5 ways to attract and retain top talent
5 ways to attract and retain top talent

This article is the sixth in a series. Here are links to the first five:

You can also view the infographic here.

3 ways to promote self-improvement

The events of the last few years had a big impact on how we live and work. A prime example is the rapid acceleration of an increasingly digital world and the resulting risk of skills obsolescence for the workforce. Today, employees who want to stay ahead know they need to commit to continuous learning, regardless of what they do for a living. Our recent Workmonitor survey reflects this focus on self-improvement.

A significant majority of survey respondents (76%) say additional training and development are important to their careers and future, with those under 35 the most concerned (80%).

According to Randstad Sourceright’s 2022 Talent Trends research, reskilling the global workforce is a priority for employers, too. Nearly all (93%) of the 900 C-suite and human capital leaders surveyed believe employers have a responsibility to provide such opportunities. However, while three-quarters say training and development is an effective way to combat the skills gap, only 29 percent are investing in it.

This means employers are aware of the benefits of accelerating professional development. What’s more, their employees want it.

An overwhelming majority of survey respondents (88%) say they would engage in learning and development programs if given the opportunity and nearly as many (84%) would speak with a career coach if they had access to one.

53% want to develop in their current role
53% want to develop in their current role

The good news is, most respondents want to do this where they are. This means organizations have the opportunity to retain great talent by offering coaching, upskilling and reskilling to their workforce. Our Workmonitor survey shows three areas to focus on:

1. technical skills

The pandemic rapidly advanced the digital transformation around the world, particularly in the workplace. This led to a shift in the technical skills required on the job and a greater need for upskilling among the workforce. According to the International Labour Organization, jobs in a variety of markets have been lost entirely due to technology, among other structural shifts. Yet only a small number of employees are prepared to move into higher-skill jobs.

Our survey indicates that employees want to be sure their technical skills stay up to date, with nearly half of respondents (48%) interested in increasing these skills.

One-third want more digital upskilling
One-third want more digital upskilling

2. soft skills

Technical skills aren’t the only area that employees want to improve. A greater focus on learning and development, along with a significant cultural shift in society resulted in an increased interest in soft skills. The same number of respondents, 48 percent, would like to develop their soft skills, with the youngest generation more likely to do so. In fact, a majority (56%) of younger employees would like to increase their communication and leadership skills. However, 34 percent of older employees said the same.

A sign of the times, certain areas stood out:

24% interested in sustainability training
24% interested in sustainability training
13% interested in combatting unconscious bias in the workplace
13% interested in combatting unconscious bias in the workplace

3. coaching

In addition to skills training, most respondents see the value in a career coach. They believe a coach can help them achieve both their personal and professional goals as well as remain future-proof against advancing automation and other market forces.

An overwhelming majority (84%) would speak to one if given the chance.

What kind of guidance would they like? 

  • 60% want to learn how to earn more money 
  • 50% want to achieve a better work life balance 
  • 40% want to know how to advance in their career with their current employer
  • 25% want help staying relevant in a changing market 

age and geography variations 

Understandably, younger generations are most concerned with self-improvement. According to the survey, 80 percent of those under 35 say additional training and development is important to their careers and future. This number declines to 65 percent for those 55 and older. 

This follows the pattern concerning unemployment, with younger people most worried about losing a job. However, the youngest age group feels most confident in finding a new role quickly as compared to the oldest group.

76% of respondents worldwide value the importance of training and development
76% of respondents worldwide value the importance of training and development

Certain regions place more emphasis on learning and developing new skills. For example, 90 percent of Latin Americans say it will help their career and employability, while just 69 percent in Northwestern Europe feel the same way. Europe as a whole values soft skills training while Asian countries such as China prefer technical training.

promoting continuous learning

For most people, access to the skilling content they need already exists. Seven out of 10 people surveyed said their job provides the right training and development opportunities and one-quarter said their company has increased such opportunities during the past 12 months. In fact, only 12 percent said the number of those opportunities has declined during that time.

In order to continue to stay in touch with the self-improvement needs of the workforce, employers can:

close the skills gap

Organizations that know what competencies are available now and needed in the future can meet shifting business needs. A skills audit of current employees followed by coordination between learning and talent acquisition departments can help close the skills gap.

reward participation

Companies that reward the workforce for learning opportunities will increase participation. Engaged employees can then help align subsequent programs for both their future needs and the needs of the broader organization.

offer guidance

Organizations that offer coaching to employees can help them better determine their professional and personal goals and in turn create a more engaged workforce. This can help retain talent as well as promote higher productivity and innovation.

Employers who stay in touch with the needs of today’s workforce with opportunities for learning and development will help employees bridge the skills gap and achieve their goals. This focus on self-improvement will benefit both individuals and the organization as a whole.