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The Importance of Employee Learning and Development

Employee learning and development is such an important process, but it can often be at the bottom of an employer’s priority list. Employers go through the lengthy process of finding and recruiting qualified, suitable candidates but, often, the focus stops there with employers overlooking the importance of helping their employees learn new skills and develop their potential.

Employee learning and development is incredibly vital to a business’ growth and success. There are some obvious, potential drawbacks to implementing employee learning and development opportunities; Some employers may find implementing them to be costly. Employees may also have to miss out on work time to attend the sessions, which not only adds to the cost but can also delay the completion of outstanding projects. However, despite this learning and development opportunities will benefit not just the individual employees but the company itself, making the cost a worthwhile investment.

If you want to know more about the importance of employee learning and development programmes, here are just a few ways in which they can benefit your business.

Attract top candidates

It may not be one of the most immediately obvious benefits, but by creating and implementing employee learning and development opportunities you will not only attract more candidates to your business, but you will also be attracting more of the most talented candidates out there.

In a candidate-driven market, a competitive salary is not enough on its own to attract high-quality candidates. Employers need to be showing what else they can offer on top of the salary to attract top talent.

The Covid-19 pandemic has created a stronger appetite for learning and upskilling than ever before, whether this is in a person’s current line of work or even in a new career entirely. Various surveys have all revealed that the job seekers of today consider employee training and development as a major benefit. Whether an employer makes these opportunities readily available for their employees could potentially make or break whether a candidate applies for their vacancies.

Not only this but learning and development opportunities in a job have been of long-term importance for the two younger generations present in the workforce: Millennials and Generation Z. A report from Gallup in 2016 revealed that 87% of millennials see learning and development in the workplace as important, with 55% going on further to say that the opportunity for learning and development was an extremely important factor in deciding whether they would apply for a vacancy.

According to Allianz, by as early as 2025, millennials could make up as much as 75% of the global workforce. Therefore, employers will need to be able to offer a commitment to employee learning and development to ensure they can continue to attract top candidates now and in the future.

Increase employee retention rates

Just like attracting high-quality candidates, retaining current talent can be an ongoing challenge for employers too, even more so in a candidate-driven market. Luckily, offering learning and development opportunities does not only help employers attract new employees but it helps in retaining them, too.

By offering learning and development opportunities to their current staff, employers are showing their employees that they are valued assets to the business. This then fosters a sense of loyalty from the employee to the company, ultimately increasing staff retention rates.

A recent study found that 94% of employees would stay at a company for longer if their employer is investing in their career development, which just goes to show how hugely influential learning and development opportunities can be when it comes to retention rates.

Improve productivity rates

By investing in their employees’ learning and development, an employer can improve the company’s bottom line. This is because trained employees tend to be more productive in comparison to employees who do not receive training. A study conducted by IBM found that trained teams experience an increase in productivity levels of up to 10%.

When employers provide their employees with learning and development opportunities, they are ensuring their employees always have the skills and knowledge required to be continuously implementing best practices. Additionally, ensuring employees have regular training, employers will also be helping the employees to maintain a high level of skill and knowledge. All of this will mean employees will be carrying out their job as efficiently as possible, increasing their productivity and improving the company’s bottom line.

By tailoring employee learning and development opportunities to focus on filling in gaps in knowledge as well as focusing on the employee’s strengths, employers will be empowering their staff which ensures they are getting the best out of every one of them.

Increase job satisfaction and staff morale

While employee learning and development opportunities can benefit employers, we must not forget they should be there to benefit the employees, too.

Receiving training and development opportunities will undoubtedly positively impact an employee’s career growth, which will increase their morale and overall job satisfaction. Findings from thinqi.com show that employees who receive learning and development opportunities report considerably higher job satisfaction levels than those who are not offered such opportunities.

Employers are always striving to keep their employees happy in their job. When an employer offers their employees’ learning and development opportunities, this shows the employee that their employer is investing in them and helping them to improve their skills and knowledge so that they can excel in their position. All of this helps to motivate them, increasing their morale and satisfaction within their job.

As an added bonus, this will also go on to aid improvement in productivity and staff retention, too.

Give the company a competitive edge

Business environments, innovations, industry trends and technologies are always changing. The pandemic over the past year alone has already caused a lot of these to change considerably, even fast-tracking some of the changes that were supposed to take place over the next few years. It is crucial for employers to ensure they and their employees are always on top of these changes so that they can make sure they are ahead of their competitors.

Offering learning and development opportunities to employees will help them to keep up to date with their industry and best practices. It will also aid them in being better equipped to adapt quickly to these changes, giving the business the competitive advantage they need.

While there is a huge advantage to training when it comes to adopting new technology, processes and models, a simple one-off training programme is not enough. To be able to reap the full benefits, employers will need to ensure they are upskilling the workforce continuously.

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