Some of the most in-demand skill sets, like creative problem-solving and tech literacy, are also the hardest to retain. Employees who have put work into developing such high-value skills want to see their career go somewhere–they're looking for payoff not only in terms of salaries and benefits, but in terms of how they're growing and contributing in their daily work.
Reports have shown that across industries, training and development are the most important factors in retaining talent and are among the most sought-after features of a role among job seekers.
Good training has to be tailored to the individual employee, giving them space to spend less time on some areas and more on others as needed. This can be daunting within the traditional view of training as lost time to make up for, but when training and learning are part of the company culture at every level, it becomes second nature.
It’s also important to remember that not every growth experience in a person's career happens in a formal training setting; relationships between employees and their seniors or supervisors can be a valuable source of development.
Informal conversations with employees can be opportunities to explore growth needs and potential. People may be hesitant to open up about what they want, and even more about what they struggle with, so it's sometimes best to segue into the topic from a normal friendly conversation. It also helps to set an example by being honest about your own struggles and goals.
Ask people what other projects and responsibilities in the company interest them or what new skills they'd like to develop. All of this is data to help you make training resources better.
Many employers use Bloom's Taxonomy, a concept from the field of education, to refine and categorise training goals. The easiest way to do this is to divide employees by skill/experience level and identify skill and knowledge gaps at each level. Usually, the best way to package training content is self-explanatory from the needs at each level.
Everyone has a different approach to learning and to work itself, and the modern workforce is multigenerational and encompasses a range of backgrounds and life paths. People will have very different needs when it comes to training, especially in areas such as technology, where older and younger users can have totally different experiences with the same platform.
Classroom-style learning is an efficient way to build a foundation but usually isn't the most effective in the long term. People build their core competencies in those on-the-job teachable moments, so mentorship and on-the-job training are essential tools. Even the most informal help, like going over a presentation with someone who's nervous, can be skill development if you're consistent and encouraging.