By RedBalloon for Business

Why learning and employee development is key for employee retention

In recent years, it has become increasingly obvious to employers that learning and development is a core foundation for long-term staff retention. In this sense, it’s easy to see why learning and development is a primary focus for HR managers and business leaders.

But why has learning and development emerged as being of high value to your employees, and how does it impact their long-term trajectory with the business? Here’s what you need to know.

Why the shift towards learning and development in the workplace?

In an increasingly demanding workforce, time pressures leave little margin for unproductivity. Due to the fast and unpredictable nature of work, as an employer, it is essential that you have an army of highly skilled employees that can be agile in the face of change.

On the flip side, employees want to keep their skills up to date and grow within a business. As such, employers need to prepare and equip their employees with the tools and knowledge to set their employees up for success. Businesses that fail to extend their budget to include a people investment are more likely to see employees move to a business that will. Why?

By investing in your people you are unequivocally communicating to them that they are worth it – that they are valuable and that you see them in the future of the business. This is especially crucial in the war for talent in a highly competitive market.

Why is building a culture of learning important for staff retention?

Learning and development doesn’t just benefit your employees. Investing in your employees makes good business sense. Still not convinced? Here are some hard-hitting facts on learning and development and what it means for your employees and staff retention:

  • The financial burden of replacing an employee can reach up to 9 months of their annual salary.
  • According to a LinkedIn survey, opportunities for growth and development are the top reasons employees are willing to stay with a business. In fact, 56% of employees will remain with their current employer when they are offered “opportunities for challenge” or to “improve skills”.
  • Employees that don’t believe that they can fulfil their career aspirations with their employer are 12 times more likely to contemplate resigning.

But, what if I train and develop my employees and they still leave?

A level of attrition is normal within any business. However, equipping your employees with the tools and knowledge to not only set them up for success in their current role, but to provide opportunities for career advancement, is a powerful retention tool that should not be underestimated.

This is especially apparent as studies show that 40% of employees will resign within the first year when they are not set up with the required training tools to succeed in their role.

Yes, there is always a risk that an employee will leave. But the risk that they will leave due to a lack of development is much greater. The truth is, all employees want to feel valuable. They want to feel they belong at work and have a sense of purpose in what they do. Otherwise, what’s the point? This is, in essence, captured in the following quote of Richard Branson:

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to”

The fundamental risk is that you fail to understand the needs of your employees, and they leave as a result.

What you can do to facilitate employee learning and development

There are many ways you can support employees on their learning and development journey. Build a career development framework to ensure that you understand your employees goals and needs. So how can you do that? Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Implement a Reward and Recognition program: Through RedBalloon for Business, you can create a customised awards program to recognise your employees. One of our clients created the ‘Shining Star’ Award which is given to someone who “continually challenges themselves and others to improve, sets ambitious goals and seeks feedback for improvement purposes”.
  • Incentivise self-development: this is a surefire way to encourage employees to undertake training.
  • Ask your employees what their long term aspirations within the business are: where do they see themselves in 12 months? What areas of the business are they interested in understanding more about?
  • Support Continual Professional Development (CPD): some roles require ongoing, often annual, refresher courses to ensure skills and training are up-to-date with industry needs.
  • Find out where your employees need to improve their skills: it could be a brush up on Excel or a leadership course to supplement a change in role.
  • Conduct an internal survey: ask all staff how they feel that their current skills benchmark against their role requirements.

Benefits of investing in the development of your people

Staff retention, whilst arguably the most important benefit of creating a learning and development culture, is not the only benefit. Other advantages of investing in your people include:

  • Development and retention of a highly skilled workforce
  • Competitive advantage
  • Reduced turnover
  • Greater employee satisfaction and meaning in work
  • Increased employee loyalty

Building a learning culture is a powerful tool for staff retention. This is why it’s crucial to train and develop your people so as to harness your employees skills and ensure they feel valued.

RedBalloon for Business provides recognition and reward programs to recognise your employees for commitment to their development.

To get our bi-monthly Handpicked selection of blogs, ideas and stories for business success click here, and join us in the conversation on LinkedIn.

To find out more about how the RedBalloon for Business team can help you reward and recognise your people, contact us today

Additional Sources:

Creating A Culture Of Continuous Learning

Why is Learning and Development Important?