What’s a Learning and Development Program and Why Does Your Company Need One?
After two years of economic turmoil, constantly shifting goal posts and changing rules, many businesses are trying to find a way to stablise their workforce and their revenue.
While many industries are downsizing or restructuring, they might fare better financially if they invested in their current stable of workers, through an employee learning and development program.
In a study completed by DeakinCo.and Deloitte Access, it was found that every $1 invested in learning and development per employee is associated with an additional $4.70 in business revenue per employee on average.
That’s an average return on investment of 470%.
An employee learning and development program or professional development program is obviously a sound investment but there are many more benefits to be had. In this article we are going to cover what an employee learning and development program is and why your company should have one.
What is an Employee Learning and Development Program?
An employee learning and development program focuses on offering employees the chance to upskill in ways relevant to their role and aspirations. These programs are generally designed by the human resources department in conversation with the CEO and department managers.
Drawing on the employee performance evaluations and discussions with direct managers and the employee themselves, an individual program is designed with multiple learning and development opportunities built into it.
Depending on the employee, the size of the company and what role they are performing, this could be online courses through LinkedIn Learning, conferences, short courses or fully certified courses such as diplomas and advanced diplomas.
The employee could be given a specific number of work hours to complete their study combined with study in their own time or it could be entirely within their own time. A professional development program can look different depending on the company, the industry and the collective goals both of and for the employee.
But whatever the program looks like, it can have multiple benefits not just for the employee but also for the company.
Building a comprehensive employee learning and development program boosts employee morale. Happy, engaged employees make for a better company culture. These days it’s not enough to have a HR department that puts on the occasional morning tea; companies are competing at a higher level to establish and build on a culture of respect, advancement and mental wellness in the workplace.
By establishing an employee learning and development program you are demonstrating your company’s commitment to employee growth and satisfaction. This isn’t only good for building employee morale and establishing a healthy company culture but a highly engaged workforce increases profitability by 21%. Meaning you can link a direct financial gain to this choice.
With companies like Google and Apple setting an impossibly high bar for company reputation and work culture, the smaller companies need to make a concerted effort to show they are putting employees first.
While you might not be able to afford a ping pong table or napping pods in your company, you can show your support and investment in your employees by having a solid learning and development program.
Showing that you invest in your employees improves company morale and boosts your company’s profile in the industry. The reputation of the company and its treatment of employees can play a large role in attracting talent to the organisation and retaining the staff.
Job hopping has become more common place in the past few years. In the aftermath of the pandemic, lockdowns and job losses, many people have been on a journey of self-discovery, trying to figure what they really want out of life, and this has led to the great resignation of 2021.
Retaining staff is important because it can take up six months to break even on a new hire.
Hiring the wrong person can be an expensive mistake, costing as much as 2.5 times the salary of that employee according to a study from the Australian.
It’s important to hang onto the staff you’ve got, to keep them engaged and happy at work. Offering employee learning and development shows that you care and are invested in professional journey of your staff. It can also be an enticement to new staff.
Attracting Outside Talent
Having a solid employee learning and development program can attract talent in your industry. If your company establishes a reputation as a leader in professional development, you could find you are attracting the hottest hires in the industry.
There’s plenty of room for more companies to be leaders in this area. A study by DeakinCo. and Deloitte Access revealed that 87% of businesses could do more to improve their learning and development programs with just 13% of businesses found to be leaders in the space.
Unsurprisingly giving employees access to relevant training improves their efficiency and productivity in the workplace. And not just because they know more and are able to do more in their role. Although this is an obvious boon for the business.
But employees will work harder and show more initiative in their roles when offered the chance to assume ownership or authority. Enrolling an employee in a course gives them a sense of professional authority in their role. It also communicates that the company believes in them enough to back them. Therefore, forging stronger connection.
Paying for an employee to complete a course, giving them time to do it and listening to their aspirations shows that employee that you have faith in them, and their abilities and you believe they can do more and be more than they currently are.
That kind of gesture really breeds company loyalty. More than just not leaving the company for a bigger and better opportunity, company loyalty means they care about the company and are personally invested in the company’s success. They will want to see the company do well, they will work harder because they feel a stronger connection.
Where to Start
If you’re thinking of organising your professional development program but you’re not sure what to start with, we would recommend checking out the leadership and management courses, these courses are suitable for preparing someone for leadership in any industry.