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Growth is the lifeblood of business. After all, without attention and development, companies stagnate. The same can be said for your learners. Dedicated learning and development programs create a culture of continual learning, breathing fresh air into teams. In this article, find out what good L&D is, and why it’s important.

What Is L&D And Why Is It Important?

While L&D empowers employees to grow within their role, it’s also a powerful retention tool . In fact, 93% of employees cite investment in career development as a reason to stay in their current position. With this in mind, the importance of learning and development in organizations cannot be understated.

But what is L&D and why should your organization implement it? Here, we look at the key facts and figures which highlight the importance of learning development.

What is Learning and Development?

Learning and development (or L&D for short) is a valuable HR function that provides employees with the skills they need to succeed. It’s a dual-benefit tool, nurturing the individual development of the employee while simultaneously enhancing business performance.

L&D is something of a broad term, and its implementation can differ depending on the size of the organization. In essence, it relates to all efforts to encourage professional development. From training courses to development activities, there are a number of different tactics businesses can utilize.

Whether upskilling for enhanced performance in current positions or addressing skill gaps elsewhere in the company, L&D is the foundation for tangible growth. More than a box-ticking exercise, these programs are designed to nurture and maximize the talent within your organization.

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Why Learning and Development is Important

Learning and development is important for the present and future of an organization. It can have a transformative impact on immediate output while strengthening long-term objectives. Here are 4 key reasons why L&D is so important.

1. Improved Business Performance

Business performance is usually the foremost objective of an L&D program. Essentially, the programs train employees to carry out their job to a higher standard . Improved employee performance is tantamount to improved business performance. Your workforce will be primed to meet KPIs, gaining the skills they need to achieve such targets.

Providing training can also increase productivity. A study by IBM found a 10% productivity spike among teams who had undergone training. This can be attributed to an informed, knowledgeable workforce who are confident in carrying out the tasks at hand.

Effective training grabs their attention and keeps hold of it , providing long-lasting, useful knowledge. Similarly, training shows an investment in the employee, forming a stronger connection and alignment with company values.

2. Employee Satisfaction

Investment in learning and development is a real investment into your workforce. It shows appreciation of their own development and that they’re valued . No one likes to sit still or feel like their development isn’t part of the bigger picture. Addressing skill and knowledge gaps through training creates a more functional work environment.

Happy learners equal a happy business. Disillusioned employees are likely to deliver poor quality work. Similarly, workplace stress can increase without the right support. Proper training makes employees feel comfortable and content in their day-to-day work.

Engaging L&D is also likely to inspire a thirst for further knowledge. We’ve all sat in drab mandatory training courses focusing on the clock rather than gaining knowledge. A quality program kickstarts a long-lasting learning journey.

3. Retention

L&D opportunities are hugely influential on career choices. It’s why so many companies highlight development and training schemes in job descriptions. People value the opportunity to climb the ladder and take their skills to the next level . A company offering access to courses and learning management systems is a far more appealing proposition than those who don’t.

Tailoring training to individual requirements helps to retain employees . Through gearing training towards personal ambitions, your company is clearly shown as the right place for their professional development. This can also save you a pretty penny in the long haul. A study found that rehiring can cost up to 30% more than retraining. So, costly staff can be avoided with improved training.

4. Top Talent Acquisition

As well as benefiting current employees, an effective L&D strategy makes your brand more appealing to prospective staff. In a competitive job market, reputation is everything. There’s a reason why giants of the corporate world shout about their development initiatives.

You can stand head and shoulders above industry competitors and attract the very best talent by cultivating a strong reputation for developing employees.

How To Identify Individual Learning And Development Needs

Determining training needs is the kick-off point for all development programs. There’re a number of steps you can take to find out which training your team needs without any awkward conversations. Here are just a couple:

Perform A Skill Gap Analysis

A skill gap analysis sniffs out discrepancies in team-wide skill sets. It can be deployed to find elements of training you need to be focussing on. To conduct such analysis, you measure the current skill level against the required skill level . This can form part of a performance review or general 1-2-1 to see where ratings align and where training is required.

Hear more from Lori Niles-Hofmann on the benefits of ‘right-skilling’

Employee Satisfaction Survey

A simple yet effective way of collating the thoughts of your team is a survey. With this tool, you can find out their competencies and where they feel less confident. Likewise, you can identify desires for training or development which may not have been vocalized.

Learning and Development Examples

There’s no one size fits all solution when it comes to developing your workforce. Everyone learns at their own pace and in their own ways. As such, it’s important to have a few different tools in your arsenal. Employee development has many different faces, depending on the specific needs of the organization.

While there are a number of approaches to L&D, blending the learning experience can help to create a solid learning culture . Many large corporations invest heavily in training databases that can be accessed across the entire company. These can range from interactive workshops to dictated lessons.

One of the most influential L&D models is the 70:20:10 approach. Within this approach, 70% of the learning is practical , 20% comes from colleagues or managers, and 10% is learned from structured training . This approach encourages live learning and real-time feedback. The approach allows employees to learn from their mistakes, well-suited to those who learn by doing.

Summary

Effective L&D programs are crucial for employers that are looking to be successful, at scale. Not only will it boost business performance, but also employee satisfaction and retention – all while attracting the top talent to your organization. This in turn will create a more positive working culture and boost morale.

Interested in seeing some great examples of online learning to get you inspired? See these 10 top examples .

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