In times of economic uncertainty, Learning and Development budgets are often the first to be cut back. But investing in your employees should always be a priority, especially when retention remains to be a challenge and competition for talent is only increasing.
According to the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.2 million workers quit in July—continuing a string of more than a year in which at least 4 million Americans put in their notice each month. And ONS data shows that the UK employment rate still has not recovered to its pre-pandemic level, while the number of economically inactive working-age people has risen to its highest since 2015.
The rising tide of resignations and the resulting impact on businesses is putting immense pressure on Human Resource and Talent Management professionals. They understand the need to plan and shape a future workforce, and the importance of investing in employees. But at the same time, they may get questions from the C-suite around the ROI of training and development.
Most everyone in the HR space has encountered the question, “What if we invest in developing our employees, and they leave anyway?”
To begin to answer this question, it can be helpful to reframe it by posing another question in return: “What if we don’t develop our employees, and they stay?”
Having employees who aren’t performing to their full potential can be detrimental to the growth of your business. To build a workforce that’s successful today and into the future, organizations must invest in employees and ensure they have the right skills to succeed.
What Does It Mean to Invest in Your Employees?
Investing in your employees involves communicating that as an employer, you value their contributions and recognize their potential, and are willing to back that up with financial rewards and learning and development opportunities.
Employees will choose to stay with your company—or leave for greener pastures—based on several factors. It’s not simply salary, but the entirety of your employees’ experience at work that impacts their engagement, performance, and retention.
For today’s talent, the opportunity to develop personally and professionally while on the job is ranked as highly important. According to Glint’s Employee Well Being Report, having opportunities to learn and grow is now the leading factor that people say defines an exceptional work environment.
How Can a Company Invest in Employees?
The first and most obvious way a company can invest in their employees is through financial compensation. It’s important to pay employees a fair wage for their contributions, and reviewing salary levels is even more critical now as inflation rises and competition for talent intensifies.
While a paycheck is important, it’s not the only way businesses can invest in their employees. Providing opportunities for continuing training and development is an investment with both short and long-term payoff. It not only signals to your employees you value them—leading to increased retention—it also strengthens their performance, leading to better business outcomes overall.
4 Ways Investing in Employee Training and Development Can Benefit Your Organization
Most people understand why we invest in financial markets: to outpace inflation and increase the value of our capital. In a very similar way, organizations must invest in their employees in order to stay ahead of disruptive changes and the skills curve, and help talent reach their full potential.
Here are four ways that investing in employee training and development can benefit your organization:
1. Improve performance through upskilling and reskilling
The rapid pace of technology has made it essential for employers to consistently evaluate the competencies their current workforce possesses, and where there might be skills gaps that need addressing.
Spotting these skills gaps can be done early and efficiently if your organization is using workforce analytics connected to the digital credentials your employees have earned. With insight into an employee’s current skills, you can recommend targeted upskilling and reskilling to help them stay productive and relevant as technology continues to shift the workplace ecosystem.
The payoff? A highly skilled workforce will be resilient to disruption and propel your organization into the future.
2. Enhance engagement and retention by recognizing achievements
Every employee wants to feel valued and acknowledged for their efforts. When you provide development opportunities to your employees, you signal that the organization believes in their potential and wants to prepare them for the next stage of their career—whether it’s with your company or somewhere else.
By tying digital badges to your learning and development programs, you create a tangible milestone for learners, and a way to recognize their efforts towards self-growth. Badges that can be shared in email signatures and social media increase visibility of the achievement, driving a recognition culture within your organization and improving feelings of appreciation and belonging. Employees who feel valued and acknowledged are more likely to stay engaged and remain with your company.
3. Fuel continuous growth with a learning culture
A learning culture arises when an organization communicates the value of continuous development, and backs that up with opportunities for employees.
Offering targeted learning and development programs to your internal talent marketplace does more than improve the engagement and performance of your employees. It also allows you to identify the employees who are most eager to learn, revealing a group of high-potentials that you can continue to nurture and develop career paths for.
Issuing digital badges elevates the visibility and prestige of your L&D initiatives and formalizes the achievement by giving employees an incentive to complete learning pathways and a way to share their progress with colleagues.
4. Plan for the future with strategic workforce insights
Digital badges backed by earning criteria and metadata allow HR professionals to see all the verified skills and credentials your employee connections earn from internal—and external—sources. This helps identify skills gaps and, if connected to your L&D platform, provides actionable insights for making sure your organization has the skills necessary to compete today and in the future.
The right workforce forecasting solution can help you understand how the roles in your organization will be impacted by emerging technologies and industry disruption. By using predictive analytics, you can give advanced warning to employees whose skills may be declining in relevance and provide them with opportunities to upskill or reskill—benefiting their individual productivity the collective success of your organization.
Take a Skills-Based Approach to Investing in Your Employees
Investing in employees improves productivity and fosters loyalty, which, in turn, improves talent retention. It’s a win for both the employee and the employer.
Take an intentional and targeted approach to learning and development with data-driven insights and forecasting that will help you meet the needs of today while preparing for what comes next. Our workforce solutions give organizations forward-looking analytics, forecasting tools, and verified skills data that workforce planning teams can use to take a skills-based approach to talent management.
Schedule a demo to learn more today.