Building Your Learning Culture to Retain Top Talent

As businesses are ramping up and asking employees to return to in-person work in offices, restaurants, hotels, and manufacturing firms, millions of people are leaving their jobs in search of something different, something more. What they’re looking for varies, but there are some common factors being reported. Over the last 18 months, workers have had time to think about what they really want and have decided that life is too short to settle. Many are seeking higher pay, healthier work-life balance, and a better working environment. Some want to follow their passions or find a role that allows them more flexibility for remote work. Logically, this mass exodus says that the market should be flooded with job candidates, but employers in industries of all types are struggling to attract new talent and fill open positions. Does this sound familiar? Is your organization concerned about losing talent or being able to fill key roles?

How to Find New Talent

While much of this “Great Resignation” can be linked to COVID-19 and its impact on specific industries, the struggle to reduce turnover is not new—nor is the drive workers have to seek better opportunities. The factors that employees reference when describing why they chose to leave a job or organization are familiar: better pay, advancement, relocation, etc. Many people have said that it’s not a job that a person leaves, it’s a manager. And while that may be true to some degree, research has consistently indicated that people will also leave a job or organization that doesn’t demonstrate a core cultural commitment to its employees’ growth and development.
two coworkers shaking hands

In 2018, research revealed that workers were more likely to leave a job and organization if they felt there were no opportunities for growth or development. In addition, almost half of millennials indicated that “development and growth opportunities was the number-one factor when considering a job opportunity” and over 90% said they “would stay with an organization longer if it invested in their careers.” This tendency was true before COVID-19 and it remains true today.

LinkedIn Learning’s Workplace Learning Report 2021 provides numerous examples of how the current climate has only deepened the desire for learning and development opportunities. Organizations need to realize that workers are looking closely at their relationship with the organization and asking, “If I am bringing value to the organization, what value is the organization bringing to my life—beyond my paycheck and benefits package?” People want to know not only what their work means to the organization, but also that the organization recognizes what having opportunities to grow and achieve means to them and their future.

The bottom line is this: if an organization isn’t meaningfully and proactively demonstrating that learning and development is an integral part of its culture, it is more likely to lose key talent and less likely to attract it.

Change That Can Improve Performance

The good news is that Learning & Development professionals are integral to implementing a solution that will provide measurable results for the organization. Organizations provide development opportunities in search of a specific outcome: change that is clearly demonstrated through performance improvement and a stronger bottom line—and that type of change can be achieved through increased retention and the ability to attract new talent. The research indicated the following success factors:

  • Increase interest for potential recruits by demonstrating the organization’s commitment to learning and development as part of the benefits it offers.
  • Create an employee-retention strategy that includes a specific learning and development initiative.
  • Involve managers in the learning and development process to “drive learner engagement” and ensure accountability, follow-through, and sustainable change, as well as to show the organization’s commitment to the learner.
  • “Make talent a renewable resource by providing upskilling, reskilling, and upward-mobility opportunities” that can make a substantive and measurable difference to the success of the individual and the organization.
  • Employ survey tools that include employee engagement as a way to measure the effectiveness of learning and development programs and approaches.

To learn more about developing learning programs that generate engagement, support your employees’ desire for growth and development, and inspire true, long-term change in your organization, contact CMOE for a complimentary consultation.

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About the Author

Cyndi Keller

Cyndi Keller is the Director of Curriculum Design & Development at CMOE. She brings over 20 years of communication project management experience to the Design Team and CMOE clients. She works with the Design Team to guide the design, development, and production of innovative learning and development curriculum.