It’s no secret people have been leaving their jobs in massive numbers. The Great Resignation, or Great Reshuffle as it’s often called now, has affected companies worldwide as over 47 million people left their positions in 2021. Leaders have had to maintain a keen focus on retention as they work to prepare for the future.
Learning and development programs are a critical component in keeping employees happy. They’re also critical to business success and necessary to help organizations upskill their workforces “effectively, at speed, and at scale,” according to McKinsey and Company.
You know your employees are interested in developing their skills. You’re happy to put some resources behind talent development, but you might sense a disconnect between your business goals and what’s happening in your organization.
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It’s essential to understand how a culture of learning can drive results for your company. It increases employee engagement, which produces better business outcomes in organizations of all sizes and sectors. According to Gallup, these outcomes include reduced turnover, lower absenteeism, improved productivity, and increased company profitability. Yet, the same research shows that only 15% of employees worldwide and 35% in the U.S. consider themselves engaged while at work.
Employees need to have more than just their basic needs met at work. Yes, they must earn a living wage and feel safe at work. But especially in today’s job market, you need to demonstrate how much you value your employees by offering them opportunities to develop their talents and nurture their careers.
For example, for Gen Zs and millennials who have left roles in the past two years, a good work/life balance and learning and development opportunities were the top priorities when choosing an employer. A culture of learning helps your organization stand out as an employer of choice for employees looking for a rewarding place to work while driving the progress you need toward your business goals.
Most leaders are eager to see returns from their learning and development programs. The hope is that providing employees with upskilling opportunities means those new skills can unlock greater success for the company in its goals for engagement, productivity, and retention.
All this is possible. But if your organization isn’t ready to make room for new learnings and new ways of doing things, your investment in learning and development isn’t likely to pay off the way you hope.
Here are five ways to make learning for all a priority in your organization:
Learning and development should go beyond organizational goals to consider what matters most to employees. Your people want to learn skills that are of value in your organization, but they also want to further their own career goals.
Providing upskilling that will have a positive impact on people’s career paths can help your employees feel more engaged in the learning process and more committed to outcomes.
As people gain new skills to complete their work more effectively, they’ll need the freedom to put these new talents to use. As you offer development opportunities to your employees, ensure you make the appropriate accommodations to your work environment so they can try out new approaches.
If you upskill your employees but refuse to make any changes to the structure and routine in which they need to complete their work, you risk their learning falling by the wayside and being lost.
Learning opportunities drive your whole team forward, but they challenge how people work and can take some effort to get rolling.
Figure out who on your team is a trustworthy resource to not only recognize the value of learning but the benefits of working through the challenges that may arise. These champions can help increase engagement and success in your learning and development programs.
To help boost engagement in learning programs, communicate what the people on your team stand to gain from development opportunities. Expecting people to feel motivated and inspired to learn because doing so will help the company is no longer enough.
Instead, focus on each learner individually and consider what they value and how you can connect their goals with those of the company. Taking time to learn the career aspirations and personal values of your team members can help you create opportunities for upskilling that feel rewarding and valuable to your employees.
To increase learning across your organization, consider if you are offering equitable access to development opportunities to all employees. Learning for all doesn’t just mean certain employees that management assumes are interested in moving up in the company.
Learning for all employees shouldn’t be bound by location, schedules, economic status, or job roles. When you offer accommodation and support so employees can more easily participate in learning, you may be surprised by the people who are inspired to do so.
Investing in your employees with upskilling and development opportunities is a smart choice for companies wanting to avoid losing talented employees. Protecting that investment by creating an environment where new learnings can be implemented successfully makes good business sense.
You can only reap the tangible benefits of learning and development if you support both the learning and the implementation of new skills. These efforts will expand your capacity to offer upskilling opportunities and your ability to capture the desired outcomes of these programs. Alignment in these areas will help you create a culture of learning for all employees and realize the ongoing benefits in the future.
Learning is an individual experience, and at SkillCycle, we honor that idea with a learning experience platform that meets each of your learners where they’re at. Learn how we support your company’s upskilling journey with a personalized growth experience that benefits employees and your organization.