3 Reasons Why Every Workplace Should Invest in Learning and Development

By BrainStation April 15, 2019
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We’ve written in the past about how digital skills training can help your company’s digital transformation, but there’s increasing evidence that a learning and development (L&D) program is now an essential component of the digital economy. Today’s employees are increasingly seeing the value in ongoing, professional development that improves their performance on the job, and prepares them for the future.

Here are three reasons every company should be investing in L&D.

L&D Improves Employee Engagement and Retention

Employee retention often comes down to one thing: engagement. Are your employees engaged in their job and happy to come to work? According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace, only 32 percent of workers felt this way about their jobs. Unfortunately, this is most likely exacerbated by the digital transformation that is now changing entire industries.

According to the 2019 Digital Skills Survey results:

  • 74 percent of organizations are actively involved in digital transformation.
  • 63 percent of executives say their digital investments are growing.

These rapid digital shifts are ultimately creating concerns and anxiety around job security in many organizations.

An L&D program has the benefit of boosting your company’s skill set and knowledge, while also improving overall morale and engagement. It is one of the simplest and most effective ways to show your employees that you care about their development and future, which ultimately plays a big role in keeping them from leaving.

There is evidence to back this up. In a 2017 survey, which surveyed 400 employees spanning three generations, 70 percent indicated that job-related training and development opportunities influenced their decision to stay at their job. 87 percent of millennials (who now make up 42 percent of the workforce), also said access to career growth opportunities was very important in deciding whether to stay or go. Overall, highly engaged teams are said to experience 59 percent less turnover than teams that are less engaged.

This can have a massive impact on the bottom line, particularly when it comes to closing skills gaps. According to a 2019 report, it’s now cheaper to reskill current employees than to hire new ones, which means an effective L&D program can save your company valuable time and money that would have otherwise been spent on recruiting.

It Increases Productivity (and Revenue)

The 2016 State of the Industry Report claimed that businesses are providing employees with an average of 32.4 learning hours per year, with overall spending on corporate training now totaling more than $70 billion.

This investment is paying off. It’s been suggested that a 10 percent increase in educational development leads to an 8.6 percent gain in productivity, with highly engaged workforces outperforming less engaged teams by 147 percent. According to The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), companies that offer comprehensive training also have a 24 percent higher profit margin and a six percent higher shareholder return over companies that do not provide training.

It Builds Your Employer Brand

In the reviews-based world we live in, people can easily turn to social media or websites like Glassdoor and Payscale to read anonymous reviews from current or past employees to discover what it’s really like to work somewhere.

In fact, 54 percent of us do.

This means an employer’s reputation is now more important (and more fragile) than ever, and providing ongoing learning opportunities is an easy way to cultivate a strong workplace culture and employer brand. Apart from the impact, this can have on your company’s reputation, there is evidence to suggest that it can be a recruitment tool in and of itself. In fact, 42 percent of employees say learning and development is the most important benefit when deciding where to work.

It Improves Company-wide Innovation and Performance

As Richard Branson has famously said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

When you’ve embedded a culture of learning and support in your workplace, innovation is a natural and fruitful by-product. An ongoing learning strategy provides a context for your team to think forward. And by mapping out your employees’ career pathways, you are not only promoting a leadership mindset among junior employees but also preparing your company for long-term growth.

Innovation keeps employees engaged, excited, and encourages them to perform better, which will be reflected in your brand as an industry leader that stays ahead of trends. In fact, “companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%.”

Not only does ongoing learning support the team on the ground by creating a “pool of employees who are quick learners and flexible workers,” it also enables senior leadership to embrace innovation and “weave [it] into the daily business processes of the company to reduce costs and wastage and drive up productivity and profits.”

So whether your company is interested in new techniques to engage your team, a strategy to improve your employer reputation, or ongoing innovation, a comprehensive learning and development program will help address those challenges.

 

Looking to train your team? BrainStation’s Enterprise Team can help find the best learning option for your organizational needs.