• Skill sets for jobs have changed by around 25% since 2015. By 2027, this number is expected to double, says LinkedIn
• Two-thirds of workers say it is likely they will leave their employer because there are not enough opportunities for skills development, according to Workplace Intelligence
• 70% of UK employees would be happier in their current role if they had more opportunities for personal development, according to GoodHabitz
When you hear the term ‘CPD’, what comes to mind? For some, it is a tick-box activity that must be squeezed in around day-to-day tasks. For others, it is part of a healthy learning and development strategy – something which, according to recent reports, is now more important than ever.
From employee retention to customer satisfaction to business resilience in the face of change, a solid learning and development strategy can have far-reaching positive effects. In this article, we explore why such a strategy should be a priority right now, and we look at a quick-win action that businesses can take today.
Keep up with change by increasing business agility
“Tackling tough problems requires new and better skills, and learning is the way through.”
LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report 2023
In today’s uncertain climate, organisations face upheaval and challenges on numerous fronts. Whether due to global events, political agendas at home or the constantly shifting technology landscape, there is plenty to occupy the minds of business leaders.
Time and again, experts offer the same advice: to weather today’s tough environment, businesses must have the right skills in place. Sometimes, of course, it is not possible to predict what those skills will need to be. So, organisations must be agile – able to move quickly as they respond to new situations. Both LinkedIn and Udemy highlight ‘agility’ as a core focus in their 2023 workplace learning reports, and for good reason. With businesses facing so many pressures in today’s fast-paced world, the ability to adapt in a timely manner is vital.
What does ‘getting the right skills in place’ look like in practice? It means prioritising learning and development. LinkedIn’s report recognises that ‘large upskilling and training programs take time’, but that organisations can move quickly by inspiring ‘more skill building at the individual level’. Most immediately, for example, this might mean more support for existing CPD activities. These are activities already being undertaken, within a structure that is already in place. Some extra recognition of their importance might be all that is needed – perhaps by ring-fencing time within company calendars, providing extra funding for courses or leading by example at the very highest levels. Over time, these small but significant actions will help to shape the company’s wider culture.
Stay relevant for staff by creating a culture of learning
‘A varied learning and development package can help to retain employees by improving engagement and making them feel valued.’
Dr Sarah Pass, Senior Lecturer in HRM at Nottingham Business School
Employee retention is a concern for many UK businesses currently. According to the CIPD’s latest Labour Market Outlook report, ‘vacant jobs are plentiful but available workers are scarce’. Hard-to-fill vacancies are a particular issue, says the report. Meanwhile, it appears that even pay rises are not enough incentive for some workers in the current climate. Jonathan Boys, senior labour market economist at the CIPD, recently summed up this issue: ‘Regular pay growth of 6.7 per cent would normally be a welcome sight for workers, but in the face of inflation running at 10.5 per cent, this increase won’t stop living standards from falling for most working people.’ What is the answer? Boys suggest that employers must consider the ‘whole package’.
Research from learning technology company Docebo, published at the end of last year, reveals the importance of learning and development as part of this ‘package’ for employee retention. Nearly two thirds of respondents said they would consider quitting their job within twelve months if learning opportunities to help with career development were cut or not offered at all. Meanwhile, when it came to job hunting, 8 out of 10 reported that they would be more likely to choose an employer who prioritised continuous learning and development.
The answer to employee retention and engagement, of course, goes beyond sending teams on training courses. For maximum impact, Udemy and LinkedIn both advocate making learning and development a core part of an organisation’s culture.
Creating a culture of learning is about championing learning at every level, both internally and externally. It is about embedding a mindset and philosophy within a company at its core. This may be a long-term project. However, businesses can get ahead in the meantime by making more of the learning – the formal and informal CPD – that employees are already doing.
Take action with this quick win
“Business leaders who embrace learning for everyone are creating an environment where their employees are resilient, prepared, and ready to drive business impact, regardless of the challenges they face.”
Udemy Workplace Learning Trends Report 2023
By reframing and embracing CPD as crucial to employee satisfaction and business impact, an organisation can build on existing foundations. This is a ready-made opportunity to upskill and ensure agility and resilience within the workforce.
One quick way to signal to employees, and to the wider world, that continuous learning is a priority for your business is through the Institute of Continuing Professional Development (iCPD).
For over twenty-five years, the Institute has stood for a philosophy of going ‘over and above’ with learning and development. Through corporate membership, businesses can outwardly show their commitment to learning. Employees, customers and the wider public will visibly see the company’s dedication, and – ultimately – can enjoy the reassurance that this brings.
Workplace Intelligence in partnership with Amazon, Upskilling Study
CIPD, Labour Market Outlook: Winter 22/23
Jonathan Boys quotes
Docebo, employee workplace learning research
Goodhabitz, ‘The current state of Personal Development at Work’
Dr Sarah Pass quote
LinkedIn, Workplace Learning Report 2023
Udemy, Workplace Learning Trends Report
• Skill sets for jobs have changed by around 25% since 2015. By 2027, this number is expected to double, says LinkedIn • Two-thirds of