When you’re speaking with prospective employees, how do you talk about your organization’s benefits package? Traditionally, when candidates ask about benefits, employers highlight their healthcare and life insurance options, vacation and family leave policies or their retirement plans.
While these elements remain important, younger working generations are causing companies to think differently about what they offer to employees. According to Glassdoor, millennials – now the largest generation in the U.S. workforce – are looking beyond traditional benefits and seeking companies that provide holistic perks like learning and development opportunities, flexible work hours and a focus on health and well-being.
As leadership teams think more broadly about their benefits packages, I would contend that one of the most important programs you can provide is robust training and development to encourage employees’ professional growth.
At their core, benefits are intended to help organizations recruit, manage and retain employees. They can be a source of differentiation for organizations in their employer branding, and they can provide value to the organization. For example, offering great healthcare insurance can encourage staff to visit the doctor regularly, helping reduce sick leave and ultimately supporting employee wellness and productivity.
If your organization wants to provide compelling benefits that deliver a return to your employees as well as your company, professional development is a great place to invest.
Training impacts employees by supporting:
- Current job success. When employees are trained on the hard and soft skills they need to do their jobs, they can get up to speed more quickly and begin meeting performance expectations.
- Future employment prospects. 59 percent of employees are investing in their own upskilling. By providing programs to help employees learn new talents, your organization can amplify this work and set staff up for success down the road.
- Greater engagement. 80 percent of workers feel that they would be more engaged in their jobs if they were given opportunities to learn new skills at work. By investing in development, you show that you care about your employees, giving them more reasons to engage with their work.
Organizations also see positive returns on training and development programs through:
- Lower turnover. 70 percent of employees have reported that training and development opportunities influenced their decision to stay at a job. With lower turnover, your organization can save on recruiting and retraining costs.
- Productivity gains. Studies have shown that standard onboarding processes, such as training new hires on the hard and soft skills they need to successfully perform their jobs, help them experience 50 percent greater productivity. And, a study by the National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce found that, on average, a 10 percent increase in workforce education led to a productivity increase of 8.6 percent.
- Future workforce preparedness. A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about the skills gaps that organizations are experiencing across the globe. As companies prepare for the future of work, we need to make sure our staff are equipped with the knowledge and abilities they need, and that requires a focus on training.
Professional development can be a compelling aspect of your company’s benefits package that supports the ongoing success of your organization while attracting and retaining talent. The question is: how can you get started?
Make Learning and Development Part of Your Employee Benefits
1. Establish your vision.
Start by looking five or ten years into the future and consider what a successful training and development program would look like and feel like.
2. Get specific.
Reflect on what types of training programs and development opportunities would be included in this ideal state as well as formats, styles and content.
3. Analyze your current training and development practices.
Evaluate the programs you currently invest in and determine what works well and where there are opportunities for improvement.
4. Ask for input.
Gather feedback from your employees on what sort of development opportunities they value and what would make them more effective today and in the future.
5. Identify areas for growth and needed training programs.
Compare your learnings from steps three and four with your vision in step one and the programs you brainstormed in step two.
6. Get practical by building a plan with priorities and timelines.
Prioritize your initiatives and build a timeline to grow into your ideal state. Consider also what partnerships, technologies and tools you will need to achieve your goals. For example, if you are prioritizing leadership development, you might consider using a tool like Emergenetics® to help individuals understand their strengths and work more effectively with others.
7. Promote your work internally and externally.
As training and development becomes an employee benefit, it’s important to highlight these programs with existing staff and prospective candidates. Promote your work on your website, your company’s LinkedIn page and in meetings. Empower your hiring teams with talking points about your training and development programs so they can highlight this benefit with prospective employees. In your communications, share your vision for training and development, why this program is important, how it is unique and what action steps you are taking so that staff understand what they can benefit today and in the future.
Professional development is important to your company’s success. By making it a cornerstone of your benefits package – and sharing it externally – you can attract, manage and retain exceptional talent.
Interested in learning how Emergenetics can strengthen your professional development programs? Fill out the form below to connect with our team members today.