The workforce of today values learning. They want an organization to invest in their growth and employers are fast realizing how significantly this factor is impacting hiring and retention. This might be a trend that picked up during the pandemic, but it’s been on the slowburner for a while. There is enough and more research out there that substantiates this. A recent LinkedIn survey showed that 7 out of 10 Gen Z are more likely to join a company if they get ample learning opportunities. The 2021 Employee Well-Being Report by Glint showed that opportunities to learn and grow shot up eight positions between 2020 and 2021 to become the number one factor for employees to value an organization. That’s an incredible jump in priority especially because the other things it surpassed are a sense of belonging, organizational values, support for well-being, collaboration and change adaption – all being primary drivers of an employer’s brand until then.
There’s an obvious shift in the way the current generation of working professionals feel about work and it’s not merely functional. We’re essentially looking at a workforce that values organizations that help them learn and contribute to their social, intellectual and professional growth.
This is not surprising, but it’s definitely not something that should be ignored. The manner in which companies follow up on this is critical. People around the world value a learning culture at the workplace but how learning helps a company’s business growth is where the buck stops.
Investing on learning can save your company time and money
The fact of the matter is that learning has proven to significantly improve a company’s bottom line. Studies over the last decade have shown how upskilling employees can lead to 14%-29% increase in profit and 10%-19% increase in sales. This has led to a significant uptake in how companies look at L&D as a whole.
L&D become an important central function of organizations as per the LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report 2022 which also highlighted that there has been an upwards of 94% increase in the demand for L&D specialists in just the last year. This is a direct result of the fact that upskilling employees is not just an employee priority, but directly linked to business outcomes. One of these outcomes is lower attrition. People are more likely to stay in an organization when they know that the organization is pushing hard to upskill them along the way. This can save companies huge amounts of money and time on average.
Use your L&D budgets wisely to do this right
We all witnessed how the pandemic promoted upskilling front and center. If you were on LinkedIn through the pandemic, you’d have your feed covered in online diplomas and certificates at some point. This has definitely transformed the way companies are investing in their people.
However, the workforce has become more and more clear about what they want. Employees are looking at going beyond doing their day jobs and want opportunities to learn, but they want to do this in their own way and in their own time. Carpet-bombing L&D initiatives on employees is not the right way to go about it.
Traditionally and even as the focus on learning shot up in the last couple of years, organizations have tried to implement models that are centralized and standardized. One of the most common ways adopted by companies especially during the pandemic were Zoom workshops and webinars. We know this is not sustainable because more and more employees are openly talking about on-demand learning. Recent research shows that more than half of the employees want to learn at their own pace. People want to be able to choose to some extent at the very least what they want to learn. Organizations that are implementing this model are the ones that are thriving.
Enter, learning allowances!
A concept that’s yet to pick up steam. A learning allowance is essentially a quota set aside for only learning and upskilling. Oftentimes, this could mean anything from getting a newsletter subscription to enrolling into an online course or attending a paid conference.
- It transforms upskilling and makes it fun: Learning allowances are transformative because they allow an employee to chart out their own learning journey.
- Facilitates on-demand learning: This makes room for on-demand learning where employees can learn in the flow of work, at their own time and pace.
- Millennials and Gen Z feel empowered: With the current workforce, learning allowances also help organizations empower their employees.
- See significant RoI on learning: Spends on centralized L&D initiatives seldom see relevant RoI. A learning allowance helps achieve that very effectively. In fact, experts in the field believe that it’s important to let employees experiment with different forms of learning in order to see productive results, however within a given framework so it can keep learning targeted, yet relevant.
- Experts approve of it: Growth strategist Jamie Notter says that the most effective way to do this is by creating containers within which people can make their own decisions. This works especially well with the current Millennial and Gen Z workforce. It makes them feel in-charge and gives them ownership of their own growth which essentially is being facilitated by the organization.
Connecting the dots
While upskilling has become a priority and companies have fast realized the need for L&D interventions, it’s equally important to focus on how this is being implemented. As more and more companies adopt and rollout L&D initiatives, it’s crucial they do it right. This includes HBR’s 3 Ms of building a learning organization – meaning, management and measurement. Why are you doing it, what are you doing, how are you measuring it? This helps ensure that upskilling your employees is directly improving your organization’s business outcomes.
It’s important that organizations match their business problems to training goals and focus on targeted and personalized interventions. Giving a learning allowance is one way to do that. Young professionals value learning and if they’re given the power to choose within a focussed framework, they’re more likely to grow and benefit from the learning. This will in turn massively boost productivity within the organization, lower attrition to a great extent, and save immense cost and time.
A way to achieve this accurately is through objective, data-driven interventions that help you see measurably better results. Fundamento helps close the loop on this. Fundamento’s Upskilling Management Platform empowers rapidly-growing companies with learning interventions that are completely backed by data and science. The platform is powered by an AI enabled skills framework to quantify employee skillsets, identify high potential talent and design data-driven training interventions. Fundamento also provides companies with access to an exclusive curated training marketplace where employees can use learning allowances to unlock more targeted learning opportunities basis our recommendations.
Leading companies are already using the insights available on Fundamento’s platform to train their customer-facing teams, develop better leaders across teams and drive digital transformation while building a skills-first culture for everyone.