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July 20, 2022

How To Boost Retention Through People Development

4 min read
By Khairunnisa Mohamedali PhD

94% of people would stay at a company for longer if it was actively investing in their career development. With an estimated 11.3 million current job vacancies amid an increasingly tight labour market, it’s unsurprising that attracting and retaining talent has become an organisational priority for many people leaders.

Articulating your development offering is not just about getting critical talent in the door, it’s also about keeping them in the organisation over the longer term. Salary may no longer be enough to keep your talent engaged. Boosting your retention by focusing on learning and development (L&D) is an inclusive, cost-effective way of demonstrating that your people have a future at your organisation, and that they will continue to grow if they stay.

The statistics are clear on the link between retention and development: according to CIPD data, half of employees who feel their development opportunities are unsatisfying and misaligned to their career aspirations are looking for other employment. Of those who are satisfied with their development, just 6% were looking for different work.

Retention and development are inseparable. Here’s how to better retain your people by focusing on learning and development:

1) Articulate your development offering clearly

Creating a Development Value Proposition (DVP) is a straightforward way to ensure that your talent knows what development they will receive  and you know  what you’re giving. It’s a clear articulation of your organisation’s unique training and people development offering.

Your DVP spans the entire development journey, outlining what, when and how training and development are delivered, and why your talent should choose to stick with you over joining a competitor. Importantly, it gives you a blueprint to be able to deliver a consistent learning journey across your organisation.

Taking the time to properly map out and communicate your organisation’s development offering will pay dividends amongst your existing people (not just potential hires): Research shows that a robust development offering means people are over twice as likely to stay at their current company, 3.6 times more likely to report being happy, and 3.5 times more likely to report that their organisation is helping them meet their development goals.

2) Foster a learning culture

Upskilling shouldn’t just be for your new joiners – skills are constantly changing, and as a result, your organisation should be encouraging learning, upskilling, and reskilling in all your people (even those that may have been in their roles for some time).

LinkedIn, a pioneering organisation in this area, gives their people the opportunity to learn on a monthly basis. One “InDay” per month is set aside for employees to focus on “themselves, the company, and the world.” Employees are invited to participate in whatever way works for them around their workload, and because InDay happens every month, new joiners at LinkedIn are immediately immersed in the learning culture of the organisation.

According to LinkedIn’s own data, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company for longer if the business was actively investing in their career development, and LinkedIn have addressed this by setting aside time to prioritise learning and development at an organisational level. Setting up the importance of learning to your people right from the start will help manage their expectations around learning and development throughout their time at your organisation.

3) Develop skills

So you’ve properly articulated your organisation’s development offering, and you’ve fostered a learning culture by setting aside time for your people to learn. But how can you ensure that your people are learning the right things for themselves and for their roles?

Udemy, the online learning company, encourage their people to take charge of their own learning in an initiative they call “Drop Everything and Learn” (or DEAL). Every month, everyone drops whatever they’re doing and takes an online class in anything they want. This initiative came about as a result of a Udemy study that found disengaged and bored employees are twice as likely to leave organisations. The same study showed that 80% of respondents agreed that learning new skills would make them more engaged – and engaged employees stay longer at organisations.

In many cases however, your people may not know which skills to develop and may need more direction. In this instance, teaching your people transferrable soft skills like empathy, leadership or creativity that they can use outside of work will demonstrate a commitment to your peoples’ growth and development as individuals, beyond just training them to perform better in their current roles.

Need help with your Learning & Development Offering?

Do you have a strong development offering, but aren’t sure how to articulate it? Perhaps you need help re-thinking your development from the ground up? Drawing on our award-winning work in attraction and development, our 2022 People Development Whitepaper provides everything you need to get started with your DVP journey.

Request your copy of our 2022 People Development Whitepaper:

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