Organizations’ quest for retaining employees rests on many factors – salary, perks, growth opportunities, and workplace culture, among others. There’s one more factor that’s often overlooked by organizations: learning and development (L&D).
According to a study by LinkedIn, 94% of employees prefer working in companies that invest in their learning and development. Whether employees want and need to learn during career transition, at the time of promotion, when starting a new job or simply want to become better at their current job, employers/organizations must support a culture of learning to help employees.
Technological disruptions, complex business landscapes, and tougher global competition have to lead to an increased demand for employees to upskill. Organizations that include L&D as a core component, have a competitive edge across organizational factors. Over the past few decades, L&D has found its place among the top-most in the list of initiatives by organizations.
Today, more than 80% of organizations have structured L&D programs and 38% L&D experts say improving employee performance is the prime focus of their initiatives. At organizations like Google, American Express, and Bridgewater Associates, learning is an integral part of talent management.
There are numerous ways in which organizations can create L&D initiatives for employees. Here are a few:
Introduce Online learning for employees
Gone are the days when learning a new skill meant attending physical classrooms or night school. Online learning has taken the world by a storm. Let’s take the example of Kellogg. The company invested in online learning to empower more than 10 thousand employees to learn what they need, when they need, to grow their careers.
Enhance talent development teams
If initiating proper learning programs means enhancing talent development teams, organizations shouldn’t shy away from investing in new hires and increasing the size of these teams. In the recent past, talent development teams have seen a renewed energy in organizations. 82% of talent developers report their executive C-suite supports them. More than 50% of organizations increased their L&D program budgets in 2018 from 2017.
Create learning experiences aligned to individual needs
With diversity being the buzzword, most organizations now have a complex mix of employees of all generations, nationalities, ethnicity, skills, and gender. Meaning, a one-size-fits-all approach to learning programs may not work. For example, a Gen Z employee might readily welcome an e-learning initiative, but senior C-suite leaders might find themselves at sea when made to learn from a person teaching through a screen.
Organizations could do this:
- Carry out organization-wide surveys to gauge skills gaps, learning needs, and employee aspirations.
- Form clusters of employees with similar needs based on the findings.
- Offer different kinds of learning programs aligned with specific clusters.
Provide on-demand learning opportunities
- Give employees the resources they need to direct their own learning.
- Take a personalized approach to provide L&D opportunities.
- Give them quality, bite-sized learning content so that they (employees) can choose the learning that best suits their needs.
Hire managers who coach
In 2002, the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin ran an experiment – they removed all managers. The experiment failed in a few months. They realized that managers contributed in many ways and a huge part of it was supporting career development through coaching at work. Google followed this with thorough internal research that revealed the most important managerial quality: coaching – an effective way for employees to learn on the job. When organizations hire managers who have the ability to coach their teams, employees grow more.
L&D programs should be strategic
Even if L&D initiatives are designed for employees, organizations can build them strategically to align with organizational goals and culture in all aspects: fill capability gaps, align with business strategy, demonstrate measurable RoI, and be well integrated into the organization’s learning culture.
Here’s how McKinsey explains it:
Are you rethinking your company’s L&D initiatives? The more diverse your workforce, the more flexible you should be in supporting learning strategies; and the more variety you can include, too. Get creative!
If you are in your mid or late-career and looking for re-aligning yourself for the changing job market, we have got you covered here on our blog about re-skilling to become relevant. Along with this, you can also check out our skills in demand in tech to know what skills will dominate the future job market.