If You’re Doing This, Your Best Employees Will Stay

team in conference room

Study after study confirms that talented employees are highly motivated to stay with their companies when their employers invest in learning and training. The correlation between retention and learning is too strong for any employer to ignore, and as the younger generations in our workforce mature, the time to act on this knowledge is now.

What Employees Are Saying

LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report reveals that 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it simply invested in helping them learn, and the interest in learning is highest among Millennials, now the largest generation in the workforce. Bridge survey data finds that offering career training and development would keep 86% of Millennials from leaving their current position. Though Millennials are known for short stints, with 44% saying they expect to leave their current position within two years according to Deloitte, Bridge research shows that 56% of them believe that an employee should stay at a company for more than 20 years.

LinkedIn’s report shows that 25% of Gen Z and Millennials say learning is the number one thing that makes them happy at work, and 27% of Gen Z and Millennials say the number one reason they would leave their job is a lack of opportunities to learn and grow. Furthermore, 75% of all employees would take a course assigned to them by their managers.

Are Employers Getting the Message?

According to LinkedIn, 49% of learning and development professionals cited a “limited budget” as a top challenge in 2017 but in 2019, that figure decreased to just 27 percent. Today, 82% say that their executives actively support employee engagement in professional learning.

Of the top seven areas that talent developers expect to focus on going forward, addressing skills gaps through learning is the number one priority and increasing engagement with learning programs is number two. An impressive 61% of talent developers say retaining top talent is tied to learning, and 67% are actively closing skills gaps through learning opportunities.

Micro-Learning, an Ideal Solution

LinkedIn research shows that long duration seminars are not feasible for many employers to hold during the workday for productivity reasons. Employees also don’t feel they have the time, especially the younger generations. In a tight job market, employers cannot require learning after work hours or during lunch, or will risk being perceived as not respecting employees’ personal time.

The solution is small, incremental digestible chunks of learning made available to employees online. A self-directed multimedia approach works best with a particular focus on well-produced video content. The youngest generations also value opportunities to collaborate with instructors and other learners through forums, groups, or Q&A sessions while taking a course.

The Mindset of Learners

Time is the scarcest resource for both employers and employees, but it is well worth investing in learning opportunities that close skills gaps and accelerate employee development. Compared to light learners who spend less than an hour per week learning, heavy learners who spend more than 5 hours per week are 74% more likely to know where they want to go in their careers. In addition, 48% are more likely to have found purpose in their work and 47% are less likely to be stressed at work.

Learning opportunities create retention opportunities because they enable employees to maintain an upward career trajectory with one employer while enjoying and focusing on their work. Educated employees are more productive and efficient, and can better balance work with family and personal obligations. It’s no surprise that with higher retention rates, employers that educate their employees are more productive, efficient, and profitable too.