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How L&D Can Help Talent Retention

Roberta Gogos
Nov 26 2021

By Roberta Gogos

The Great Resignation is far from over. Recent Gallup research shows that 48% of US employees are still actively looking at new roles or considering making a change, and in the UK, a survey of 6,000 workers by the recruitment firm Randstad UK found that 69% of employees felt confident about moving to a new role in the next few months, with another further 24% setting the wheels in motion to change roles within three to six months.

Ask leaders about the underlying cause of the Great Resignation, and you will get a different answer depending on who you speak to: pandemic burnout, employee disengagement, remote and flexible working preference, enlightenment leading to early retirement - take your pick. 

What is certain is that the Great Resignation is a huge threat to the bottom line, and as it’s grown in momentum, it’s become more expensive. Tech firm Workhuman found in its IQ Fall 2019 research that 21% of the 3500 employees it surveyed globally were planning on changing jobs in the next year. Fast forward 20 months later, and in the 2021 version of the report, 40% are making the same plan

With Randstad indicating that replacing talent can cost as much as £25,000 for each worker lost, leaders will agree that no stone should be left unturned in finding a solution. If companies are willing to change the way their employees learn at work, they may just be able to empower them to grow, and to reach their full potential. 

The war against the Great Resignation may well be won, and with the help of L&D, the tides of the talent tsunami may just lead to the Great Retention.

Stop Mucking About and Show Us a Few Concrete Examples

Got you. Here you go: 

Using Fuse, both Panasonic and Avon have completely transformed the way individuals at their organisations learn. The move away from formal learning and courses and towards in-flow learning has been a big part of this. 

Panasonic had worked hard to identify key gaps in customer service agents’ training and day to day workflow, and it turned out that its L&D programme, which featured rather ‘front-loaded’ onboarding and training, was not encouraging engagement or continuous learning. Enabling agents with in-flow learning was a game changer. 

Avon had identified a 90-day tipping point with employee retention and knew it had to create better experiences for its beauty entrepreneurs. In implementing Fuse and in-flow learning, the learning experience made beauty entrepreneurs’ lives easier by integrating the right learning content at the right touchpoints in the flow of their daily lives. 

Ultimately, L&D’s main purpose is to improve company performance and boost profitability, and as shown, Panasonic and Avon were able to create much better learning experiences with in-flow learning. One of many benefits has been these great examples of improved talent retention.

In-Flow Learning + Continuous Learning = The Key to Success

We mentioned the improved ‘learning experience’ that both Panasonic and Avon have been able to provide - but what’s the key to a good learning experience? As many experts will tell you, it’s all about a balanced learning and development strategy. In the past, this may have had as much as 80% of learning as a formal, course-led approach, and only about 20% as informal, day to day, ‘in the flow of work’ learning. 

Over time, study upon study has proven that this ratio isn’t driving company performance the way L&D leaders would like. In a 2018 MIT and Deloitte study dedicated to digital transformation (more than 4,300 executives participated) the most successful, fast-growing, digital companies all had one thing in common: their employees were learning all the time, not just when they had to sit through formal training. It was found that 44% of the employees at highest performing companies were updating their skills continuously.

Understand Your Employees’ Unique Needs and Learning Requirements

Though the numbers are staggering, The Great Resignation is less about how many people are leaving than it is about who is leaving. Yes, there are resignations across every sector and age group, but research led by Ian Cook of Visier that featured in the Harvard Business Review in September 2021 shows that employees between 30 and 45 years old have had the greatest increase in resignation rates, with an average increase of more than 20% between 2020 and 2021.

These are mid-career employees. The amount of tacit knowledge they’ve gained in previous roles or in your organisation is likely to be extensive. In short, they are in many instances the people you want to hold on to the most, and those that you really need to engage. 

For this group, learning-led retention needs to be very tactical. While there isn’t a demonstrated generation gap when it comes to successful learning outcomes, you can imagine that this group in particular has had to deal with its fair share of legacy learning technology that doesn’t deliver relevant search results - some of them may still be spending nearly a day a week just searching for knowledge

And I am sure if you asked them, they’d also regale you with stories of the utterly useless courses they’ve sat on throughout the years - courses that haven’t contributed to company performance one little bit. This generation has probably created its own workarounds that might painstakingly work for them when it comes to getting the knowledge they need to do their jobs, but it’s likely a tiresome effort. Don’t even get us started on asking these people to use this tech to try and keep up with daily upskilling, or reskilling if need be. 

Perhaps it doesn’t sound like enough to make a seasoned professional up stakes and leave a long term role, but if another employer is promising an easier ride of it at an increased salary, it could just be the catalyst that mobilises Generation X and Millennials out of your company and into a competitor’s organisation. 

So stop making employees work so hard just to get what they need to do their jobs - it’s really that simple. Getting knowledge at the point of need should be easy, as this article shows with several Fuse customer examples. Employees at these companies aren’t spending a day a week searching for what they need, and with Fuse, each respective company is building its own respective corporate brain of knowledge with the help of Machine Learning. It means that Fuse is learning what learners want and need to do their jobs on an individual by individual basis, and delivering it to them - often before they even have to ask. 

At the end of the day, all of these things together will help any employee to become more productive, which is a big engagement enabler. If employees can see how they are contributing to the bottom line, they are more likely to gain satisfaction from their work, and to seek out new knowledge to continue improving their performance. It’s a powerful step in battling talent retention, and one that is also well aligned to make new talent more productive. 

Check This Out

Is your organisation struggling with course-based learning that doesn’t embed knowledge at the point of need? Download our ebook Solve the Learning Engagement Problem, to find out why L&D need to stop only focusing on courses and create resources and experiences that drive measurable value and performance.

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