Star Performers: How to Attract & Retain the Best Talent Through L&D

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Debbie Marshall
Head of HR
Star Performers: How to Attract & Retain the Best Talent Through L&D

“If you want to attract and employ top talent, you must first create an organisation that top talent wants to be a part of.” – Steve Ferrante, CEO and Trainer of Champions, Sale Away LLC.

Years ago, a job was often a job for life. Nowadays, we are in the midst of rapid global economic growth, technological advancement and changing job requirements. Today’s workers are therefore now far more likely to have what Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott (both professors at the London Business School) call a “life of jobs” as opposed to a “job for life”. According to LinkedIn, the number of job switchers is growing – over the past four years, the pool of active job seekers (actively looking and casually looking a few times a week) has grown by 36%.    

Add this to the fact that 49% of millennials – a “generation disrupted” – would quit their current jobs in the next two years if given the choice, it is now more crucial than ever that we focus on retention to avoid the subsequent costs to our organisations.

How Can L&D Provide a Solution?

We’ve already discussed in a previous blog post the importance of implementing a solid onboarding program for new hires to improve employee retention. After all, a new hire who feels supported, included and valued from the very beginning is far more likely to stick around than one who is barely introduced to the culture before being thrown in the deep end. 

But once an employee has been working at your organisation for a few months and has settled into their role, how do you keep them engaged? How can you prevent them from being driven by boredom and frustration to seek better opportunities elsewhere?

We need to go back and look at the root causes of employee turnover. According to Deloitte, the main reasons for wanting to leave (or having already left) are both dissatisfaction with pay and a lack of professional development opportunities. What’s more, Culture Amp has found that people who stay with an organisation are 24% more likely to say that they have had access to the learning and development they needed. When we consider that the cost of finding and recruiting a replacement is estimated to be a staggering three times that employee’s annual salary, these are not the sort of statistics we can afford to overlook.

People are not robots – they have ambitions. They are motivated by professional development opportunities. It’s up to us to provide our employees with those opportunities for them to achieve their maximum potential.

What Steps Can You Take to Attract and Retain Talent?

Fortunately, there are several you can do to show current and potential employees that your company values their development. Here are a few to get you started.

1. Shout About L&D – From the Moment You Advertise

Don’t leave it until the interview stage or initial performance review to talk about development. You want to be showing people that L&D is valued in your organisation to attract ambitious workers in the first place. Tout the development opportunities and career paths that roles can offer – showing that L&D is a key part of your organisation is conducive to building a solid culture of learning.

2. Champion Your Ambassadors for Learning

The importance of championing those who are already successfully employing the skills they’ve learned is something we’ve covered in detail in our free expert guide, ‘A Recipe for Success: How to Use Marketing to Boost Your L&D Efforts’. Leaders can act as social influencers to drive positive behaviour change. For example, by hearing a respected and successful member of the team tell the story of their career development and the learning they did to get there, others will be excited and inspired to follow suit. 

And the results speak for themselves; according to LinkedIn, 56% of employees would take a manager-suggested course. Find your ambassadors for learning – leverage your biggest success stories and you’ll find further successes will follow suit.

3. Remember – Bite-Sized is the Bright-Sized

Research has revealed that 58% of employees prefer opportunities to learn at their own pace and 49% prefer to learn at the point of need. In our previous blog post, ‘Learning in the Modern Workplace: What Does Modern Learning Look Like?’, we discussed how today’s time-poor employees need learning that’s accessible and available whenever and wherever they need it. Modern learners don’t want to sit through an hour of ‘chalk and talk’ style learning while their workload continues to pile up.

Offering the learning digitally, and in bite-sized chunks, allows you to group smaller amounts of similar content – meaning the learning is more targeted and specific. It lets learners know that every little morsel of information is relevant, so they’ll consume it with due attention and consideration. The result? 

Better engagement, a willingness to learn, and more skills acquired to help employees develop professionally without disrupting their day-to-day work.

This is where a blended learning program can truly support the needs of the modern learner.

4. Promote and Hire From Within Your Organisation

Promoting and hiring employees internally shows that you care about their development. It’s all very well bringing someone new in for a higher position, but this can demotivate employees who are keen to move up the career ladder. By narrowing their development options, employees are likely to feel undervalued and unmotivated – and it won’t be long before they are packing up and heading for better options elsewhere.

Where possible, help your employees feel key to the organisation’s success by prioritising their development first and foremost. Not only will this increase retention and keep employees’ knowledge and experience within the company, but it will also reduce the cost of hiring for both the initial vacancy and a replacement for the employee who inevitably hands in their notice. 

In Summary…

The message is clear: L&D initiatives communicate to employees and applicants that your organisation is invested in their professional growth. And with today’s volatile economic climate, it comes as no surprise that a quarter of organisations are already developing existing staff following the UK’s decision to leave the EU with its risks of reduction in labour mobility. Organisations are now waking up to the fact that it is a far better investment in the long-run to upskill existing employees, rather than try to source talent for increasingly hard-to-fill positions.

Encourage professional development in a way that includes people of all ages and backgrounds – this forms the basis of a solid culture of learning that practices continuous learning. Listen to your employees. Support them with their ambitions and show that your organisation values their professional growth. Not only will this mean your current employees are happier to stick around, but remember – an organisation that truly cares is always the most attractive option for new talent. 

L&D: the greatest tool in your inventory when it comes to overcoming the growing recruitment challenges of today.

If you would like to learn more about how our cutting-edge blended learning ecosystem can help you achieve you make the most of your people power, we’ve got the tools and expertise to help you succeed. Request a demo to arrange to speak to one of our experts.

We’re always exploring key trends in the learning and development world, so keep an eye on our blog and social media channels to see when new insights are published:

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Debbie Marshall
Head of HR