Training in the 21st Century

Training Survey Says: Part II—What Topics Are Most Beneficial

One of the biggest surprises from the survey conducted by Training in the 21st Century™ in September of this year were responses to the question, “What kind of training is most beneficial for your company to provide to its employees?” Respondents were able to select “all that apply” from a list provided.

Contrary to our expectations, the three selected by the largest number of respondents were all “soft skills” training, with indirect (and hard to substantiate) connections to company productivity and bottom lines. The most beneficial topics, according to our respondents, are training for:

  • Effective Communication (69%)
  • Leadership Development (66%)
  • Collaboration/Teamwork (62%). 

Although there have been indications of a trend1 to focus more on soft/interpersonal skills in recent years, industry research (e.g., State of the Industry research conducted annually by the American Society for Training and Development2) has indicated an on-going, pragmatic orientation in corporate training programs. The following topics have consistently shown up as those most frequently offered by companies to their employees:

  • Professional and Industry-Specific Skills
  • Processes, Procedures and Business Practices
  • Managerial and Supervisory Skills
  • IT Skills

It may be that, as the speed and complexity of our world has increased, the need for effective communication, enlightened leadership, and collaboration has started to make the interpersonal skills associated with each an important training component for organizations.

How do you interpret these results, based on your own experience? Do you see an increased focus on helping employees learn better ways to communicate, collaborate and inspire commitment? Let us know by responding in the comments section below.

1 HR Management, The Magazine, Issue 5, “Top Trends in e-Learning and Corporate Training,” by Josh Bersin of Bersin & Associates,

2 American Society for Training and Development research reports:

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