It’s not an easy time to be an HR professional. Workplace stress is on the rise, budgets are tightening, and talent is getting harder to find. Addressing these challenges can feel like walking on a tightrope–and according to McKinsey, “the tightrope has never been this taut.” This is why understanding how to introduce learning and development easily is critical.
Burnout shows up regularly in today’s workforce, with 42% of teams struggling under the pressure of too many projects and responsibilities. Talent development could be vital to reducing the strain, but you need to ensure the process is streamlined enough to be effective without adding additional stress–financial or otherwise–to your organization.
So, how can companies retain their most valuable employees while keeping costs low?
The key is to invest strategically in your staff to boost retention, fill skills gaps, and increase productivity on a company-wide scale. Prioritizing the right kind of learning and development can help you avoid the staggering expense of turnover–which costs U.S. businesses $1 trillion per year, according to Gallup.
In this blog post, we’ll explore how to introduce learning and development easily through:
Let’s get started.
HR leaders are constantly asked to do more with less–and nowadays, the ask is greater than ever. As McKinsey reports, “HR leaders need to drive more agile and fluid organizations, shift the role of business partners, and drive the employee experience—and do it all with a clear leadership mandate.” No small undertaking.
Learning and development can be key to navigating lean times, but you’ll need to plan out how to introduce learning and development easily to stakeholders in your organization. You’ll have to be clear on your goals, assess potential solutions based on your resources, and get executive buy-in to gain real traction.
Let’s look at these three steps and why they’re imperative to getting your learning and development programs implemented smoothly.
The first step is to clarify what you want to accomplish with your learning and development program. Start by assessing where your organization currently stands so you can identify skills gaps. Then, determine which gaps you could fill by upskilling existing team members to avoid the expense of high turnover.
The skills required by organizations are shifting rapidly, yet, “70% of employees report that they do not have mastery of the skills they need for their jobs,” according to Gartner. Taking a strategic approach that addresses the needs of both your employees and your organization will help you fill critical gaps without wasting resources.
Consider the development of every employee, how learning is tied to their future, and how their career path may evolve. Regular discussions about career aspirations and the skills needed to move to the next role on the path can help staff see the value of ongoing learning and connect it to their career progression.
Learning and development programs designed to help move everyone toward tangible outcomes are more likely to be meaningful to employees and valued by the organization. As part of clarifying your goals for your program, ask yourself:
Only once you have solid objectives to work toward can you design training programs that advance the goals of both the employee and the company. You can then break down larger goals into smaller, more accessible steps to help with implementation, engagement, and completion.
Next, identify and compare how different resources can help you create a learning culture in your organization. Ideally, you’re looking for learning and development partners whose priorities align with your desired outcomes.
A robust learning and development solution should be dynamic and learner-centered, with streamlined access and delivery to make it valuable for everyone who uses it (this includes your overworked HR team!).
Here are a few essential elements you’ll want to look for:
Look for a partner who supports ongoing development of employees, rather than one-time or occasional training sessions that feel disconnected to larger goals. Creating a culture of learning can build meaningful connections and help your employees feel valued at work. Any partner you consider should advance these objectives, instead of just checking the boxes on training modules completed.
Seek out learning technology that supports your employees to learn from any device, anytime. Your tech should also ensure easy, efficient administration for you. A digital solution paired with qualified experts who can offer varied teaching experiences and methods is crucial to help every individual develop the skills they need to advance.
Learning and development partners need to keep up with what your employees want to learn, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach. A partner who encourages your staff to help shape their own learning and development paths toward goals they find meaningful will have a more significant impact on your organizational culture.
An effective talent development partner will be able to provide metrics to help you see your organization’s progress toward goals you’ve set for learning. They’ll also provide insights to help you determine if your training program is improving employee and business performance. You should be well-supported with data on where employees struggle, input on programs to best meet the needs of your organization and staff, and changes in business results.
When planning how to introduce learning and development easily within your teams, you need a partner who will drive progress with a genuine commitment to learning.
Your strategies for getting buy-in to bring a culture of learning to your organization will likely depend on the size of your company, the allotted resources for learning, and the additional budget you might be able to access to drive learning goals forward.
In all cases, it’s wise to do what you can to assess your current situation, analyze available or potential budgets, and propose learning and development programs that are tied to business outcomes. Using data can help you boost buy-in for learning and development and make a case for continued support in the future.
Focus on tangible benefits of streamlined learning and development, such as:
Retaining your employees can protect you from costly cycles of turnover, hiring, and onboarding. Most HR pros are familiar with recent Gallup numbers showing that 48% of America’s working population is actively job searching.
Connecting these numbers to learning and development is vital. According to Deloitte, 64% of workers say they would be more attracted to and remain in their roles when organizations contribute to their growth and help them realize their potential.
Engagement is how we measure the commitment and connection that employees feel to their work. We know high employee engagement can boost productivity and growth, but it also increases retention. According to The Conference Board, 30% of workers surveyed say their engagement level is lower than six months ago.
Low-engagement teams often experience turnover rates 18 to 43% higher than highly engaged teams, reports Gallup. Few organizations can afford to lose skilled, trained employees right now. The cost of replacing them is simply too high.
Data that shows how learning and development supports business outcomes throughout the organization can be compelling.
As an HR leader, you can bolster your arguments for streamlined, accessible learning and development programming by promoting outcome-based metrics like profitability, productivity, and labor costs.
Learning and development is critical to business growth and a strong workplace culture, especially in the current economic climate. Few leaders believe we’ll sidestep a recession, with 91% of U.S. CEOs predicting a recession this year. Only 34% believe the recession will be mild and short.
While many companies have already begun hiring freezes and layoffs, for others, “investing in employees might just be the smartest way to become recession-proof,” according to HR Brew.
These investments can help you balance the need to withstand current realities but also prepare for future growth when the economic forecast brightens. HR pros who figure out how to introduce learning and development easily can lighten the load on their teams, too. Learning and development can bolster your ability to reduce workplace stress and meet organizational challenges by filling skills gaps and retaining top talent, even in difficult times.
Book a meeting with us to find out how the right learning and development technology can lower stress levels among your employees, increase retention, and help you deliver meaningful, continuous learning to everyone on your team.