Great Resignation: employees say more L&D opportunities would stop them from leaving

As wage growth continues to fall, experts are advising businesses to consider what development opportunities they are offering staff.

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Written and reviewed by:
Helena Young

Business owners have been warned to provide more learning opportunities for employees or risk losing key talent, in a movement labelled ‘the Great Upskill’.

Following months of mass resignations triggered by the Great Resignation, e-learning solutions provider IMC has found that 86% of employees would remain with their current employer for longer if they offered frequent learning and development (L&D) opportunities.

Rising inflation has led to a rapid fall in real wages, which has torpedoed staff morale in many companies. Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures show that job-to-job moves in 2022 reached a record average of 946,000, driven by resignations rather than dismissals.

The IMC research indicates that today’s workers would feel more motivated to stay at a firm with L&D opportunities, providing an impetus for business owners to invest in upskilling.

Skills shortage threatens small business growth in 2023

The IMC survey indicates that one of the best ways to tackle heightened staff turnover is to invest in workplace education programmes for employees.

Pouring more money into L&D might feel like unnecessary spending in today’s economy. In the current hiring landscape, however, it is actually a savvy move from the business owner’s perspective.

Sourcing talent has become an uphill battle for managers. The high volume of working-age people who left full-time employment during COVID has left recruiters with a scant pool of applicants to choose from.

In turn, this has created a lack of in-demand skills, particularly when it comes to tech roles. SMEs are being held back from progressing in fast developing areas, such as the use of AI, instead having to search abroad to find suitable job-ready candidates.

As a result, L&D funding should be thought of as a cost-saving measure, rather than an additional expenditure.

Research by the British Business Bank has shown that the estimated cost to hire somebody on the UK average salary is £3,000. Using half of that amount to expand your existing employees’ knowledge and experience provides an attractive return on investment for the business owner.

Workers more likely to apply to companies with L&D opportunities

IMC’s teachings can also be applied to recruitment. The e-learning provider also found that 92% of job candidates use L&D offerings – which can range from funding for courses or a coaching leadership style – as a deciding factor when comparing two employers.

This figure demonstrates why businesses should consider the whole package they offer staff, not just salary. In such a competitive market, benefits and perks can be the key differentiator for job seekers, not salary.

Dan Hudson, founder of the free job-finding app GiGL recently told Startups that information on company benefits was the most popular section on any GiGL job listing.

Leaving this information out, he said, was one of the biggest mistakes employers make on job adverts. More than a business blunder – it risks turning candidates completely off from your hiring gap, damaging team expansion alongside overall company growth plans.

Employees prioritise soft skills in a remote working world

When asked what kind of L&D courses employees want to be offered, Stephen Adams, founder and director of Inspirational Coaching, reports seeing a spike in the number of requests for soft skills training.

“In particular, the demand for techniques to develop essential skills such as communication, resilience and problem solving have seen a significant upturn,” he says.

Earlier this week, we reported that bosses had overwhelmingly voted Gen Z employees as the ‘most difficult generation to work with’.

65% of managers say they have fired more Gen Zers than employees of any other age. When asked, several blamed the bad communication habits that younger staff members had developed in today’s post-COVID era of virtual team working.

In this context, investing in employee workshops that can improve collaboration skills – alongside communication software that can aid further development – is crucial to reduce conflict in the workplace.

More on this: read our guide to the top collaboration tools for small businesses to help your team work better together online.

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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