It’s a well-known reality. Companies are feeling the pinch from the Great Resignation as a record number of staff departures are having a profound impact on workforces across the nation.
At the same time, there’s a whole other part of this movement. It’s clear that the Great Resignation isn't about employees leaving the workforce altogether, which is why some have labeled it as “Great Reshuffling” instead. Workers are quitting in record numbers because they’re seeking out jobs at companies that align with their values and career aspirations. Terminology aside, this recent phenomenon has exposed outdated aspects of traditional work arrangements that are in need of reshaping, especially workforce education and learning.
To retain top talent in today’s environment, employers need to offer more than just a satisfactory salary and basic benefits package. Employees stay with companies when they know the organization is committed to their professional development and provides L&D opportunities that lead to tangible career outcomes.
Here are compelling ways a modern, strategically designed workforce education program empowers companies to cultivate productive, long-lasting employee relationships with top talent, thus helping to stem the tide of the Great Resignation.
Drives scalable, long-term outcomes
Retention is not a new challenge — it has and will continue to be top-of-mind for people leaders long after the Great Resignation has passed. That’s why it’s critical to focus efforts on scalable, long-term solutions instead of quick fixes such as one-time bonuses and other perks that only get employees to stick around for the short term.
Although workforce education is only one piece of the equation for a long-term employee retention strategy, it’s certainly an important one. Research reveals that effectively nurturing a healthy learning culture leads to more committed employees and improves overall company performance. A recent report showed 94% of employees said investment in training and education is one of the major reasons they would decide to stay in a role for longer.
Providing your people with education and learning opportunities offers a clear sense of purpose, imbues their day-to-day work with more meaning, shows that they are valued and their career development is a priority. As an employer, you also have the option to extend education offerings to employees’ family members and/or dependents. This further reinforces a long-term commitment to bettering the lives of your people and their communities.
From a strategic perspective, keeping employees engaged in this way leads to improved talent retention rates while strengthening your internal pipeline for future roles as well.
See it in action: Discover how Uber launched the life-changing Uber Pro rewards program to provide 100 percent tuition coverage to qualifying drivers, delivery people and their family members.
Paves the way for career paths and development opportunities
Many employees are assessing not just how they work, but also reflecting on why they work. Overwhelmingly, today’s employees want jobs that offer better, stronger career trajectories.
When companies invest in their people’s education, this addresses working adults’ desire to have a defined path to a meaningful career.
For example, McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity is a workforce education program that offers eligible employees the opportunity to graduate from college, earn a high school diploma, learn English as a second language and gain access to advising services. The program’s impact includes providing over 65,000 people, in the U.S. alone, with access to education. The program also has a positive business outcome for McDonald’s — research showed that participation in the Archways program has correlated with a 20% higher employee retention rate.
It’s important to remember that loyalty comes from reciprocity. For employees to invest their time and energy in an organization, company leaders need to make commitments to them in return. Offering life-changing education opportunities is a meaningful way to articulate an actionable, realistic road map for career growth.
Cultivates a culture with the qualities employees want
In today’s environment, a modern approach to workforce education puts organizations in a better position to retain top talent by making their people feel valued, investing in their growth and cultivating a sense of inclusiveness.
However, when it comes to senior executives understanding why employees are leaving, many are off the mark. For instance, a recent McKinsey study shows that employers and their people are not aligned on expectations.
The same study notes that non-white or multiracial employees were more likely than their white counterparts to express that they had left because they didn’t feel they belonged at their companies. This shines a light on the inequities facing employees belonging to minority groups.
A workforce education program that promotes a robust learning culture not only shows all employees that they’re valued, it can also break down social and economic barriers, providing a sense of belonging and bridging skills gaps.
Education is the great equalizer. Not only does a workforce education program incentivize people to stay, but it also provides equal access to resources that your underrepresented employees may not previously have had access to.
Taking into account all that, it’s clear that cultivating a dynamic, thriving learning culture within your organization is a strategic decision that can help to better engage your people and ultimately, retain them.
Time to double-down
There’s a new world of work unfolding in front of us, with new challenges and opportunities for retaining employees. Amid the Great Resignation, workforce education can be a key aspect to a long-term, sustainable solution for employee turnover/retention issues now and for future disruptions.
Can you make an investment in a more fulfilling employee experience by providing workforce education opportunities that help retain employees? The answer is yes.
Get started today. Take this 5-question assessment to receive a set of curated resources and learn how to build a custom workforce education solution that addresses your top talent challenges.