When business-school graduate Myra turned down an attractive offer for a remote role at a major international tech firm, the firm’s recruiter was baffled.
What more could this recent grad have asked for?
Soon, the recruiter discovered that Myra had opted to join a smaller company that would require her to work long in-office hours – and at a lower base salary! In this new role, while Myra’s compensation would be largely driven by commissions, she would have a modest budget for her own professional development, and she would report directly to the CEO.
In a world where higher salaries are nearly always the most attractive draw for job-seekers, are people really willing to work harder for less money? Turns out, the answer’s yes.
The new normal in hiring?
Myra’s preference for an employer with high opportunities for learning and development, in terms of role exposure, work environment, and dedicated professional development, isn’t all that unusual these days.
Better professional development opportunities have become almost as important as greater compensation for most employees when exploring a new career opportunity. A high-impact learning and development strategy though, is more than a talent-building imperative.
Read on to learn why top growth-focused leaders around you are investing in a continuous learning strategy!
Reason 1: Change management and transformation needs
A rapidly changing external environment is forcing companies in your industry to pursue change management as an always-on exercise. Unfortunately, this is tiring for most employees, impacting their productivity in the context of implementing such change.
You know that feeling when you’re finally starting to make some progress – and you find out something’s about to change? It happens to all of us: We need to start using a different tool, the project/company goals change, our own responsibility areas change, and even the people we work with may suddenly be different. Even if the change itself is for the better, it can be challenging at best – and devastating at worst – to tackle too much change at once. It may be demoralizing for individuals, and it can be rough on productivity rates. How can you achieve your initial goals if everything’s changed in the interim? That’s like still trying to bake the cake you planned on – when half of the ingredients have changed and most steps in the recipe have been modified. Change management‘s impact on employee productivity is real.
A key reason change fatigue has become an industry reality is this: Employees cannot see the value such change offers in the context of their career growth and well-mastered skills. They are already overwhelmed with the daily grind, struggling to achieve work-life balance, meet their KPIs, and stay on top of new tools and tech.
This isn’t keeping top business leaders from slowing down, though. Instead, reskilling employees is their primary route to address talent needs in 2024! Implementing such an approach though, is resulting in a strategic shift – learning and development aren’t about periodic sign-ups for skills or programs anymore. Instead, it has become core to every employee’s KRA. This is helping everyone, employees and leaders, define and appreciate the value of continuous professional development.
Reason 2: Distraction by competitors
Every day that you aren’t skilling your talent, you are effectively deskilling and demoralizing it. This is because your employees are constantly exposed to an external environment that celebrates employers committed to high-impact skilling. So much so that lack of learning and career development opportunities is among the top deal breakers for young employees when evaluating job offers.
Your top competitors, too, tend to invest in employer branding that focuses on their professional development ecosystem. All of this leads your employees to constantly compare your skilling opportunities with what they potentially stand to gain if they make a switch.
Such distracted employee sentiment impacts more than just employee engagement; it stunts productivity and growth. How can you build an effective continuous learning and development strategy with limited resources to counter such headwinds?
In many cases, the answer to this question is high-EQ leaders. Emotional intelligence ensures managers are well-equipped to engage employees, both on the personal and on the professional development front. From one-on-one connections to organization-wide employee pulse surveys, staying on top of employee sentiment is key.
Where to start? Build a data-driven employee engagement strategy.
Reason 3: Nurturing a growth mindset
A growth mindset is at the heart of a business that is big on transformation and resilience. However, many companies make an ironic mistake – it isn’t an attitude that employees have or don’t; it’s a collaborative journey. Implementing continuous learning in the workplace successfully need to actively build an ecosystem that nurtures a growth mindset.
In this context, continuous professional development and learning opportunities are key. When you let your employees know that you value their curiosity and don’t think of learning as an immediate means to a revenue goal, you win them over. It inspires them to actively pursue learning opportunities that appeal to them and in the process, strengthen their growth mindset.
When employees experience the benefits of opening up to a growth mindset on their individual career growth, they see the long-term value in bringing the same mindset to work every day. Building a growth-mindset culture is far more effective than a top-down policy communication on adopting a growth mindset.
The long-term value of a growth mindset extends far beyond an individual team member’s experiences. Learning and development strategies that inspire continuous growth have expanded benefits for an entire company’s trajectory. Continuous professional development sets the stage for inspiration, communication, and conversations that drive innovation and growth. Knowing that things don’t have to be done the way they’ve always done is important and motivating for team members eager to make their mark. Inspired innovation and creativity keep employee engagement up, and vice versa!
Are we there yet?
While it’s clear that adopting a continuous professional development approach has many benefits, understanding its important is just the first step. Rolling out learning opportunities and employee engagement strategies for growth requires a continuous commitment. A fast-changing work culture, unique employee journeys, and diverse learning styles and needs demand that organizations take this approach seriously. It’s critical to track, measure, and update strategy for enhanced employee engagement and operational impact.
Wondering if you have the resources needed to drive such an exercise?
Learn how Sogolytics is helping companies deploy end-to-end employee experience management to support continuous learning strategies that resonate with employees.