Attracting and retaining good employees is central to the health of any business. Also, few would dispute the fact that employees want to perform at their peak while at work. Taken together, it’s crystal clear that for companies to thrive, they have to do whatever is necessary to help employees succeed. If not, employers risk losing key team members.
But, the act of keeping employees happy can feel like an ongoing struggle. Organizations work hard to create a fun company culture and invest in reward systems to show appreciation and value — and yet, often something is still missing.
This is where the benefits of employee training and development come in. That missing component may be learning. Employees want to grow, both personally and professionally, and learning is a critical part of that growth. Here, we’ll consider how learning and development can unlock employee retention and boost business.
Why is learning and development important?
Employees want to learn from their managers. Learning and development matters at every level of an organization, and the only thing more important than that is sharing that knowledge among colleagues. Managers and leaders constantly acquire new skills to improve their leadership and efficacy, and their employees look up to them and want to learn from them. So much so, that the 2018 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report found that 56 percent of employees would take a course if it was suggested by their manager. What’s more, the same survey found that 94 percent of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career.
The benefits of employee training and development are clear — and employees may already be communicating their wants and needs to management. Daniel Dobrygowski explains in Harvard Business Review, “When an employee says she is looking for a manager she can learn from, the employee is implicitly saying that she values opportunities for growth. No one wants to feel stagnant or like they’re not achieving anything.”
Millennial employees prefer learning to salary
Millennials fundamentally view jobs as opportunities to learn and hone their skill set. Their strong draw to development is, perhaps, the main differentiator between them and previous generations in the workplace.
As forward-thinking millennials come to the realization that learning will take them further in their career than a big paycheck, salary is moving towards the bottom of their priority lists. Not only do 42 percent of millennials value learning and development above salary, but 42 percent also say their employers provide these learning opportunities, according to a 2018 Udemy study.
Part of this can be attributed to the fact that today’s millennials are looking to exert more control over their work/life balance. After all, they have grown up in an era where they can access any bit information at any time and from any device.
Employees want to prepare for the future
Employees want to be well-equipped for their futures, whether they remain with their current company or move onto bigger and better things. In our rapidly evolving digital world, being trained for the “future of work” has become a source of stress as automation, artificial intelligence, and skills retraining become frequent topics of conversation. In fact, a 2017 Job Skills Training and Career Development Survey found that 43 percent of Americans say they’re “concerned about the changing nature of work.”
Providing this type of learning may keep employees happy and engaged, allowing them to better prepare for the career of their future.
Three learning ideas to implement
In order to make more time for learning within an organization, here are a few learning strategies to pilot. Remember to poll employees regularly, at least once quarterly, to make sure the learning formats being used are resonating.
1. Online, self-paced programs
If employees want to learn at their own pace, an online learning engagement platform may be the best option. For employees or teams with varied learning needs, using a tool like Bigtincan Zunos to develop customized employee training and courses is ideal.
Employees will be able to create interactive quizzes, upload docs, PDFs and videos, curate sources from the web, and include links to internal docs, spreadsheets, and files. With total power over the content of the course, entire teams will be able to receive the training they need, keeping them motivated and boosting ROI in the process.
As learning engagement platforms become more robust and mature, companies have the option of either purchasing a pre-loaded platform or creating one from scratch. While the latter option comes with its fair share of challenges, it does give organizations an element of ownership and customization that is valuable. However, for those seeking a cost-effective program that can be rolled out quickly with minimal time and effort, management can invest in a solid learning engagement platform such as Bigtincan Zunos, which is backed by a supportive team of talented developers, designers, and customer service representatives.
2. Blended learning
The blended learning model is a format that allows businesses to reach every employee on their team. The idea is simple — learning is provided to employees using a mix of online and in-person modules, providing multiple avenues for employees to absorb information.
With this strategy, employees learn online first and join forces when it comes time for hands-on practice. For example, if your customer service team participates in a course for a certain time period, the exercise culminates in practicing with “live calls” from one employee to another. The team leader can then offer critiques and suggestions for improvement..
A mentor program may be the easiest to put into place quickly, and provides employees with opportunities to learn from managers, leaders, and one another. To make mentorship more successful, it’s important to have a few elements in place:
- Clear goals and objectives for both the mentee and the mentor.
- A predefined format, like one-on-one mentorship or group mentoring.
- Encouragement to get employees involved and invested.
- Regular feedback on the experience and process.
Benefits of employee training and development
Employee training and development can reap serious rewards. By harnessing the existing staff member skill sets and embarking on a structured approach to career development, businesses both ensure their employees will meet expectations and thrive as individuals. Beyond this, some key benefits of employee training and development in an organization include:
- Staff retention and loyalty
- Increased morale and job satisfaction
- Improved team cohesion
- Larger capacity to adapt new technology
- Training ROI
Give employees what they want: Learning and development
Employees want to learn, and when they’re provided with what they want, they’re more likely to be satisfied with their role, their organization, and their career. Don’t miss an opportunity to boost your entire team’s morale, performance, and dedication to your business. Instead, find the best learning format for your workforce and invest in helping them grow with Bigtincan’s sales enablement software solutions.