If there were an L&D 101 class, one of the first lessons would be that your learning program should line up with your business goals. Yet, just 40% of organizations say that their L&D efforts align with their broader objectives.
Why? One reason is that many businesses treat L&D as a “Band-Aid” in their talent management strategy. They stick to basic talent acquisition—recruiting and onboarding—without giving equal attention to talent development.
When these organizations notice a sudden skill deficit, drop in engagement, or lower retention rates, they bring out a single training and call it a day. But this strategy doesn’t work in the long term because it doesn’t set employees up for ongoing success. Instead, it leaves team members more prone to burnout and turnover because they don’t feel they have the tools they need to do their jobs.
To truly align your L&D initiatives with your business goals, you need to make it a core component of your talent management strategy. Continuous, proactive L&D efforts are your best bet to attract, level up, and retain top talent.
A talent management strategy that prioritizes L&D saves costs on hiring and avoids the trap of last-minute reskilling. You’ll put continuous investments in your current team’s success instead of scrambling to hire or retrain.
On average, it costs $4,425 to hire a new employee and $1,111 to invest in a year of training for a team member. So, based on those rough estimates, you’ll pay 75% less when you choose to provide ongoing L&D to a team member instead of hiring a new one each year.
Just as it’s more cost-effective to retain an employee than hiring one, it’s more time-efficient to train employees who are already onboarded. It takes an average of 36 days to fill a new job position. Once you have that new team member, you’ll have to spend even more time bringing them up to the same productivity level as their colleagues.
Some organizations try to avoid these costs by rapidly reskilling existing employees instead of hiring new ones. But it’s not the quick fix you think it’d be. The concept of fast reskilling reduces employees to skill profiles that you can update instead of humans who need to adapt over time.
Instead, you need to add learning to your everyday talent management strategy to adapt quickly to changes in skill requirements. Continuous L&D efforts let you adjust your training to ever-changing market demands, helping your team members adjust, too. With this approach, you’ll invest small amounts of money and effort over time rather than using a lot of resources at once.
What can you do to make the most of your talent management budget with L&D? Plan your monthly, quarterly, and yearly talent management strategies alongside your L&D strategies. Make sure to implement regular learning initiatives into your plans instead of adding them as an afterthought.
Related: Your Complete Guide to Human Capital Management—How HCM Can Transform Your Workforce
You’ll pay 75% less when you choose to provide ongoing L&D to a team member instead of hiring a new one each year.
Thorough, L&D-aligned employee onboarding processes boost employee performance in the long run compared to traditional onboarding programs. Proper onboarding improves employee performance by up to 11% and employees’ discretionary effort by 20%.
You can take a variety of L&D measures throughout each milestone in the onboarding process:
Companies that pay attention to advanced onboarding processes like pre-boarding enjoy higher employee performance. Companies that have pre-boarding are 14% more likely to have employees that exceed expectations than companies without. Imagine how additional measures like the ones covered above could improve that performance even further. You can check out how we recommend structuring onboarding training in our dedicated ebook:
Proper onboarding improves employee performance by up to 11% and employees’ discretionary effort by 20%.
Talent management dedicated to employees’ professional development is key to retaining current team members and attracting new ones. Data from performance management platform Culture Amp links 54% of immediate retention to employees who believe their employers help with their professional development. 87% of millennials and 69% of non-millennials consider development opportunities a major factor in job choice.
It takes a sustained effort to retain and draw in employees through L&D. Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin by Deloitte, points out that the factors that go into retention go beyond compensation and duties—organizations have to act as “systems” that engage their employees.
So, what can you do to build L&D into your retention system? Based on data from the LinkedIn 2018 Workforce Learning Report showing that 94% of employees would stay longer with an employer that contributes to their careers, HR expert Meghan M. Biro recommends integrating “micro-learning” into your talent management strategy. Instead of delivering knowledge in long seminars, micro-learning breaks up that information into shorter, more focused lessons.
Biro defines micro-learning in the context of course length, but you can apply its premise to any L&D initiative. Micro-learning is all about embedding learning into every part of the employee experience—building a culture of learning. When learning happens as part of your day-to-day, it becomes much more digestible and meaningful.
Data from performance management platform Culture Amp links 54% of immediate retention to employees who believe their employers help with their professional development.
According to a Gallup poll, only 15% of workers across the world consider themselves engaged at work, making this a top priority for talent management. L&D can help your HR team meet the challenge of promoting employee engagement.
L&D boosts employee engagement by encouraging professional development, adaptability, collaboration, and inclusion in the company mission. When team members have the knowledge they need to participate in their work and employer culture, they become more productive and involved with their coworkers.
Employees need institutional knowledge and growth opportunities to stay engaged at their jobs. Quantum Workplace, a firm behind many metro areas’ “Best Places to Work” programs, identifies key drivers of employee engagement in its yearly reports on the subject. Two of its drivers for 2020 were “I see professional growth and career development opportunities for myself here” and “I have the information I need to do my job well.”
What does it look like when an organization engages employees with L&D? Dermira kept employees engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic with learning initiatives such as weekly “learning playbooks.” These resources offered curated learning materials for the week that helped employees stay on top of their learning and stay connected.
L&D boosts employee engagement by encouraging professional development, adaptability, collaboration, and inclusion in the company mission.
A Learning Organization perfectly aligns its talent management strategy, L&D efforts, and business goals. These organizations count on ongoing and active learning—two of the best practices you can promote when nurturing your talent.
Whether you decide to pick up a few Learning Organization habits or adopt the full model, you’ll reap the benefits of sustained learning efforts for your talent management strategy. Your team members will get more support for their Learning Needs, and you’ll have employees ready to perform their best.