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Frontline Workforces and the L&D Disconnect 

25 April 2024

3 Min Read

frontline workforce training

Data from our new report with Lighthouse Research & Advisory, “Frontline Worker Skills Growth and the L&D Disconnect,” shows that only 24% of frontline workers strongly agree they have the proper training to succeed.

This gap has serious implications: frontline workers who feel properly trained are three times more likely to stay with their employer long-term. On the flip side, nearly half of frontline workers looking to quit their jobs cite lack of proper training as a significant factor.

Frontline workers are the backbone of industries like retail, hospitality, construction, manufacturing, and food service. Inadequate training for this critical workforce segment directly impacts productivity, customer satisfaction scores, safety metrics, and more.

Common Frontline Training Challenges

The top challenge, cited by 80% of frontline workers surveyed, is finding the time amidst demanding schedules and constraints to complete training. Even when training is available, many frontline staff lack sufficient opportunities to practice and apply what they’ve learned in a realistic setting—a primary hurdle for those new to their roles.

Access to training resources poses another barrier, with sizable segments of workers reporting they can’t access training materials on mobile devices. These hurdles leave frontline employees feeling undertrained, unclear on expectations, and disconnected from their employers’ development efforts.

Other report highlights include:

  • 4 in 10 frontline workers say they need more clarification on what is expected of them to perform their jobs.
  • Those with less than six months of job tenure are 50% more likely to say they need to learn new things every week or every day. 
  • An overwhelming 91% of research respondents say they want access to training on mobile devices.

Opportunities to Elevate Learning and Development

While frontline workforce training needs improvement across many industries, this report highlights several opportunities for organizations to elevate their approach to learning and development for better results. Companies with successful frontline development programs often report improved employee performance, collaboration, engagement, and retention.

A key opportunity lies in utilizing a learning management system (LMS) for training and compliance tracking and as an end-to-end platform for driving measurable performance gains across the frontline workforce. Prioritizing collaborative, social learning approaches that resonate with frontline teams is essential to success, especially as these workforces begin to skew younger.

Another high-impact opportunity is providing clear career pathways and talent development initiatives. This incentivizes frontline workers to develop their skills while positioning employers to build their talent pipeline from within.

Join Our Webinar

For organizations looking to elevate their frontline workforce capabilities, the path forward involves mitigating barriers to learning, investing in user-friendly and mobile-first platforms, and improving communication.

Join us for our Training Industry webinar “Solving the L&D Disconnect: Frontline Worker Skills Growth in 2024 and Beyond” on May 1 at 1:00 pm ET. David Wentworth, Talent Platform Evangelist at Schoox, and Ben Eubanks, Chief Research Officer at Lighthouse Research & Advisory, will review the results of the frontline report and share how organizations can improve frontline workforce training.

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