Learning and development provide a slew of benefits for workers and employers. While these practices continually change according to the times, the aspect of work remains vital in an organization’s success. Digitisation is a massive factor in the current scheme of things, whereby modern tutors and instructors can reach a larger number of learners with unmatched accessibility and flexibility. Organisations can better understand and prioritise the need for learning and development by assessing how the process keeps them relevant and competitive within their industries.
Keeping Up with Market Trends
The economy and markets rapidly change, especially during the pandemic season where organisations struggle to move ahead despite financial and social challenges. Information-intensive industries like data security, account management, and training, undergo policy changes and practices. Employers need to ensure that workers have the right tools and knowledge to thrive in the current environment and beyond.
Two categories of learning and development help individuals adapt and cope with market/industry challenges – reskilling and upskilling. Upskilling enables learners to improve existing knowledge – to adopt new applications, methodologies, and technologies that optimise their tasks and operations.
Reskilling takes on a more transformational and taxing approach, where individuals learn a new skill from ground zero. Reskilled individuals usually prepare themselves for new appointments and transfers that require an entirely different skillset from previous roles. Therefore, employers must identify each worker’s specific needs (i.e., career goals, family commitments, strengths) before recommending a training course.
A confident workforce is likely to remain engaged in their specific roles, delivering the best work standard, which ultimately improves its reputation and success.
Building a Culture of Learning and Efficacy
A culture of learning and efficacy goes a long way in attracting and retaining the best talents for the job. By implementing a host of learning opportunities (ideally tailored to individual skills and interests), organisations can draw the right attention from prospective hires and partners. The image of a united workplace driven by learning is synonymous with motivation, success, and optimal workplace satisfaction.
Additionally, as word passes on and with an influx of suitable hires, the company can look forward to additional growth, development, and expansion opportunities.
Disrupting the Monotony
Fun and engaging workplaces encourage new ideas and improved collaborations among co-workers. Learning and development can disrupt workplace monotony by breaking from routine tasks while engaging teams in novel ways.
For example, Lego Serious Play workshops provide workers with the opportunity to express themselves creatively, openly, and visually, regardless of position. The process starts insightful conversations and fresh perspectives that take an organisation forward when conventional meetings and discussions prove ineffective.
Staying in line with Modern Employee Behaviour
Employment trends show that modern employees prioritise the need for a sense of purpose at the workplace. In other words, individuals seek meaning and significance in their roles, rather than solely a source of income. Learning and development provide professional improvement and valuable opportunities to hone personal soft skill sets applicable beyond workplace boundaries.
In fact, learning and development opportunities may prove more valuable than monetary benefits, bonuses, and allowances. According to research by people experience platform BetterUp, 9 out of 10 career professionals shared that they were willing to give up 23% of their future earnings for a work that is always meaningful.
While multiple factors contribute to meaning and purpose at work, learning and development can help reduce some of the common issues leading to disengagement. For example, some employees may feel a lack of purpose in their roles due to irrelevant tasks that fail to connect with their professional goals. These individuals may feel the dread and drag in every workday, bringing them no closer to personal objectives. Tailored learning and development courses can help these individuals focus and improve professional skills based on their unique strengths and allow employers to assign the right job every time.
The Power of Appreciation
Learning and development initiatives show interest in the well-being of employees. Staff appreciation can take many forms, and there are few methods as effective as showing how much an organisation is willing to invest in the future of its workers. Appreciation can lead to marked improvements in worker engagement, which drives performance and productivity.
Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin shared, “It should go without saying, if the person who works at your company is 100 percent proud of the brand and you give them the tools to do a good job, and they are treated well, they’re going to be happy. Branson also added that “effectively, in the end, shareholders do well, the customers do better, and your staff remains happy.”
Additionally, trained employees may improve their outputs and efficiencies to demonstrate that the organisation’s trust is well-placed. Employees may operate with optimized consistency to receive similar learning and development opportunities in the future. The process could help create a positive workplace culture that motivates other workers to work harder.
Embracing the New Age of Learning and Development
One of the biggest challenges in learning and development involves balancing out schedules between training with workplace duties. Some employers and workers may consider learning and development an optional process – which could prove detrimental to organisational health in the long-term.
It is essential to consider learning and development as a vital process that keeps organisations prepared for the challenges of today and the future. A workforce equipped with updated skills and technologies will have the confidence to do their best work while representing the organisation as an industry leader.
Satisfied workers are more loyal to a company, resulting in higher worker retention rates that improve the organisation’s reputation. As a result, learning and development can help organisations reduce the cost and effort spent on hiring and training new employees. Additionally, companies lose productivity while the position remains unfilled or temporarily occupied by a less efficient worker.
There is much to gain (employee satisfaction, reduces crippling turnover cost, expansion opportunities) and little to lose (some time off regular work) with the implementation of lifelong learning and education at work.
Learning and development should be a requirement in any proverbial employer manual. Perhaps it is time to consider investing in employees’ future capabilities, especially during the new normal when markets and industries seem more unpredictable than ever.
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