Part of an employee’s career development hinges on having one-on-one time with his or her manager.

Last week, my phone rang, and when I answered, a woman cheerily said, “I just wanted to let you know the One-to-One training subscription for your iMac is set to expire next week. Did you want to renew?”


“Expire?” I thought incredulously. “It’s a year already?”

Apparently it was. And how many training classes had I attended during that year?

None. Nada. Zero. Zip. Zilch.

Oh, my intentions were good. But something always came up. I was on deadline. I was moderating a Webinar. I had a conference call. Or I simply didn’t feel like traipsing to the mall 40 minutes away to take the class. I wanted to be sitting comfortably in my chair, using my trackpad and my iMac when I took the class—when I wanted to. And the training wasn’t really necessary—I already had figured out what I needed to get my work done. This was training to teach me how to do new stuff that might or might not pertain to my current work.

I think this is often the case for employees in many organizations. Employees may ace their performance reviews and be doing a fabulous job, but when it comes to taking additional skills training, they don’t necessarily have—or make—the time. According to an Economist Intelligence Unit survey of 252 business executives and public sector workers from the U.S. and the UK, 79 percent of U.S. survey respondents say workers and jobseekers should be
doing more to develop their skills. And nearly two-thirds (64 percent) think local, large businesses, and educational institutions need to increase efforts to advance workers’ and jobseekers’ abilities over the next two years.

The third part of our Skills Gap series, “Step Up,” looks closer at the need for joint motivation: how to motivate employees to take charge of their career development and how to motivate organizations and their leaders to provide a culture that fosters career development and empowerment.

Part of that career development hinges on employees having one-on-one time with their managers. And that doesn’t seem to be happening as often as employees would like, according to a survey conducted by Training magazine and The Ken Blanchard Companies. The survey of 700 Training subscribers found that 89 percent of respondents want to meet with their manager on at least a monthly basis, but only 73 percent actually do so. Furthermore, 70 percent of people want to have goal-setting conversations often or all the time, but only 36 percent actually do.

And when those conversations do happen, they may not always go as planned, especially when an employee doesn’t know how to start a dialogue with his or her boss—particularly on a sensitive subject such as giving feedback. That’s where a training program on communicating feedback for employees and one on receiving feedback for managers can play a crucial role. See “Coaching Up” for tips on how to teach employees to “coach up.”

In case you are wondering, I did renew my One-to-One training subscription. And I’ve made a resolution to attend my first class before our Online Learning Conference ( September 17-19. Be sure to ask me what I learned when I see you in Chicago!

Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training Top 100 and Emerging Training Leaders.