After a universally difficult year, and much of the workforce stuck in home offices with the lines between our work-life balances blurred, seeking creative ways to keep your teams feeling inspired is as challenging as ever. If your company offers learning and development budgets, they can be utilized as an effective tool to reinspire your team or colleagues.
What do Learning and Development (L&D) budgets typically encompass? From certifications and networking events to workshops and mentoring, investing in your teams’ professional growth tends to pay dividends to your organization. Now, more than ever, employees are looking for the opportunities to learn making leadership and development one of the key benefits job-seekers are looking for nowadays.
McKinsey & Company reported that these are the five strategic roles Leadership and Development holds in an organization: Attracting and retaining talent, motivating and engaging employees, building the employer brand, creating a value based culture, and developing people capabilities. With employees no longer staying at the same company for a lifetime, workers stay for as long as they feel they are able to add value to their team or organization. That value only remains if employees are able to access resources and seek opportunities to learn and grow.
So what sort of L&D opportunities are ideal to offer employees in your organization? We’ve outlined a few:
Workshops are a great way for your team to learn new skills related to your organization while staying up-to-date and in-the-know regarding the latest tips, trends, and technologies. They can also provide support for your employees to seek more varied, multidisciplinary approaches towards their responsibilities or repolish both hard or soft skills pertaining to their field of focus.
Depending on your industry, there can be a lot of need for employees to get certified for one skill or another. Certifications are an investment in your employees, ultimately creating more wealth for your organization but also empowers members of your team by suggesting they are worth investing in. Creating a list of relevant certifications and allocating whom in the organization may be most eligible for them every year will help use your budget efficiently.
Conferences & Events
While in this moment, conferences and other in-person events seem to be an artifact of a different lifetime, they still hold a great deal of value offering a concentration of inspiring content along with the opportunity to make new, relevant connections in a short period of time. Conferences or events also provide employees access to up-to-date industry knowledge, products, technologies and even perspectives.
If you work in a multi-cultural office across multiple countries, offering your employees the chance to engage in a new language, be it the local language or that of a country whose frequent business is conducted helps employees expand their ability to communicate and cultural awareness which could be crucial in professional settings.
Invest in a Shared Bookshelf
Supporting your employees by providing access to necessary books, journals or other published works is another ideal option for your learning and development budget, and potentially a cost effective one. Building an in-office library can also provide resources for independent learning as well as an opportunity to engage with team building activities. A book club can help your team connect while deepening their understanding of a given topic related to their professional lives as they process textual takeaways while fortifying your team and organizational output.
Bring in an expert for in-house talk or training
Leverage your circle or go all-out for a big name who has something of value to offer employees -- be it motivational and inspiring or more concrete and hard skills. Bringing outside ideas and energies into the workplace can help shake up creativity and inspiration amongst the organization.
Our mentoring programs are fantastic ways to get deeper, one-on-one attention from a professional in your field of interest or expertise while growing your career. We work to pair your employees with a suitable mentor to help them grow in their current roles, learn new soft or hard skills and provide a different point of view.
Access to E-learning Platforms
Online-learning is more accessible than ever and the possibilities are endless. Offer subscriber credits to platforms like Udemy or LinkedIn Learning or Masterclass for your employees to use your stipend towards what seems most interesting or inspiring to them.
Wellbeing Enabling Tools
Supporting your employees with mental health and overall well-being during a pandemic is an ambiguous challenge. While there are many factors that play into what might strain mental health, it’s been reported that 51% of workers suffered stress, depression or anxiety in 2019. In recent years however, tools to explore and support wellbeing have become more widely available. Subscribe to tools like Headspace or Calm on their business plans that offer meditations and help with better sleep. It gives your employees the opportunity to engage with their own mental health and a message that their well-being is important to the company.
Invest in team-building activities.
Giving your team an opportunity to connect with each other and see one another more humanely always has profound impacts on the organization and employees ability to problem solve effectively. Liking each other, and the space one spends 40+ hours per week in should not be overlooked. Offering recreational time where employees are able to get to know one another creates an attractive and enticing work culture, one where employees want to spend their time and energy.
By providing a range of tools, resources and opportunities, employers can set their employees and teams up for success. Supportive Learning and Development programs lead to strong foundations, healthy company cultures, decreased turnover rates, improvements in employees well-being, growth in a combined wealth of skills and ultimately increased productivity. In the current hiring market, companies cannot afford to skimp on Learning and Development.