Learning and development (L&D) have long been an important concern for human resources management professionals. We’ve previously explored the bottom-line benefits of fostering a culture of engagement and we’ve found that L&D provides distinct advantages, as well.
Benefits of a good L&D program
Intuitively, we know that it’s worth investing in employees to keep them at the top of their game. If it helps them do their job better and helps the organization achieve its objectives. Providing ongoing access to workplace learning and professional development just makes good business sense.
In fact, the benefits extend beyond productivity that can be gained by having a more skilled workforce. New data from Culture Amp shows that L&D opportunities are also strongly linked to high employee engagement levels and increased employee retention. As we’ll see, investing in L&D programs is one of the most effective strategies for both boosting engagement levels and minimizing churn.
Advantages of employee development
People want to be employed by organizations that will increase their job prospects down the line. It’s easy to see why: individuals whose value in the workforce is bolstered by their organization can also expect greater personal chances for growth and financial success.
For these reasons, organizations that proudly tout their ability to boost people’s future employability reap recruitment benefits. But there’s more to it: Culture Amp data shows that 54% of immediate retention is associated with the employee's belief that their company contributes to their development.
Providing career pathways is crucial to retaining talented people. The best way to implement this is working with employees to plan career paths then give them access to the learning they need.
Our research has found that development is the number one driver of engagement for millennials. Though preceding studies focused on preferences and self-reported intentions, we drilled down to unearth statistical evidence that these stated preferences are having a real-world impact. We found that people who felt they had access to the L&D they needed were 21% more engaged than those who weren't, leading to increased employee retention.
While an opportunity exists for this research to go another step farther - to uncover the cause-and-effect relationship of these statistics - the strength of the correlation seems to justify immediate attention. Perceptions about an organization’s L&D offerings are connected to employee retention.
L&D provides multi-dimensional benefits
Employees’ perception that they have the opportunity to grow professionally may be as important to the organization as actual upskilling. Employees who believe that internal opportunities exist are likely to understand that the leadership is ready to invest in mutual success - that of the organization and of the individuals that it comprises. It makes sense that people who feel supported in this way should be more likely to hang around.
To ensure that employees are aware of your offerings it is important to repeatedly communicate about the opportunities. This means not just enticing people with them during hiring or promotions. If every individual becomes eligible after a certain amount of tenure, make sure that they’re reminded during those milestone check-ins. Reiterate L&D offerings to the wider company on a regular basis through reminders. Or bake the mentions into 1:1 meeting agendas if you believe growth is a large part of why an employee joined your team.
Provide employees with opportunities to further their learning and professional development. It does more than just expand organizational skill-set. The current evidence shows that it is good for business and good for employee retention.