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The Importance of Learning and Development in the Workplace

Education shouldn’t stop after we graduate. Development in the workplace not only benefits your organization’s culture but can also help to increase engagement and retention. Here are three big reasons you should offer opportunities for learning at your organization, and three ways to get started.

How learning can benefit your employees and your organization:

Development & learning opportunities increase retention rates.

In a national study conducted by ECN Magazine, 80% of employees rated company-provided training as “important or very important” and 70% of employees said training and development opportunities could influence their retention. What is even more impressive is that these statistics crossed generational lines – they are consistent among Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers! It seems that education plays strongly to human nature to better ourselves. And as the US spends a whopping $30.5 billion on millennial turnover each year, it is important to do whatever we can to increase retention.

Development & learning opportunities encourage a growth mindset in your employees.

A growth mindset is an idea that you are not restricted in your current abilities and worth, but rather that you have the ability to grow and adapt depending on how hard you work and where you invest your resources. When we give our employees many opportunities for development and encourage them to better themselves, they develop a growth mindset. This promotes a desire to learn, helps them to feel unlimited in their potential, and keeps them optimistic about their track within the organization. Realism is important in business, but revolutionary ideas don’t come about without optimism.

Development & learning opportunities create a culture of excellence.

Your employees are the best of the best, and you need to keep them at the top of their game. By providing opportunities for learning and self-development, your employees stay educated in their fields and more aware of potential issues and process improvements.

How to incorporate more opportunities for learning and development in your workplace:

Offer leadership development and strategic planning courses.

One of the best ways in which you can incorporate specific, targeted learning (and on a budget!) is to host it yourself. Determine where your organizational pain points are, and which you can affect in the most direct way. Then establish a plan to offer courses or training sessions to your employees to increase their knowledge and skills in these areas. A few examples of this could be:

  • If your organization lacks skilled managers, offer weekly or monthly leadership development sessions. Encourage your up-and-coming employees to attend, then teach them basic managerial skills and offer insights into where the company is heading.
  • If your accounting team could use some extra help with understanding the new software, offer a free training webinar to your employees. Often lack of participation with new software is due to lack of training, not a lack of desire to learn.

Invest in your employees’ skill set in their field.

This could include attending training seminars and Lunch & Learns, or taking a paid lunch to participate in an online webinar. Many webinars and online training resources are available completely free! A great place for HR practitioners to start is with MTM’s webinar series of videos, like How to Measure Recognition Program ROI. 

In addition, there are tons of online classes available for little to no cost. Perhaps you could get the team up to speed on a recently implemented technology, find an Excel training course, or find a local Lunch & Learn about social media market best practices. No matter the field, allowing your employees to utilize work time to invest in themselves and their capabilities let them know you care about their skills as a person and want them to achieve their highest potential.

Offer to cross-train for employees to become skilled in more than one area.

The benefits of cross-training your employees go far beyond having an extra set of hands available during the busy season. Cross-training employees increases the skill set of your workforce as a whole and leads to greater interdepartmental cooperation. And since over 70% of workers feel they aren’t being utilized to their fullest potential, cross-training helps your employees feel more useful.


Founder & CEO of RateGain put it perfectly: “In a rapidly evolving landscape, productivity is not only dependent on employees, but also on the technology they use. Training and development go a long way in getting employees up to date with new technology, use existing ones better and then discard the outdated ones.”

Training and employee development are vital to your organization’s health and growth. With greater engagement, better retention rates, and a culture of excellence on the line don’t let training and education slip through the cracks for your employees.

Have any thoughts or ideas on development? Drop us a comment below or contact us – we would love to hear from you!

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