Keys to Employee Retention in 2022: Skilling Opps, More Autonomy, Work-Life Balance

A company’s workforce is its most precious asset. Given today’s uncertain times, forward-thinking organizations realize that the way to their success lies in their ability towards employee retention, upskilling, and empowerment.

This is also a time when The Great Resignation and ensuing staff retention issues have been creating major upheavals across industries. While there are more job options than ever in the market, many employees are also preferring to venture out on their own. The McKinsey Great Attrition research found that 31% employees who left their job in the past six months did so to start a new business.

It is clear that organizations need to focus on engaging and retaining employees if they wish to slow down the wave of attrition. One way of improving retention rates is to turn toward a strong learning and development strategy. However, this does not mean making people participate in tedious and boring mandatory trainings. Rather, it is about finding innovative ways to integrate learning and upskilling into every day work life and offering flexibility for team members at every level to learn on a schedule that is convenient to them.

The end result is that growth and elevation is a more likely outcome once team members are able to effectively learn and upskill, leading to organizations that are not just stronger economically, but also more diverse and equitable. We suggest the following focus areas to boost employee retention strategies and engagement:

  • Make Employees Feel Valued By Offering Skilling Opportunities

The McKinsey research pointed that the top three reasons why employees left their organization in the past six months were not feeling valued by the organization (54%) or their manager (52%) and not having a sense of belonging (51%). One of the most important ways of making employees feel valued is by creating an extensive employee development program that offers them enough upskilling opportunities. According to a 2021 Gallup survey conducted on behalf of Amazon, skills training is one of the top perks younger workers look for in a new job.

But what companies have to understand is that the L&D program should not be only about the company's needs. Employees also look for opportunities that encourage their personal development, such as learning a new skill that may or may not be directly transferable to job performance. Doing so will communicate to employees that their personal growth is just as important to the company as their productivity, making it a pathway towards employee retention.

  • Empower Employees by Offering Them Learning Autonomy

Another way of engagement and employee retention is by offering them autonomy over their learning experience. With an autonomous learning approach, learners are better prepared to handle their job function and overall life. For this, leaders need to create and encourage appropriate learning culture by building trust between team members at all levels. While there is a plethora of knowledge resources that is available to learners, it’s necessary to organize them and ensure that learners have access to this material at their point of need.

In the process, the learning content needs to be personalized so as to address an individual’s learning needs as precisely as possible. Employees need to have access to learning content that is both engaging and suitable for their needs, so that autonomous learning becomes a natural process.

  • Help Employees Set Work-Life Boundaries with Learning in the Flow Of Work

The pandemic has blurred the thin line between personal and professional life. The McKinsey report has pointed that 50% of employees cited they left their job in the past six months because they did not have good work-life balance. Given this situation, it is possible that employees may hesitate to invest time which is already in shortage towards learning and development.

However, learning and skilling programs need not be a burden on employees. In fact, with the recent developments in training technology, skill development can take place in a flexible manner. This is where ‘learning in the flow of work’ comes into picture. Learning in the flow of work focuses on integrating learning into daily tasks of employees, as opposed to traditional learning methods that need separate allocation of hours, or even days sometimes.

  • Make Soft Skills a Top Priority

In the last 10-15 years, the skills gap has widened at a more rapid pace than ever due to multiple reasons, advancing technology and automation being the top one among them. While it’s important to determine how to fill the skills gap, it’s also necessary to figure what kind of skills organizations need to impart to their workforce. Along with digital and tech skills, soft skills too are highly in demand at the moment. Hard skills are focused upon operations, processes and function, soft skills are character traits that employees need to possess to strengthen their overall performance.

Communication and Collaboration are two very important soft skills that are a must-have for every employee. Especially considering that remote and hybrid work environment will continue to be the norm for some time now, communicating and collaborating well are imperative. But it’s important that organizations understand that soft skills development requires targeted training and development programs and those that have these, have definitely witnessed great results.

Parting Thoughts

Among many other factors, The Great Resignation is spurred by employees leaving their jobs in search of new opportunities, experiences, and skills. As they continue to seek out new avenues, many are looking for organizations that value them and invest in them by offering meaningful learning and development opportunities. If your organization is looking to improve employee retention rates in 2022, turning to a strong skilling strategy can be one of the best ways to do so.

Plethora houses an exhaustive catalog of soft skill courses, and with the help of seasoned eLearning content experts, is able to custom build individual learning plans for employees to achieve a specified business objective. To learn more about Plethora courses and view our curated plans, please get in touch here.