The Ultimate L&D Strategy for the Great Resignation

The Great Resignation. The turnover tsunami. A mass employee exodus. Whatever you choose to call it, the reality is the same: more workers are thinking about calling it quits. In fact, as many as 95% of employees are contemplating resigning this year.

What’s behind this dramatic uptick? “A lack of internal growth opportunities” is the second most common reason why employees are looking elsewhere. While many enterprises have established L&D programs, most are missing the mark. 70% of employees report that they don’t have the mastery of skills needed to progress in their careers.

With the Great Resignation fast approaching, impactful L&D has been upgraded from business priority to necessity. But what does it take to launch a skills development initiative that will empower your people to put their ambitions into action? In our latest Gloat Live Session, we’ve gathered Lori Niles-Hofmann and Amanda Nolen, co-founders of educational transformation consultancy Niles Nolen, to uncover the secrets for launching an L&D practice that will help you retain your top talent during the turnover tsunami.

L&D best practices that will maximize employee retention

Make It Purposeful

All too often, L&D exists in a vacuum. If employees don’t see the point in participating in skill development opportunities, they’re likely to disengage.

As Amanda explains, learning for the sake of learning isn’t good enough, especially if you’re looking to L&D to drive retention. To make opportunities more meaningful, L&D and internal recruitment must come together to identify skills gaps, address how to fill them, and present employees with relevant learning experiences that will help them take their careers to the next level.

Amanda Nolen Says:

“Providing opportunities for learning and development is one of the key things that attracts and retains talent. It’s not only the best thing for the business to stay competitive, it’s also paramount to keep that talent, even beyond compensation and other things.”

If you think money is every employee’s most powerful motivator, it’s time to think again. Discover what your people are really hoping to get out of their jobs by checking out our cross-industry study, Why We Work.

Focus On The Broader Employee Population

To maximize the retention-boosting powers of L&D, you need to give every employee an equal opportunity to get involved.

Amanda pinpoints an overemphasis on the top of the pyramid as one of the most common L&D mistakes that enterprises make.

Amanda Nolen Says:

“There’s a disproportionate spend on the leaders and the high potentials. That can be really valuable, but when you see the time and energy spent, what about everyone else at your organization? What’s the plan for them?”

Rather than focusing solely on senior executives, she recommends budgeting for everyone within your organization. An inclusive L&D approach will not only boost morale; it will also enable you to build the next generation of leaders within your own organization.

Making upskilling part of your people’s daily reality sets the tone for a progressive company culture that will bring out everyone’s best. Empower future leaders from the bottom up to unlock your workforce’s full potential and plant the seeds for lasting engagement.

Guide People Through The Process

Employees have limited time and cognitive space. Let your people fully focus on upskilling by removing the guesswork that comes with searching for best-fit opportunities.

Lori says that employees need to learn competencies that are going to keep them employed, which is particularly important as the pace of change accelerates. The current shelf-life for most skills is less than five years, which means everyone must continuously reskill to stay relevant.

Lori Niles-Hofmann says:

“We can’t just say leave it up to the learner and hope they’ll figure it out. We have to give them guidance so they’re not off learning leadership skills if that’s not what’s going to keep them employed.”

She points to talent marketplaces as an effective way to guide employees through L&D. Users are presented with highly personalized suggestions for internal experiences and growth opportunities based on dynamic development plans generated by career pathing tools.

Lori Niles-Hofmann also says:

“From my perspective, the talent marketplace, if it’s done correctly, is what encapsulates the learning experience. It becomes that place where people can actually apply and do the learning that they participated in in the classroom.”

Let Leadership Set The Tone

If your C-suite isn’t behind L&D efforts, no one else will be. However, getting leadership on board can be a challenge, as Amanda notes.

She recommends coming in with an understanding of your business strategy and demonstrating how L&D can improve your bottom line. When it comes to ROI, retention is a key area to focus on, especially since US businesses lose as much as $1 trillion to voluntary turnover annually, according to Gallup research.

Amanda adds that you shouldn’t underestimate the power of envy and suggests referencing the results that leading organizations have reaped to strengthen your proposal.

Amanda Nolen says:

“When you’re making that business case, say ‘look, this is a leading organization when it comes to people strategy’. Cite them, because then your leaders are going to start to get nervous because they don’t want to fall behind, so they’ll get with the program.”

During the Great Resignation, some businesses will struggle, others will survive, and an elite few will thrive. An impactful skills development strategy can set your organization apart as an employer of choice and help you retain top talent.