The secret to retaining top talent: learning and development

HubSpot senior director says compensation is critical, but it isn’t enough to keep today’s employees engaged

The secret to retaining top talent: learning and development

This article is provided by HubSpot.

When it comes to employee training and development, there's a gap between perception and reality: 74% of employers believe they're offering enough career development opportunities for their workforce. Yet, only half of employees believe that to be true. this gap has continued to widen as companies scrambled to redesign their learning and development resources for a hybrid workforce. 

The way we communicate, collaborate, and learn at work has changed dramatically over the past few years, so your employee development content and programs content must reflect that. From onboarding and reboarding to reskilling and upskilling, we need to reassess what kind of content will engage and empower employees - whether they are working in the office or at home. It should go without saying that every employee should have the opportunity to learn and grow, so as you’re planning your L&D programming for 2023, make sure you’re focusing on each stage in the employee journey.

Building a More Inclusive Onboarding Experience for New Hires 

According to one study, nearly one in 10 employees have left a company because of a poor onboarding experience, and 37% didn't think their manager played a critical role in supporting their onboarding experience. Employees want to feel welcomed and connected from day one. Onboarding sets the tone for what new hires can expect from their team, their managers, and the culture of the organization - which is why prioritizing inclusion is so crucial. And even more so in today’s hybrid workplace. 

Walking into an office on day one is vastly different from logging onto Zoom to meet your colleagues. But no matter where new hires are onboarding from, they should feel the same sense of community and belonging. To solve for this, we’ve introduced more opportunities for casual but intentional connection. For example, we schedule “no pressure to attend” coffee chats that enable folks to get to know people in different parts of the organization, mimicking in-office interactions you would typically have with people outside of your direct team. Additionally, we share various conversation starters to encourage employees to go beyond the surface-level “What team are you on?” questions in an effort to build more lasting, sustainable connections. 

Inclusivity also means being mindful of folks’ schedules and time zones. HubSpot’s careful combination of instructor-led sessions and asynchronous e-learnings allows new hires to reap the benefits of real-time interaction with colleagues, while simultaneously giving them the opportunity to own their schedule and complete onboarding tasks during times that work for them. As part of this, we’ve been incredibly intentional with how much time new hires spend on Zoom calls and have limited sessions to be no more than 90-minutes long. This gives folks time to reset, take a break, and really absorb the material. 

By prioritizing human connection through different types of modalities, including instructor-led training, group work, and panel discussions, HubSpot has reimagined our onboarding experience to create lasting connections, regardless of location.

Offering Upskilling Opportunities For Individual Contributors 

Despite today’s macroeconomic environment, the “Great Resignation” has not shown signs of slowing down yet - likely because we’ve overlooked the root cause of this attrition. Yes, hybrid work and the increasing demand for flexible work environments have been major factors. But according to HubSpot’s 2022 Hybrid Work Report, of the 57% of workers likely to look for a new job in 2022, more than 50% would stay with their current company if they had more opportunities for upskilling. Now, you may be thinking you need a dedicated team for that. You actually don’t. 

Platforms like SkillSoft, LinkedIn Learning and Coursera offer a range of learning opportunities for employees. From communicating with confidence and confronting bias to Python programming and data science foundations, there are options for everyone in your organization to grow. Providing access to self-driven learning experiences and content allows employees to feel more control over the direction of their careers. It allows them to analyze their own needs for growth and improvement and take tangible actions to directly impact their level of effectiveness and fulfillment at work. Offering reskilling and upskilling opportunities isn’t just an investment in your people, it’s an investment in your business that leads to internal mobility, and ultimately retention.  

As important as proper compensation and benefits are, they are only part of what keeps employees motivated and engaged. 

Providing Management Resources for Leadership at Scale 

Workplace changes over the past two years have made managers’ jobs 10x harder. Yes, they’re still responsible for leading teams. But in a hybrid world, they are expected to do so much more - communicating important information down to their teams, fostering remote inclusion, facilitating psychological safety, connection, and alignment - all while supporting the growth and development of their team members. With these additional responsibilities, it’s no surprise that managers need access to resources to support not only their teams, but themselves. 

As the role of managers evolves to accommodate hybrid work, their needs do too. Providing them with the right tools and support structures to be effective people leaders is the first step. Helping managers recognize signs of burnout, set boundaries, and effectively communicate asynchronously allows them to build connections with their teams that are based on trust and empathy.

In a hybrid world, there is another resource that has become scarce for managers: community. Leading a team in a hybrid environment can ultimately get kind of lonely. You don't get those serendipitous experiences of bumping into a manager from a different team in the hallway and asking them a question, or getting their help with a tough situation like you do in an office. So, in addition to trainings and workshops, companies really need to invest in their manager communities to ensure that they feel like they have a safe space for them to learn, ask questions, and grow. 

Louisa Proctor is the senior director of learning and development at HubSpot.

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