Learning and development (L&D) strategies define how a company develops and expands its employees’ skills, capabilities, and competencies to remain relevant and successful in a competitive market. Learning and Development have become the top priorities for most organizations regarding growth and vision.
WHAT IS LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT?
According to Elisa Burgos-Ojeda, Learning & Development Manager at nTech Workforce, “Learning and Development is such a broad umbrella [term] that can fit anything from traditional courses, training, membership associations, coaching, mentorship, webinars, books, and podcasts, to name a few.”
Why is Learning and Development Important?
Learning and development can take different forms for individual employees, but the focus should be on employee growth and skill development. Here are some reasons why every company should have an effective L&D strategy.
1. PREVENT STAGNATION
Stagnation is the opposite of learning and development. It can be very dangerous for a company not to have an extensive L&D strategy in place. Learning and development is a continuous process that does not have to stop. Burgos-Ojeda suggests, “Identifying and developing employees’ superpowers can generate so much energy, creativity, and value for any company. In failing to do that, we miss on so many critical opportunities, results, and outcomes. Outcomes that can result in process improvements, quality of output, competitive advantages in the market, and exploring/tapping into new markets.”
2. Hiring is Expensive
The costs of turnover are quite high (sometimes amounting to the annual salary of the employee replaced). With an effective L&D strategy, companies can avoid most of these turnovers. Retaining talented employees is more cost-effective than recruiting, hiring, training, and onboarding new employees. According to Cynthia Moore, Co-founder and Vice President at VMS Professionals, the cost of turnover is $24,000 for call center workers based on a 40% turnover rate. This cost includes the costs of contingent workers, trainers, and trainees. This demonstrates that hiring new workers is more expensive than retaining existing talent. With effective L&D strategies, companies can improve employee retention, confidence, and productivity and help employers build the trust of their employees.
3. INCREASE PROFIT MARGINS
Employees are the biggest asset of any company. Investing in employee learning and training programs will increase their productivity. With upskilling and reskilling training programs, you can fill the knowledge gaps and keep your employees updated with technological advances. Studies have found that upskilling employees increases profit margins between 14 and 29%. Equipping employees with the necessary skills and tools to excel in their jobs is a smart move.
4. IMPROVED CUSTOMER SERVICE AND SATISFACTION
Customers expect employees to be experts in their fields to resolve their issues in the most efficient manner. Your employees must be knowledgeable enough to talk to customers and address their concerns. Positive customer experience is the key to loyalty and retention, and employees should understand the products and services your company sells. Companies with an L&D strategy witness a 16% increase in customer satisfaction.
DESIGNING AN EFFECTIVE L&D STRATEGY
Although learning and development trends change based on market demands and employee needs, Burgos-Ojeda breaks down an effective approach to the L&D strategy into three steps:
- Listen to and observe your employees. Do not design something in a vacuum. This will help you understand the needs of the company before addressing them.
- Have a growth mindset. Approach Learning & Development in a way that can be iterated so that you can evolve in many ways to ensure it caters to all of the individuals within the company.
- Develop an effective communications strategy and ensure sufficient support from leadership so that employees understand what the offerings are and how their time is valued. Your communications strategy should fit the needs of all individuals.
The importance of learning and development in the workplace is marked by high levels of employee motivation and career advancement. Such investment naturally makes them more connected and interested in their work. An effective L&D strategy is not one mandated path or homogeneous cookie-cutter approach suitable for different employees. Development may take different paths for individual employees.
At nTech Workforce, we are committed to helping you build a winning workforce. Our unique solutions are optimized for solving employee growth, hiring, productivity, and diversity challenges. Working with clients across various industries, we are experts in employee engagement and retention.