Ellen Warden, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
WorkPlace Synergy, LLC
BV professionals are more in control than ever before of choosing work situations that suit their preferences. Generous salaries, creative perks, flexible work schedules, and locations are a start. But today’s candidates want to see a path forward and opportunities to grow.
The writing is on the wall: if you want to attract and retain great talent in 2022 and beyond, you need to prioritize developing your employees in their careers. Providing continuous professional learning is key to staying competitive today.
Statistics tell the story: 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development; 76% of Gen Z and 61% of millennials agree “learning is the key to success” in their careers
Previously, many BV practice leaders placed professional development initiatives on hold due to limited budget and resources, shifting business priorities, lack of time, and lack of management support. Despite the cost of training and development, BV practices have to offer employees opportunities to learn if they want to compete in today’s ever-challenging talent market.
When you invest in the professional development of your employees, you invest in your firm.
Employees who can’t see a bright future with your practice may be unhappy, perform poorly, or leave sooner than expected. Helping your team reach their fullest potential makes for happy, productive employees. By giving them free access to courses and tools that help them refine their skills and enhance their knowledge, you’ll build a more capable, confident workforce and demonstrate that you care about and are willing to invest in their personal development. You’ll contribute to building a happy, motivated, and engaged workforce.
Learning and development are also critical to your firm’s success. By delivering valuable learning tools to your employees, whether online training, workshops, or accredited courses, you can address skill gaps, improve your employees’ abilities, and enable them to work more professionally and productively. As a result, your clients will feel the impact of this elevated service, strengthening your business for the future.
For learning and development to have a significant impact on employee engagement and your firm’s success:
- Tailor your approach to fit your business’s values, mission, and goals.
- Identify skill gaps in soft skills and more technical ones. Ask what they want to learn. Think of upskilling before you think of reskilling – what your employees need now and will need later. Training fills a gap, but development looks to your employee’s and company’s future and growth.
- Consider the types of learning tools you want to offer and how you want to deliver them. Because the modern workforce comprises three or four generations, and everyone learns differently, a one-size-fits-all approach to employee enrichment is simply outdated. Create unique opportunities for formal and informal professional development.
- Offer a variety of resources such as lunch-and-learns, industry expert speakers, online courses and webinars, certifications, internal mentorships, and peer coaching. Assign stretch assignments to help your employees grow, challenge them with something new, spur learning and inspire greater confidence. Just be sure to connect the extra work to an opportunity for growth. Cross-training curbs your employee’s position fatigue, expands their horizons, builds different skills, and improves their fit within their role and your firm. Becoming certified in their current or a favorable position enhances an employee’s value and ensures they remain relevant in their career field.
- Consider providing annual access for each employee to a specific dollar amount of company-provided reimbursement of costs and fees associated with courses taken to pursue continued education, such as graduate degrees or certification programs. Promoting this benefit can attract a more driven workforce and increase the package’s value to employees, whether or not each employee takes advantage of it every year.
Professional development improves your employees’ knowledge, skill sets, and job satisfaction. Employees want it and expect it. If you don’t invest in a culture that prioritizes learning for your staff, you waste a huge opportunity, undermine the time and cost you put into hiring and onboarding them, and risk losing them.
Do you need help creating a continuous learning culture? Ellen Warden works with BV/LS practices around the country to help them align their HR solutions with long-term objectives. You can reach Ellen at WorkPlace Synergy.