As the idea of professional growth has changed, organizations have shifted their approach to learning and development (L&D) for employees.
However, we’ve noticed this shift is more focused on identifying employees’ training needs to increase motivation and retain top talent. Throughout 2024, we expect to experience a continuation of this trend and growth in the world of L&D. Whether your organization recently adopted new software or you’re looking to improve your employee retention, we’ve rounded up the top five learning trends and tips to look for and implement in a learning and development program.
1. Create a continuous learning environment
According to multiple surveys, many employees leave their jobs simply because they feel they are not being challenged, resulting in stagnation and dissatisfaction. So, companies that give their employees ample opportunity to continue to grow are more likely to retain them. Plus, nearly nine in ten executives and managers say their organizations face skill gaps or expect them to develop within the next five years. If employees continuously learn something new that applies to their work, this will contribute to a more productive and efficient work environment, limiting the skills gap.
2. Create cross-training opportunities for employees
While specialization can help organizations remain efficient, more is needed to avoid a disconnected and burnt-out workforce. Employees may need help understanding the broader scope of their company or even the teams they work with. In response, organizations are dealing with this by cross-training their employees.
The goal of cross-training opportunities is to bring an understanding of other job roles and skills that are within a company’s workforce. An example is a data scientist who may be trained in web development and a fellow marketer who might learn the principles of coding in Python.
Cross-training employees can widen their capabilities, promote flexibility, and encourage teamwork. Cross-training benefits employees and the company by improving productivity and job cross-training, creating smooth operations during staff transitions or absences.
3. Show employees you value them with personalized offerings
Personalization is a recurring theme seen in social media and smartphones. Users love to see something explicitly recommended to their taste. It makes them feel special and known. This is also possible with workplace learning and development programs. Employees and learners want to be met where they are so that they can learn their best. After you’ve assessed whether employees need new, different or refreshed skills, build a development plan mapped to their goals and personal career track that shows measurable outcomes.
Show employees you value them and make it a priority to invest in their future and development. Creating a personalized learning path will save time and money, ultimately increasing employees' efficiency and expertise. They are more likely to stay, eventually saving them time and money.
4. Offer varied teaching methods
The learning and development of old monotone videos with uninteresting PowerPoint presentations is no longer enough. Due to extensive research on what makes information stick, a good learning and development program involves various teaching components like interactive training, engaging videos, practice tests, live education, helpful games and more. Using different methods of communicating information will be more engaging to employees. Learning the same topic in multiple ways (I.e., watching a video, reading an article or playing a helpful game) will help the learner retain the information. For example, SAS’ learning platform allows learners to choose how they want to consume content by choosing self-paced online learning or an instructor-led class.
5. Integrate mobile learning into your training
Mobile learning has been on the rise for years outside the corporate world. It is common to see people learning a language on Duolingo during their morning commute. Entire social media segments are filled with influencers who teach their followers everything from cooking to playing piano to repairing your bicycle.
As this is becoming the norm, prospective employees expect it to extend into the workplace. Role-specific digital upskilling and transformation are among the top three training topics and priorities for managers. Implementing mobile learning will help reach this goal. With many hybrid and remote jobs, learning through your phone and laptop is a good method for adapting to employees. It is important for employers to offer both methods of training.
In order to motivate and retain your top talent, the methods above are proven to create success in a learning and development program. Putting your employees first is often a good way to produce a positive return on investment for your company.
While 54% of organizations say they wouldn’t need to hire as many people if existing staff could use the tools and technology, we also know a large data science skills shortage exists. And 75% of organizations say the way to solve this is to train and upskill employees. By using these tips, organizations can chart a path to employee growth and success.