Why Learning is an Essential Tool for Attracting, Engaging & Retaining Talent

What’s the number one problem companies face today?

The answer is a combination of employee engagement, culture and retention, according to Deloitte’s recent research involving 3,200 respondents across more than 100 countries.

In a world shifting towards an “always on” workplace environment—one that is more agile, feedback-centric, and where employees have more power than ever before in the job market—Bersin’s findings suggest organizations have room to improve many of their talent management practices aimed at fostering engagement.

The study’s findings show 87 percent of companies rate “retention, engagement, and culture” as an important imperative for them. And, in this “New World of Work,” 50 percent say that dealing with the problem is an urgent one (1).

Managing Learning & Talent in the ‘New World of Work’

One of the reasons companies feel they are struggling with their culture is the practices they have in place to support employee learning. “Our research shows that the [number three] priority issue is the need to revamp and improve employee learning. This is not only a problem of skills development, but also one of engagement,” writes Bersin (2).

Those companies that do have a high performing learning environment are the ones that rank at the top for employee engagement. This finding also reinforces how important learning is to both engaging and empowering people.

“These [high performing] organizations are adopting new mind-sets, fundamentally rethinking what ‘learning’ and ‘development’ mean in the context of their business. They place the employee at the center of a new architecture and new vision that treats learning as a continuous process, not an episodic event, and as a company-wide responsibility, not one confined to HR,” reads a Deloitte trend report on fostering a learning-centric culture (3).

Bersin by Deloitte also recently collected information from Glassdoor.com, a website that allows employees to anonymously rate companies and their leaders. Bersin examined data from 2.2 million employees at more than 6,000 companies (4).

This research found that, more than any other factor, a company’s culture and values contribute more to its reputation as a prospective place of employment.

Culture and values, career opportunities/employee development, and senior leadership were the top factors determining whether workers would recommend their own companies as excellent places to work. Other findings included:

Company culture and values: As the top contributing factor to employment brand, it’s 4.9 times more predictive of a company recommendation than salary and benefits.

Career opportunities: the second most impactful factor, it is 4.5 times more important than salary and benefits.

Confidence in senior leadership: As the third factor, it is approximately 4 times more predictive of a company recommendation than salary and benefits (4).

“Over my 20 years as an HR analyst I have seen this play out again and again,” says Bersin in his discussion of the research. Often times, managers tend to think of both salary and benefits as the top, most critical components in hiring and retaining talent, but the research continues to support how investments in leadership, culture, and talent development are actually more important.

“People seek meaning and values at work, and they look for companies that deliver products and services they are proud of,” adds Bersin.

“The Learning Curve is the Earning Curve”

Organizations that are well equipped to help employees focus on learning and career growth are the ones that outperform the competition in business outcomes and in talent retention, Bersin asserts. They also outperform peers in innovation and in long-term growth.

With ongoing education and learning recognized as essential for long-term career growth, workers today are well aware of the power of differentiated skills and knowledge in the workplace. “Education and skills are perhaps the biggest driver of [a worker’s] personal earnings potential, so organizations that offer training, lots of developmental assignments, and a coaching culture are now the premium places to work,” he adds.

What This Means for HR Leaders

Leaders are tasked with helping to ensure long-term investments are in place to help people continually learn in the workplace. HR leaders can start by fostering an educational experience where people can “pull” and navigate content themselves, rather than being “pushed” out content, as was done in the traditional approach to training employees.

Although (re)training and learning programs can be seen through a long-term lens, it’s not to say that the programs themselves can’t be self-driven, experiential, adaptive and agile so that they can keep up with the changing demands an organization will inevitably face.

“The new model is simple: employees come first,” writes Bersin. “When the people are well trained, managed, and given a great work environment, they work with passion to advance the company’s mission. This means focusing on employee development, leadership, and re-engineering how people are managed” (3).

As Bersin suggests, some of the talent practices that can help foster expanded skillsets (and expanded roles) include allowing people to take stretch assignments and rewarding leaders for coaching and development of their people—not just rewarding them on results or execution. Leaders must also look for other ways to make sure those new skills are aligned with expectations on the job.

“If you’re a team leader, executive, or HR professional, think hard about these findings and where you’re spending your time and energy,” adds Bersin. “Focus on culture, development, and leadership pays off in more ways than you can imagine.”

Support a High-Performance, Employee-Centric Workplace

Talmetrix is re-inventing how talent-focused organizations and their employees work together to fuel a culture of high performance. Learn how Talmetrix simplifies the gathering of employee intelligence and existing organizational data to deliver unique workforce insights in real-time. Start your engagement journey today by requesting a demo here.

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  1. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/new-research-shows-employee-engagement-now-1-global-talent-bersin
  2. http://www.bersin.com/blog/post/Engagement2c-Retention2c-and-Culture-now-the-1-Issue-in-Talent-and-HR.aspx
  3. http://dupress.deloitte.com/dup-us-en/focus/human-capital-trends/2016/fostering-culture-of-learning-for-employees.html?id=gx:2el:3dc:dup3026:awa:cons:hct16
  4. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/culture-values-career-opportunities-biggest-drivers-your-josh-bersin

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