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Concerns for the great business knowledge brain drain

Luke Oubridge, CEO - Fuse

New research reveals that as many as 40% of organisations are still working to course-led learning strategies, while just 4% are leading with real-time learning on the job. This is despite 92% of respondents agreeing that access to knowledge on demand is a key driver for business performance.

The research, which polled 250 senior L&D and HR leaders across the UK and US, was conducted by learning and knowledge platform, Fuse, and suggests many organisations are struggling to replace legacy courses with the modern business demand for real-time learning. In fact, just 1 in 4 organisations (25%) is providing all employees with access to knowledge and learning in the flow of work, despite more than half (55%) of L&D/HR leaders admitting that they themselves need access to knowledge every day or several times a week.

The Great Business Knowledge Brain Drain
Survey respondents also highlighted the impending ‘Great Resignation’ as a significant threat to business, with 9 out of ten (89%) agreeing or strongly agreeing that the loss of company expert knowledge presents an alarm-bell business issue.

With most organisations expecting to lose 10 to 15% of their total workforce over the next 12 months, and as many as 1 in 5 anticipating up to 20% churn, it becomes evident that companies are teetering on the edge of a business knowledge brain drain. Citing the biggest associated risks to business, 58% of respondents specified reduced innovation, followed by increased costs (43%), and rising employee churn (42%).

Skills: The Current State of Play
On the topic of skills, prioritisation of upskilling versus reskilling was fairly balanced in most organisations (34% upskilling, 37% reskilling, 28% equal mix of both), yet this was contradicted by nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents who said they currently assign 80% of all learning to upskilling for performance, and just 20% to talent reskilling.

When asked about the most important success factors for upskilling on the job, more than two-thirds cited the ability to find and share knowledge (68%), followed by access to learning in the flow of work (58%), and adopting modern learning technology (also 58%).

Commenting on the research findings, Luke Oubridge, CEO at Fuse, said: “This research leaves little doubt that there is a significant disconnect in terms of what leaders know and want L&D to look like in the modern-day organisation, and the actual reality, which is that a great many are still struggling to swap course-centric strategies for real-time learning on the job.

“When we then look at these findings through the lens of hybrid work, the advent of technology, and the impending Great Resignation, the true urgency of this issue can be fully appreciated. The course, at least in isolation, is no longer a viable learning solution when the need for instant access to knowledge on demand is happening everyday – and it’s a business-critical issue that warrants immediate attention at the top table.”

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