51% of employees across the globe are seeking new job opportunities. While it’s unlikely that half of a company’s staff members are going to leave in one year, this statistic might be a wake-up call for leaders and can serve as an important reminder that retention deserves serious attention.
For businesses that are committed to retaining their talent, one strategy that cannot be overlooked is a focus on learning. Individuals who reported that they were looking for other jobs were generally seeking workplaces with increased pay, improved belonging and opportunities to grow.
Many studies have reinforced the value of people development in relation to turnover. Qualtrics’ 2023 Employee Experience Trends demonstrated that a person’s perception that their career goals could be met was one of the driving factors behind their intent to stay at a company (not to mention its positive impact on the workforce’s sense of well-being, engagement and inclusion).
Quantum Workplace’s 2023 Employee Engagement Trends Report further emphasized the importance of learning, revealing that limited or no access to career growth was the primary factor affecting an individual’s decision to leave. From the data, it’s evident that a focus on development is an essential component in strengthening employee retention, and it is well worth the investment. Whether an organization tends to be more people-oriented, bottom-line oriented or both, the impacts add up.
Turnover is expensive. It includes losses in hard costs, such as recruitment and training as well as decreased productivity, and soft costs like worker morale and lost knowledge. In addition to saving money, prioritizing development provides other tangible benefits. By expanding their knowledge, honing expertise and building up in-demand capabilities, personnel increase productivity and help their teams and companies advance.
Meaningful learning initiatives can serve as the foundation for a more engaged, effective and tenured workforce. To create the sort of workplace environment where employees feel confident that they can continue to grow and meet their career goals, I invite Learning & Development leaders as well as executives to reflect on the depth and accessibility of their offerings by asking five questions.
5 Questions to Strengthen Training Initiatives
#1 – Who has access to the programming?
Sometimes, businesses focus training specifically on certain subsets of their workforce, such as new hires during the onboarding process, high potential staff members or leaders within the company. These programs certainly serve a purpose and can be meaningful elements of a learning and development strategy. It’s also vital that organizations find ways for workers at all levels to continue growing and advancing in their careers.
#2 – What is the breadth of skills being taught?
Employees need a variety of talents to move into new job functions, roles or levels within an organization. Delivering courses that address several needs such as people skills, managerial abilities and technical proficiencies will increase the likelihood that the company can support their workforce’s growth goals and career objectives. I also recommend providing budget and resources so individuals can get access to specialized education in areas that may be beyond the scope of internal resources.
#3 – How much time are personnel given to participate in ongoing education?
Offering development programs is just one part of the equation. Before a person can feel encouraged to build new capabilities, they need to be given time during their workdays to do so. Evaluate how much time the average employee is able to focus on training and partner with managers to ensure that staff can devote some of their working hours to continuing education.
#4 – What options do staff have to choose their growth path?
It’s likely that each department may have some required or recommended training that team members need to participate in. Businesses may also ask that all personnel attend certain learning sessions. In addition to suggested or mandatory courses, encourage each employee to participate in learning opportunities of their choosing. Doing so will increase their engagement and help them to take ownership of their career paths.
#5 – What feedback can employees provide?
There are always opportunities to improve and optimize learning initiatives, so be mindful to give individuals, managers and executives a chance to share their input on the training experiences. Getting regular feedback will also allow Learning & Development teams to identify common themes and workforce trends that they may integrate into new offerings or courses.
Training is an effective way to reduce turnover with the added benefit of improving business outcomes. By ensuring that a company’s development strategy empowers staff from across the organization to expand their expertise and honor their different growth paths, Learning & Development professionals will transform the workplace and amplify employee retention.
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