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The Battle Against Attrition, Part 2: Why You Can't Back-Burner Employee Training and Development

The Great Reshuffle has sent employee attrition rates through the roof, as employees find their footing - and their leverage. In a post-pandemic world, employers are facing stiff competition for talent, with double the number of job openings as there are currently long-term unemployed job seekers.


In addition, existing workers are being enticed from one job to the next, often enjoying a salary bump or boost to their job description with each jump. Half of Americans who switched jobs in 2021 saw a pay increase, most between 10% and 30% of what they had been making before.


Being able to retain employees hinges on giving them something they can’t find a better offer for elsewhere: the potential to move steadily forward along their career path while learning the skills they need to excel.

Employee Training and Development: A Top Priority for Millennials

The workforce demographics are shifting. In 2020, 1.1 million more people than expected retired for good. Nearly half of the workforce is now made up of millennials, and their drive, motivations, goals, and expectations from employers are very specific. Since millennials now make up the bulk of the talent pool, understanding what they want and need is critical.


Training and development considered a top benefit

An online survey of 4,364 graduates from 75 countries conducted by PwC revealed that millennials cited training and development as the most important benefit an employer could offer, easily ranking above items traditionally cited as most important such as healthcare benefits, pensions, and retirement funding.


In response to a recent poll, 87% of millennial talent stated that development is important in a career opportunity. Another survey reported of those in the millennial workforce prepared to leave their job, 70% say it is due to a lack of leadership development. 29% of employed millennials say that learning and development opportunities influenced their decision to work at their current company. 


Source: Millennials at Work: Reshaping the Workplace

Millennials work hard; take education, L&D seriously

Despite the narrative that frames millennials as lazy, unmotivated, and unwilling to “do what it takes” to get an education and hold down a job, 39% of millennials have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. Only 29% of Gen Xers and 25% of baby boomers can boast the same achievement.


The millennial generation also boasts the highest employment percentages: 73% of millennials are full-time employees. These workers are far from lazy: On average, millennials in the US work about 45 hours per week, and one out of six younger millennials works 51 hours or more weekly. 


Millennials are future-focused, and this has earned them the moniker “the job-hopping generation” - but it’s not just boredom or fickleness. 60% of millennials are open to new job opportunities, but their goals are clear:


  • Get paid in accordance with their skills and productivity
  • Gain control over how they work, with flexible work schedules and locations
  • Balance work and their personal lives for improved mental health
  • Take advantage of training and development opportunities to advance their careers


Workers are less concerned about resume gaps or multiple role listings than ever. 75% of millennials aren’t afraid to “job-hop” if it keeps them moving up the ladder. Stagnation is the enemy of workers under forty, who are eager for opportunities to push higher up the ladder. L&D is key to attracting and retaining employees.

Why Employee Training and Development is Critical Right Now

There isn’t any time to waste when it comes to employee training and development. In the recent Salesforce report on skills gaps, 76% of worker respondents said they felt unprepared and that their skills were inadequate for an increasingly digitized future. 


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The demand for a technologically savvy workforce

At the same time that highly qualified talent is getting harder and harder to find, the tech revolution is affecting almost every industry and sector. It’s estimated that by 2025, 50% of the global workforce will need to be reskilled in some way or another, due to the adoption of new technologies. 


Even workers whose jobs have nothing to do with “technology” will be expected to know how to work alongside tech. Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are changing how everyone works, and employees need opportunities to learn how to use the tools available to them.


If opportunities for training, development, and advancement aren’t available, employees are far more likely to be open to other opportunities. This is especially true if talent is hired in from the outside to fill skills gaps, while the chance to upskill existing employees is ignored. Workforce planning needs to include L&D.


[Related: Top 8 Employee Development Tips You Need To Implement Right Now]


The demand for soft skills in a customer-centric age

In addition to being tech-savvy, employees need soft skills to help organizations stay competitive in a landscape that revolves around customer experience. Soft skills are top of the list for both employees and employers, according to one LinkedIn survey:


  • 80% of employees say that it is important to get soft skills training from their company. 
  • 89% of recruiters say the biggest reason new hires don’t work out is a lack of soft skills.
  • 76% of organizations in 2022 are making soft skills their training focus for employees.


The most in-demand soft skills for 2022 include:


  • Communication 
  • Collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem-solving.  
  • Time management 

The demand for DEIB training at all levels

Also in demand is training that encompasses diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Already, 65% of organizations say they have a program in place to nurture DEIB within the company via training, and 79% of all companies say they plan to allocate more resources and/or budget to DEIB initiatives in 2022.


Nearly 80% of employees want to work in a company that takes DEIB seriously. In response, more companies are investing in robust DEIB programs, including training and development for employees, managers, and teams to identify discriminatory practices and microaggressions.

Future-Proofing with Employee Training and Development

One of the most important reasons to not back-burner employee training, mentoring, and L&D is that investing in existing employees is the best way to reduce recruitment costs and close skills gaps.


Companies that don’t put effort into making their employees more valuable find their value diminishing in the eyes of their workers. This makes it easier for competitors to slide in and steal top talent, which can be hard to replace.


By looking forward and discerning not only where skills gaps exist but where they will start appearing in the next few years, organizations can handpick employees for upskilling and promotion.


Employees who have access to training and development are more likely to stay with a company, according to one collection of statistics:


  • 94% of employees say they would stay longer if offered L&D opportunities. 
  • 60% of millennials say that they want leadership training to prepare them for future roles. 
  • Simply providing e-learning training opportunities can increase retention rates by 60%.


By focusing on the development of the existing workforce, organizations not only make their company more attractive to work for, but they can also make it harder to leave.

Using Crosschq to Support Employee Training and Development

Crosschq Talent Intelligence Cloud™ is designed to support employee retention starting with how recruitment is carried out and following through hiring and onboarding to continual engagement with the workforce. 


Crosschq Analytics in particular can help companies zero in on what support employees want and need, while offering insight into quality of hire and performance.


For more information on how Crosschq can provide you help in the battle against employee attrition, contact us for a demonstration today.

Elena Arney

by Elena Arney

Director of People & Culture

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