The Importance of learning and development within an organisational Context: Three reasons to note

The Covid-19 pandemic has re-fuelled our curiosity and hunger for learning.

Yellow Seed Consulting is a diverse team of qualified Psychologists, HR Consultants, Technology Architects, and Creative Designers that work in partnership with our clients to find innovative ways to attract, develop, engage and retain the right people in their business.

Benjamin Franklin said that: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” This statement stands as proof that the openness to learning can be seen as a differentiator between an individual’s success or their struggle to remain current within the times.

The same goes for organisations – continuous learning and development breeds growth and it keeps us in shape.

Organisations become more collaborative, competitive, agile, and engaged when knowledge is shared continuously and freely.

During a study conducted by The Association for Talent Development, it became evident that the organisations that foster a culture of learning turned out to be some of the highest performers amongst the 830 companies included in the survey.

2020 turned our world on its head, shifting the magnifying glass onto our willingness to adapt and reskill ourselves. Majority of employees were thrown into the deep end, taking on a completely new skillset within a short timeframe.

Some employees had to level-up due to lay-offs that carved gaps into the team, while others had to be trained on programmes and software necessary to make the shift from office to home-office.

According to LinkedIn Learning Data, employees spent 130 percent more time learning during the months of March/April 2020 than they did in January and February.

The one positive we can take from the Covid-19 pandemic is that it re-fuelled our curiosity and hunger for learning.
But why should we take notice of the efforts we put in towards our Learning and Development strategies? How do our organisations benefit from learning and development?

1. Profit and Productivity:
Leaders are always on the hunt for ways to increase employee productivity, but what if the answer is right under our nose? Companies with formalized training are outperformed by those who offer comprehensive training programmes by an incredible 218 percent.

The same companies present with an increase of 24 percent in profit margin compared to those who invest less in training.
At the core of these outcomes is employee productivity, all driven by the upskilling of employees through the learning and development programmes.

2. Employee Engagement:
Employee engagement speaks to the emotional connection and commitment employees feel towards their work, the company, as well as the overall company goals. Fully engaged employees are productively working on behalf of their organisation with a deeply rooted love and passion for their work.

In a recent Dale Carnegie survey, organisations with an engaged workforce outperformed those with a disengaged workforce by up to 202 percent.

Employees who are motivated to continue working passionately and to constantly improve at their job, are those who are presented with growth opportunities which in turn shows the investment from the organisation in their future.

This is particularly true for Millennials. 87 percent of Millennials agree that professional development and growth within their careers are important to them. Since Millennials have outnumbered the Gen X cohort within the global workforce and is expected to comprise 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, this is certainly a statistic to take to heart.

3. Employee Retention:
Recent research has shown that 40 percent of employees who don’t receive the needed job training to become better and more effective will leave their positions within the first year.

It is no secret that it is crucial for organisations to attract and retain top-notch employees for the organisation to remain successful and healthy. It is clear that organisations need to do whatever they can to assist employees to perform well in their tasks or run the risk of losing them.

Peter Drucker said “Every enterprise is a learning and development institution. Training and development must be built-in on all levels: training and development that never stops.”

But how do we create a learning culture that values and encourages learning?
1. Core Values – When learning is supported by the leadership team, the employees feel empowered. Adopt learning as a core organisational value and commit to provide clear strategies and the necessary resources to support employees on their learning and development journeys.

2. Personalize – Learning goals differ for each of us, so it is valuable to spend time on an individual level to plan a personalised learning journey for your employees. This motivates and engages the employee since it’s no longer merely about completing another compulsory course, but instead focused on harnessing their potential and routing for their future.
3. Reward – Who does not like to receive recognition? Rewards are a great way to show your support to their efforts, and it does not have to be expensive or elaborate. Rewarding your employees can be fun and even done virtually, as long as it contributes to your learning culture.

4. Learning Environment – Learning does not have to be done the old-fashioned way. Our modern world has numerous options to make learning fun, engaging, easily accessible for everyone while offering high levels of learning retention.

5. Knowledge Sharing & Collaboration – Informal and social learning contributes to a learning culture. Opportunities, where employees are asked to share their knowledge on a specific area of expertise or to collaborate on cross-department projects, inspires learning and increases engagement.

6. From the top – Leadership regardless of the level, has the ability to influence. When leaders are open about their own learning journey, the learning culture is reinforced. Be vocal about your goals and/or the training you embark on, and in addition, show that you are open to feedback and reflection on past mistakes.

Let’s inspire and expand through intentional learning both as individuals and organisations.
“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.”