All over the world people are leaving their jobs at unprecedented rates, in what some economists are calling “The Great Resignation”.
A recent Microsoft survey of more than 30,000 global workers found that 41% were thinking of quitting their jobs or changing professions this year.
There are many reasons why people are leaving their jobs in droves, and one is a lack of learning and development (L&D) opportunities. In fact, Deloitte research finds that companies with a strong learning culture have engagement and retention rates 30-50% higher than those without one.
In this article, we take a look at why a lack of L&D opportunities can drive people to leave their jobs and why they value these opportunities so highly.
We also offer some pointers on how your organisation can use its L&D offering to attract top talent.
Why People Are Leaving Their Jobs in Droves
There are many factors driving the Great Resignation, and these vary from person to person and company to company.
However, most of these push factors boil down to people feeling that their work and potential is under-appreciated or undervalued. They might feel this way due to insufficient compensation, overly stressful working conditions, or a work environment that leaves people’s development to stagnate.
Career growth and personal development stagnate when people don’t get the L&D opportunities they need at work, and this is why a company’s L&D offering is a prominent factor people consider when choosing to leave a job or start a new one.
The Burden of Stagnation
As the technologies we use at work continue to develop faster, the skills we use in the workplace are more rapidly becoming obsolete according to Deloitte.
It’s no longer enough to have a job in which one can apply one’s skills. People now want jobs that will help them to keep pace with others in their industry by continuously developing their skills.
If a job doesn’t do this, it can put someone in the tough position of trying to find a new job with an outdated skill set later on—and this can effectively end a person’s career.
Essentially, a job that doesn’t come with upskilling opportunities is a job that is not ideal and could even be risky to stay with for too long.
For people who are particularly driven by their career goals, a job without L&D is a job that pays the bills but does not enable them to develop themselves. It is therefore a job for now but not forever: a job they keep until better opportunities arise.
During the pandemic, many people have got stuck in “for-now” jobs: those that didn’t offer suitable long-term prospects but which people hung onto for the sake of sustaining their livelihoods during a time of great job scarcity.
Economies the world over are now recovering from the pandemic and more jobs are becoming available. As a result, those who can leave positions that don’t offer them sufficient professional development are doing so.
Why L&D Is Such a Strong Pull Factor
We’ve written at length about the benefits that a high-quality L&D offering can bestow on a company, including increased productivity, innovation, retention, and engagement.
One of the reasons we get so excited about building great L&D solutions is that they’re a win-win for businesses and their employees. A good workplace learning system benefits the company as well as all of the people who work for it.
We’ve discussed the negative push factors of not having a decent L&D solution in place, namely career-threatening skills stagnation, but there are also positive pull factors at play. L&D doesn’t just prevent skill stagnation but adds value and fulfilment to people’s work lives.
Working with an organisation that helps its people expand their skill sets and develop their professional portfolios means working with an organisation that helps people build their futures, not just pay the bills in the short term.
People’s desire to pursue their passions by progressing towards their ideal role is about more than just securing long-term career options for the sake of financial stability. It’s about doing work that brings them joy and makes their lives feel more meaningful.
The opportunity to feel excited to go to work in the morning and enjoy working all day is a dream that most people wish for but few get to live out.
Workplace learning opportunities can give people this opportunity by allowing them to develop the knowledge and skills they need to progress to their ideal role.
Empowering your people to build passion for their work by investing in their development also goes a long way to show them that you care about them, their unique contributions, and their long-term journeys—and not just about the revenue they can generate for your company in the immediate future. This can build people’s trust and feelings of psychological safety at work.
Another smaller benefit of workplace learning is that it can make any job more interesting by adding new challenges and getting people thinking about ways they could develop and use their existing capabilities.
How to Use Your L&D Offering to Pull Top Talent
If you have a good L&D offering in place, it’s important that you make your prospective hires aware of it so that they have all the information they need about your company when evaluating different offers.
Here are a few ways you can make your L&D offering known and attract top talent.
The rise of remote work has changed the job market significantly in that its removal of the traditional geographical borders is giving people a wider range of potential workplaces.
This means it’s easier for people who can work remotely to find their ideal job than it was before.
It’s therefore becoming more important than ever for employers to positively brand themselves and build their reputations as organisations that treat their people well, by offering robust workplace learning solutions amongst other benefits.
One of the key ways an employer can do this is by using their website to advertise the benefits they offer their employees, including workplace learning.
For example, Learnerbly clients including GoCardless (seen above), Hello Fresh, and Triple Point all have pages on their websites that explain what benefits they offer to their people, including workplace learning through Learnerbly.
It’s also important to include information about your L&D offering in your job postings. Let your prospective applicants know what working with you can do for their long-term careers.
Be specific about the kind of knowledge people can expect to gain, for example by noting upskilling opportunities that are available to people in the position advertised.
It’s also helpful to mention what career progression looks like and if you’re open to people moving into different roles and departments, as these opportunities—or a lack thereof—are also an important factor that can dictate whether someone will stay with a company or feel the need to seek mobility elsewhere.
Give prospective employees a taste of what they could be learning with your organisation by asking about their long-term goals and learning interests in interviews.
Listen to what they’re looking for from their workplace’s L&D solution and give examples of how your organisation’s offering could meet their needs.
Remember that workplace learning involves knowledge-sharing too, so you could also ask what kinds of knowledge-sharing activities would most interest them.
Finally, the best way to showcase the value employees can gain from your L&D offering is to share specific examples of how some of your people have benefited from it.
Gather stories from your people about how they have built new skills, grown into new roles, or learnt from their colleagues at work, and how this has impacted their career and personal development. Share these stories as case studies on your company blog or social media channels.
Ultimately, a key way to spread the word about your L&D offering is to build a learning culture that has your people raving about it to their industry networks.
In this way, the ideal L&D offering can speak for itself in terms of value by getting people buzzing with excitement about all the opportunities it has given them.
Help people set up and follow their career development plans, provide learning resources that are equally accessible to everyone, and build cultural habits—like continuously sharing feedback with radical candor—that support learning in everyday work activities as well as protected learning time.
Being able to publicise and offer a strong L&D solution is becoming increasingly important to any company that wants to attract top talent.
A lack of growth opportunities is one of the key factors driving the so-called Great Resignation, and it’s one of the key attributes people are looking for in the greener pastures they seek.
To make the most of your L&D solution by using it to attract talent to your organisation, advertise it on your website and in your job postings as a meaningful benefit you offer your employees. Bring it up in interviews, and share your people’s L&D success stories on your blog or via your social media channels.
However, remember that all of these actions will only be effective in the long term if you have a learning solution and culture in place that truly drives people’s engagement and sparks excitement.