At the risk of oversimplification, there are two main tasks ahead of business owners in a recovery economy. First, owners need to ensure that their team has the necessary skill set to face the new requirements of a changing corporate landscape. To this end, digital literacy will be a pillar of success, with more and more of our corporate and consumer landscape moving to the online world.
Second, owners need to ensure that the company itself remains relevant and competitive in the job seeker market. While most people were watching the employment level as a sign of post-pandemic recovery, employers had a front-row seat into a twin crisis: talent retention. Post-COVID role turnover has been higher than average, and employers are at risk of losing their best performers as new roles open up, new vendors come to market, and competitive companies—or different sectors entirely—re-think and improve their employee offerings.
Both problems are urgent—the need to re-skill employees and the need to retain team talent. Luckily, both problems can be approached with the same solution.
Learning As An Anecdote
It’s easy for employers to understand the role of continuous learning as it relates to re-skilling and up-skilling their teams. Offering employees new learning opportunities where they can practice, train, and think creatively regarding new skills and different approaches will help them rise to the new challenges that have come up in the post-COVID landscape.
Less obviously, but equally important, is the value of learning as it relates to post-pandemic job satisfaction and talent retention. Scholars have well-proved the connection between workplace training and overall job satisfaction. One particularly notable study conducted in the UK focused on job dissatisfaction among nurses. They found that a perceived lack of promotion and training opportunities was a greater determiner of displeasure than workload or salary.
So not only do training opportunities positively impact an employee’s job satisfaction, a lack of continuous learning opportunities will also negatively affect an employee’s experience. In the post-pandemic business world, owners need to understand the closeness of that connection. For talented and competitive candidates, finding room to grow and learn within a role is not a value-add, it’s a must-have.
The Post-Pandemic Priority
With that understanding, smart employers will focus a significant amount of resources, time, and energy on their role in educational offerings. At this stage, the question of where to begin can become a barrier to activity. The world of education is vast, training options are innumerable, and in addition, every single team member has different interests, competencies, and learning preferences. Understandably, employers can have a lot of trouble knowing where to begin.
Great training begins with a clear, well-communicated intention. An important first priority for employers is to communicate with their teams. Begin with a concise set of goals for the endeavor. Make it clear that the organization wants to support the individual goals of each team member, while also providing them with valuable career skills that will help them both within the organization and in their careers moving forward.
With simple goals, employers can begin to open up the conversation about the learning styles and training options that work best for different teams. This is a great place for a team lead to come in and manage the conversation on a more personal level.
At the top of almost every team’s mind should be basic digital skills courses. Regardless of their tech involvement, every employee knows that a digital revolution is underway. Providing them with the opportunity to spend some workplace time understanding the basics will pay dividends in multiple directions. At times, technology can feel like a different language. But now that it’s emerging as one of the primary languages in the business world, it’s important for team members to practice their fluency.
Even minimal exposure to the basics—a beginner’s course on coding, web design, or machine-empowered data analysis—will help employees in different silos relate to the work that’s taking place in different departments. That understanding will help to facilitate more cross-functional team activity, which has proved to be a significant determiner of post-COVID success.
For some employees, the world of tech extends far beyond their educational comfort zone. In order to facilitate the best learning experience, employers should try to offer as many options as possible. Generally, opt-in courses that take place outside of the working environment are preferred, because they allow the learning to take place when and where the employee feels comfortable.
ComIT is a great option for no-cost training that takes place in a setting outside of the office. Virtual, archived lessons allow professionals at any stage to engage with ComIT’s course material, which is specifically curated for the immediate tech needs in their local economy. They offer democratized access to IT knowledge and relevant skills for changing industries.
It’s important for employers to know that re-skilling and up-skilling don’t need to break an already thin budget. But it is an imperative area of focus—the limitations of a role without continuous learning offerings are quickly felt, and the post-pandemic market has proved itself to be fast-paced and action-oriented. Unsatisfied talent doesn’t stick around. To make the most of their teams and attract new candidates, employers should lead with learning—their investments will pay off in more than one way.
Author Bio: Pablo Listingart is the Founder and Executive Director of ComIT, a non-profit organization designed to help people overcome employment barriers and re-introduce themselves to the local market. With an extensive network, ComIT builds ever-changing courses tailored to industry needs, connecting promising graduates with companies in need of local talent.
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