Fill Your Talent Pool with First-Class Learning and Development

Your next new hire is most likely already inside your organization. Rather than search outside for stellar candidates, how are you tapping into your existing base of talented employees? If you’ve been meaning to get around to this important task, consider the dual competition that’s luring away your employees: the gig economy and your nearest industry competitor.

We all get that competitors are threats in the race for talent. But the gig economy? How can that possibly affect my employees? Consider that an estimated 57 million gig workers in the US are removing themselves from the job acquisition talent pools. These people are often searching for flexible work they can control. As HR professionals, we can’t ignore the call of freelancing to our employees.

So, how do we do both? How do we appeal to our existing employees and stay relevant when so many workers are choosing the contingent worker lifestyle? Luckily, learning and development is our not-so-secret weapon against the draw of a bright, shiny new job or pulling the plug and diving into the freelance world.

Happiness is ahead

Often, employees will search for a new job that they believe will make them happier. An employee-turned-freelance worker sometimes makes the leap in pursuit of happiness. We all want to be happy, right? Well, what if I told you we can compete with the pursuit of happiness by offering employees control of their learning and development within the organization. It’s completely possible!

Here are five ways to help your employees find their next awesome job – within your company. These same tips apply when encouraging employees to keep their toes in your talent pool and not dip into the freelance world.

Help employees prepare for their next job. Researchers predict that 85% of the jobs that will be on the market in 2030 don’t exist yet. So we can assume everyone needs some help getting ready for the future.

Loosen the reins on learning. Let it be self-directed. No longer do lofty “experts” tell us what to learn and when. Now, we know it’s better for employees to decide what they need to learn and when to learn it. And once they obtain a new skill, we know that it will be used very quickly – often within minutes. This raises the employee’s performance  and that of the business as well.

Remember this new shift means that L&D moves into a role providing access to resources. L&D also becomes the chief architect of a learning-supported organizational culture.

Offer a fantastic learning experience. It’s not about how employees learn, it’s also about the feeling they get when they achieve the next level of learning. So, go all in on personalized learning suggestions. Make sure user-generated content can be shared with colleagues. Embrace informal, on-the-job content. Facilitate social sharing. Align learning to performance management.

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Play to employees’ strengths. The researchers at Gallup found that when managers focus on an employee’s strengths, employee engagement goes up. Use technology to record employees’ progress toward goals.

Train managers to be effective coaches. It’s true that not every manager knows how to coach like a champ. But it’s worth teaching them how to do it well. Research from Human Capital Institute (HCI) and International Coach Federation (ICF) found that companies with a dedicated coaching culture have 67% faster onboarding; a 70% increase in productivity; 71% faster leadership development; and 79% higher employee engagement.

There’s a war for talent happening right inside the walls of your organization. Use learning and development to offer top-notch learning experiences for your people – and watch them stay. Show employees their learning matters – and their next great job is with you.

Hawley Kane

Hawley Kane
Hawley is head of organizational talent and leadership development at Saba Software.

Hawley Kane

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