It’s no secret that employee engagement is a key concern for organizations; studies show that an engaged workforce supports growth through a range of benefits, including higher productivity and profitability, lower turnover, and more satisfied customers. However, despite the value of an engaged workforce, only one in three US employees is engaged, according to Gallup surveys.
Organizations that focus on learning and development (L&D) can make important strides in supporting both higher employee engagement and company growth. Providing employees with key learning and development opportunities not only builds capable, confident employees, but research shows that learning and development is a key driver of engagement. For example, In one study, 80 percent of surveyed employees said that learning and development opportunities would help them feel more engaged at work. Here are four reasons why learning and development drive employee engagement and growth.
L&D Improves Employee Retention
Investing in employee learning and development shows employees they are valued. When people feel valued, they are less likely to leave the organization. According to the LinkedIn 2018 Workplace Learning Report, 94 percent of employees said that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development. As a company invests in the growth of its people, employees see that they can accomplish their personal growth goals within the organization, and they subsequently grow in their commitment to the company and its goals. Some examples of learning and development initiatives that support employee retention include:
- Training opportunities at various stages along specific career paths
- Skill development courses that appeal to a range of employee interests and learning styles
- Promotional opportunities that are linked to mastery of key competencies
L&D Ensures a Strong Leadership Pipeline
For an organization to grow and achieve its succession planning goals, there must be a strong pipeline of leaders ready to fill key positions. Learning and development ensures that new and existing leaders possess the knowledge and skills required to lead others. Training and development opportunities that build leadership competency include:
- Leadership development that teaches individuals how to lead themselves and lead others
- Training in soft skills such as critical thinking, communication, and teamwork
- Stretch assignments and rotational opportunities that expose individuals to new processes and people
L&D Helps Prepare an Organization for Change
Change is inevitable for any organization, but having employees who are equipped to navigate the waters of change increases the likelihood of success. By providing employees with learning experiences that help them embrace shifts in strategy or revised work processes, the organization won’t be crippled by change, but will instead be able to effectively leverage change in order to grow. In addition, learning and development programs give leaders the tools to prepare their team for change and help all employees approach change with confidence and a positive attitude.
L&D Supports Better Teamwork and Collaboration
When people come together as a team, there’s no guarantee they will communicate, share information and resources, or remain committed to team goals. However, learning and development initiatives increase the likelihood of effective team functioning. These initiatives teach individuals how to communicate, resolve conflicts, and support one another, helping them contribute more effectively to organizational growth. Moreover, when team relationships are more positive, employees are also more engaged. In a SHRM report, 77 percent of surveyed employees named relationships with coworkers as an important driver of their engagement. With the knowledge and skills to be productive members of a team, individuals can better support the success of the organization as a whole.
By investing in the growth of employees, you fuel company growth. Learning and development opportunities provide employees with the experiences and skills necessary to support organizational goals. By improving employee retention, engagement, and the effectiveness of leaders, learning and development programs ensure a workforce that is capable of supporting the organization into the future.