning.
  • Wellness and work-life balance: Employees want the skills to manage their stress so they can perform better at life and work.
  • Creativity and innovation: Many employees want to enhance their creative thinking and problem-solving abilities so they can take on new and stimulating projects.
  • Health and safety: Workplace health and safety knowledge is crucial for employee well-being. Understanding safety protocols and practices is a priority for many.
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion: Inclusive workplaces are essential - and employees want to understand the subtleties of diversity, equity and inclusion to contribute to an inclusive and respectful work environment.
  • Ethical and sustainability practices: With growing awareness of ethical and environmental issues, employees want to understand ethical business practices and sustainability initiatives within their organisations and industry.
  • Languages: Learning a new language or improving existing language skills is of interest to employees working in international or multicultural environments.

* Gullan is the CEO of G&G Advocacy