The pandemic has caused millions of people to quit their jobs, leaving companies scrambling to find ways to hold on to their top employees and attract new ones. In addition to compensation, benefits and flexibility, learning and development (L&D) programs can be an appealing benefit. In fact, skills training is one of the top perks younger workers look for in a new job, according to a Gallup survey conducted on behalf of Amazon. In that survey, 66 percent of workers ages 18-24 ranked learning new skills as the third-most important perk when evaluating new job opportunities, behind only health insurance and disability benefits.
Here are some best practices to successfully leverage learning and development as hiring and retention tools:
Evaluate the needs of the organization and the employees. Don’t start developing a training program without considering the skills gap. First take a hard look at the weaknesses and strengths of your staff – what skills do they lack and would help them improve productivity and advance professionally. Begin by surveying employees about their training interests and interviewing managers to find out what skills are needed and how management can better support them.
Customize training. You don’t have to organize expensive offsite training events. Rather, aim for focused micro-learning opportunities, which can include short videos, online training and mentoring sessions. Let your employees choose the kind of training that makes sense for their role and professional development. Offer the training they need for their career progression in the format that matches their learning style.
Promote your culture. Your L&D programs give you an excellent opportunity to send a strong message about your organization’s culture. In addition to signaling how much the company values education and growth for its employees, you are creating an environment where your employees feel welcome at work – and that can help you retain talent and attract new hires. An added benefit is that your current employees can even aid in finding those new hires by recommending the company to other people.
L&D might seem like something too expensive and time-consuming, especially for smaller companies. But the reality is that training is more affordable than ever, and its benefits do not have to do with business size. In a world where workers, especially those from younger generations, want to see an obvious path to advancement and growth, it’s not an opportunity you can afford to pass up.