Recruit better: How a culture of learning can beat the 'candidate crunch'

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Many employers are currently experiencing challenges in their talent attraction and retention as part of what has been called ' The Candidate Crunch.' 

This has been exacerbated somewhat by the the so-called 'great resignation' a cultural shift currently ongoing in the UK that has seen record numbers leaving their jobs over the course of the pandemic or as businesses began mandating a return to the office.

Learning and development (L&D) efforts are one way for organisations to find and keep employees. Workplace trends and protocols change fast, so today’s workforce wants to broaden their skill sets to keep up with changes in their industry or roles. To meet this desire, a culture that promotes continuous learning can facilitate an environment where employees are equipped to maintain a competitive skillset. In turn, this can help an organisation keep up in today’s marketplace and market itself as an attractive, people-focused workplace 

This article explores the benefits of organisational learning cultures and how employers can build or reinforce that culture.

Understanding a Culture of Learning

An authentic learning culture supports a growth mindset, an independent pursuit for knowledge and collective understanding related to organisational missions and goals.

Not only do employees want to learn and apply new skills in their job and company, but they’re also open to sharing that knowledge with others. According to research by recruitment company Totaljobs, 9 in 10 employers saw an increase in the wider team’s skillset following an individual’s training programme. This was due to the newly trained employee sharing their learnt skills.

Additionally, a strong culture of learning is an important factor in employee engagement. According to a LinkedIn Workforce Learning Report, 94 per cent of employees would stay at a company longer if it simply invested in helping them learn. When employees don’t have development and career advancement opportunities, they may feel unchallenged or unmotivated in their roles. It’s wise for employers to cultivate a workplace culture that offers opportunities to help support employees on their learning journeys.

Alongside being a powerful recruitment and retention tool for organisations, a learning company culture has the potential to impact workplaces by:

  • Closing worker skill gaps
  • Keeping up with workplace demands
  • Increasing employee innovation and creativity

Moreover, a successful L&D programme may boost employee productivity. Eight in 10 employers reported a noticeable improvement in an employee’s output following a training programme, according to research by Totaljobs.

As with any workplace initiative, L&D efforts are an investment. However, employers should consider L&D an investment in both employees and the organisation as a whole.

Creating a Culture of Learning

Developing a learning company culture takes time and dedication, but the payoff is worth it in the long run. Consider the following ways to build or reinforce a workplace culture of learning:

  • Personalise learning. Employers can offer personalised learning plans to help guide employees on their journeys to make learning efforts relevant. Instead of focusing on course completion, employers can support employees’ long-term learning to reach their career goals.
  • Support risk-taking. Employers can tolerate and perhaps even encourage mistakes—as long as they support learning and growth and are managed appropriately. When employees feel safe taking risks, significant growth can occur at the individual and team levels. The feasibility of this strategy will vary based on industry and organisation.
  • Reward and recognise learning. Employers need to show their appreciation and value of learning regularly. Focus on how employees apply their newfound knowledge rather than simply what was accomplished.
  • Leverage technology. Employers incorporate e-learning, online coaching and learning management systems (LMSs) to train and develop their workforce. The right technology learning environment can facilitate and support continuous learning, ultimately making it accessible for all employees.
  • Hire lifelong learners. Recruiters and hiring managers could leverage assessments and behavioural interviews to gauge if candidates are a good fit or add to company culture. For example, such an assessment could help reveal if a prospective employee is driven, curious or has a learner mindset.

An authentic learning culture requires ongoing attention and effort from organisational leaders and managers. Employees want to feel like they’re part of something bigger than just their role, and career development and advancement opportunities can be part of that.

Conclusion

A motivated and engaged workplace is a powerful one. An approach to workplace learning that focuses on the culture can help ensure that employees continuously learn and develop. Not only can a learning culture motivate and develop current employees, but it can give organisations a necessary competitive edge in today’s job market by attracting workers who want to broaden their skill sets.

The right L&D opportunities and initiatives vary by organisation and industry; regardless, they are a critical investment in individual employees and the organisation as a whole.

At ABL Group we have our own accreditation, learning and development programme, the ABL Academy.

If you're a customer-focused person wanting to switch careers or a school leaver hoping to start your career in insurance, our academy will support your training and give you the time and space to achieve your qualifications.

If you're an experienced insurance professional, the ABL Academy can help you accelerate your career in the industry through our Masterclass series and our focus on continued professional development. Get in touch today to find out more about our current open opportunities. Email your CV to hr@ablinsurance.co.uk