Recent research has shone a light on the importance of Learning and Development (L&D) to ensure your employees are happy and healthy, in and outside the workplace.
Organizations across industries are all facing a common challenge: maintaining their employees’ well-being.
Today’s fiercely competitive market, coupled with fast-paced technological developments, often means that employees’ skills are made redundant in the blink of an eye. Without ensuring your employees are skilled-up, you can not only lose your competitive advantage but also lose your employees as they move to organizations that are prioritizing professional development and employee well-being more effectively.
The 2019 L&D report identified three patterns in the training industry that illustrate the importance of L&D training for maintaining and improving your employees’ wellness. Investing in training is an unambiguous strategy to prepare your employees for the future. Both as your organization continues to strategize for the increasingly competitive marketplace, and employees’ personal development as they remain in their careers and their own lives.
From explicitly tying well-being to L&D to using training to increase employee engagement, retention, and recruitment - conversations in the report with practicing L&D professionals reveal how you, too, can leverage training to impact employee well-being positively. Take the first step today!
Explicitly Align Training and Wellness
Before re-thinking your existing L&D strategy, take stock of the processes your organization already has in place. Are your training and employee wellness functions siloed off from one another?
The first step in effectively leveraging your training function for employee well-being is to bring both functions under the same L&D umbrella. At Manning Gottlieb OMD, they improved their existing training program by adding a healthy living focus, and the results speak for themselves.
In their aligned L&D programme called ‘The Gym,’ MG OMD requires their employees to participate in four distinct training areas:
Personal Training; and
The first three areas focus on diverse professional upskilling like microlearning, core skills development, and coaching and mentoring. While these areas are of vital importance, the company considers The Spa the key to its success. By offering employees opportunities to focus on their physical and mental health through yoga and pilates classes, courses in stress-reduction, massages, and much more, MG OMD ended up winning in the ‘Best Learning and Development Strategy’ category at the HR Distinction Awards.
For MG OMD’s People Business Partner Clare Walsh, driving training through wellness was a straightforward approach to improving employee health. Our approach is simple,” Walsh says. “We need our people to be physically and mentally healthy for them to get the most from other areas of training, and to produce the best work for our clients.”
With wellness and professional development aligned, your employees can further benefit by developing their soft skill in core areas like communication in combination with your wellness offering. By centering health and wellness at the core of your L&D strategy, you’ll create a better work-life balance for your employees while driving productivity, satisfaction, and engagement with your workplace culture in one fell swoop.
Use Training To Boost Internal and External Engagement
Maximizing the potential of your L&D function doesn’t stop with integrating training and wellness. More specifically, a cohesive L&D programme can be used to ensure your employees are engaged and feel positive as they walk through your office doors every day.
A similar L&D report found that organizations with highly engaged employees were 1.5x more likely to prioritize soft-skills development over other types of skills. Following MG OMD, you can use your organization’s L&D programme to illustrate to employees how invested their employer is in their growth and development. It also teaches employees the skills they need to create a healthy work-life balance to improve engagement while at work.
Furthermore, by integrating and engaging with wellness tools and options from external partners in your aligned L&D programme, employees will recognize that your organization has sought out external expertise and know that their wellness is your priority. When they know that their wellness is a priority for upper management, they will become organically ingrained in your workplace culture.
If employees feel invested through your L&D programme, they’ll be more inclined to grow and develop in their roles within your organization. Growth and development have been recognized as one of the key ways to drive employee engagement and improve how employees feel about organizational workplace cultures.
Use L&D To Improve R&R (Retention and Recruitment)
The last step in this list (but certainly not the least!) is using L&D to improve your retention and recruitment metrics. Aligning your training and wellness functions and enhancing employee engagement both combine to create a more positive work environment. Re-thinking and re-strategizing your L&D programme is an effective way to illustrate your investment in existing employees, and functions as an organic recruitment perk for incoming talent.
But how does decreasing turnover improve employee well-being? Closely related to the positive workplace culture, we discussed above, by leaving engagement and monitoring of workplace culture on the backburner, employees can feel ignored and without access to the proper channels to voice their concerns. If you’re working with a high turnover rate, establishing a positive work environment will remain next to impossible.
By offering sufficient opportunities for growth and development through L&D, employees will feel more engaged and know first-hand that your organization is prioritizing their opportunities for professional development. Feeling included in an organizational effort to marry L&D and wellness, employees will see the benefits of remaining with your organization. Strategic training programs are one of the many ways you can improve retention. But the perks of L&D don’t end there!
According to the 2019 report, 72% of market leaders use L&D as a recruitment strategy. At the home assistance provider HomeServe, an aligned L&D programme essentially killed both the retention and recruitment birds with one stone.
HomeServe’s Director of Learning and Development Rebecca Edwards finds that “L&D is a great attraction and retention tool particularly as you see our workforce changing. We’re seeing less vertical ladder moves now. A lot more people want to have a wider career and expand their knowledge and experience in very different areas.”
When the work aligns with wellness and training functions, this improves employee engagement and reduces turnover. The result is the perfect way to attract the best talent to your organization. By having concrete strategies and processes in place, your talent pipeline will see that by joining your organization, they’ll be supported and sustained to execute their work in an environment with employees’ well-being at its core.