A learning culture improves employee retention and keeps you agile and competitive. Here are 9 reasons to foster a learning culture at your organization.
Organizations and employees across every industry are operating in an increasingly uncertain business landscape. The rise of generative AI tools, an unstable economy, and the blinding pace of new technologies are just a few reasons that job safety is a thing of the past.
While it may seem like the latest and greatest innovations in AI and automation solve the problem of finding and keeping top talent, the reality is that companies will always need smart, experienced people. It's essential for marketing teams to gain expertise in areas like data management, eCommerce, and the latest global infatuation—generative AI.
AI's impact on digital campaigns runs the gamut from generating entire marketing plans for big companies like Nestlé to instantly producing headlines, blog posts, and ad copy. What AI often lacks is personality and originality. It's a tool that can be leveraged effectively—or not—which is why retaining staff who understand your business and your clients isn't just valuable, it's essential. Some things can't be replaced by robots.
Creating a learning culture
Imagine a business that is constantly looking for ways to help its employees grow and learn, one that doesn’t settle for the status quo, but strives to acquire new knowledge or skills that can make a difference. This is what it means to have a strong learning culture.
A learning culture is more important than ever because jobs and the skills involved in doing them aren't set in stone. According to LinkedIn's 2023 Workplace Learning Report, job skill sets have changed by 25% over the past 8 years and are expected to change by 50% by 2027.
Addressing learning and development issues through digital upskilling is the best way to adapt to rapid change and prepare for the unknown. 89% of L&D professionals in the LinkedIn report said that proactively upskilling employees is the only way to navigate changing work paradigms.
9 benefits of creating an upskilling and learning culture at your organization
L&D programs benefit everyone involved with your business—including employees, company leadership, clients, and customers. Below, we provide 9 benefits you get from making upskilling and learning part of your organizational culture.
1. It shows employees that you value them
Employees, particularly legacy employees, have a wealth of knowledge about your company. It's crucial that they feel valued. Prioritizing upskilling as part of an innate learning culture shows employees that you're invested in their growth.
That makes them want to stick around. With 93% of organizations concerned about employee retention according to LinkedIn's latest Workplace Learning Report, creating new learning opportunities has emerged as a top way to create a great workplace experience for your employees.
2. It improves employee retention
It turns out that nurturing your employees' desire to develop new skills and grow in their careers is a great retention strategy. Per LinkedIn, three of the top five reasons that people look for new jobs are about career development. They want to be challenged, they want to grow their role in a company, and they want to learn new skills.
3. It aligns with the C-suiLte
Upskilling and reskilling are having a moment. A top takeaway from the LinkedIn report is that C-Suite executives are extremely invested in building people-centric workplaces. They're working closely with L&D managers to create comprehensive learning programs, with 41% of R&D leaders saying they expect to have more spending power for their learning initiatives in 2023 versus 2022.
4. It gives you a strategic advantage
Upskilling increases productivity and efficiency. It's been shown to improve employees' overall quality of work by making them more adaptable, not to mention willing to take on new responsibilities. As a result, businesses can embrace industry trends, new technologies, customer needs, and their own goals for growth and innovation.
5. It improves customer experience
A culture of learning allows your employees to continually acquire new skills and gives them the most up-to-date resources and technologies to do their job. It's satisfying for all involved when an employee has the right tools to resolve an issue quickly and provide accurate information to a customer. Investing in upskilling and training also demonstrates a company's willingness to adapt to customer needs. Customers appreciate this, are more satisfied, and have a better experience overall.
6. It makes people want to work for you
Lack of career development is the number one reason people quit their jobs between April 2021 and April 2022, according to a Statista survey of over 13,000 people in Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, the UK, and the US. The number one thing people look for when moving to a new company? Opportunity. Well, technically it's the #2 reason that U.S. job seekers look for after higher pay according to a Pew Research.
When you make upskilling part of your company culture, it shows candidates that you're focused on helping them grow and develop professionally. That makes them want to work for you.
7. It helps you (quickly) fill skills gaps
It's easier to fill skills gaps through training versus recruitment. That's because it's becoming harder—and more expensive—to find new hires with the right skills to close a gap. According to the Society for Human Research Management, it costs up to 60% of a new hire's salary to get them trained and ready to do their job.
Mid-level managers, on average, need 6.2 months to be to fully productive and then they'll need to be upskilled along with everyone else. Upskilling won't fill skills gaps overnight, but it's often quicker and more effective to address gaps this way because existing employees already have a depth and breadth of knowledge about your business.
8. It can create new revenue streams
A culture of learning is naturally conducive to innovation. It enables you to embrace new technologies that create new opportunities for revenue. For example, traditional retail brands like Nike and Reebok once sold their products primarily through stores. But when they embraced eCommerce and direct-to-consumer (D2C) selling, it opened up new doors for revenue that didn't exist before.
The same goes for any organization. Upskilling can enable you to find new ways of doing business or creating new products and services that weren't possible before.
9. It's the best way to embrace change
With a learning culture in place, your company is more likely to understand and capitalize on emerging opportunities, trends, and technologies. It allows you to embrace change—and change is coming. According to the 2023 Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum, 60% of workers will require training before 2027, but only 50% of works have access to adequate training opportunities.
Training and upskilling initiatives will focus on utilizing AI, big data, and analytics, but also on improving workers' leadership, flexibility, and agility. All of this is needed to stay competitive and adapt to a constantly changing business environment.
Learning equals empowerment
There are many reasons that skills gaps happen, but the biggest (by far) is we live in an age of staggering change—in technology, employee expectations, customer needs, and market conditions.
LinkedIn reports that companies who are leading the way with employee learning—those that support internal mobility and foster skills building—retain employees for an average of 5.4 years. Companies who don't prioritize learning have an average employee retention of 2.9 years.
Upskilling helps you close capabilities gaps and improve employee retention by actively investing in the skills that your employees need for today and tomorrow. Cultivating learning is as much about people as it is about technology or competition or business needs. It establishes your business as one that's willing to invest in its employees and adapt to anything and everything.