Invest in L&D to reverse the post-pandemic talent drain

As organisations feel the effects of the Great Resignation, a robust workplace training strategy can tackle employee burnout, improve retention and productivity, and create a culture of innovation to attract new talent


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The seismic shift in the workplace dynamic means an urgent need to address the post-pandemic talent drain.

Hybrid working, the rise of digital and data, and a fundamental change in employee expectations are reshaping the world of work.

With forecasts that as many as 40% of the global workforce could leave their jobs as part of the great resignation, a people-driven strategic approach to attracting and retaining talent is essential.

Workplace training delivered through robust, engaging and meaningful learning and development programmes is key to creating a careers-focused culture that gives organisations a distinctive edge.

“The pandemic has created a unique set of challenges, ranging from employee burnout to issues with hybrid working and the expectations of the workforce changing significantly and rapidly,” explains James Kelly, chief executive of Corndel, a specialist training provider working with large corporate organisations.

“The UK is facing the highest number of vacancies in recorded history, and 2022 looks no different. Businesses are losing top talent, but workplace training can help to re-engage and retain employees.”

A desire to kickstart career growth and the chance to reflect on personal and professional goals are among reasons for the exodus, but workplace training, upskilling and a focus on some of the soft skills needed in the hybrid world can stem those issues.

Research from Corndel, which works in partnership with organisations including BP, Asda, The Adecco Group and Zoopla, found 84% of clients reported L&D programmes were effective at reducing turnover and retaining good employees.

However, with figures showing sharp increases in experienced employees leaving their jobs, there is a fresh challenge facing firms as ‘accidental managers’ struggle to cope with
new demands.

“The great resignation will have a direct impact on employees as their roles expand to take on additional work,” points out Kelly.

“Marketers will now have to be data professionals too; project managers will need leadership skills to take on new challenges – the impact will be felt across all departments and levels.

“There is a real need for quality, bite-sized learning, as employees will need to learn at speed.”

At the same time, concerns that hybrid working and a lack of in-person mentorship could lead to proximity bias and hamper development opportunities must be addressed through empathetic leadership training.

Part of a robust strategy that embeds L&D into organisational culture are apprenticeships.
The Open University found three-quarters of organisations reported increased retention as a result of apprenticeship programmes, while almost half of all apprentices are aged over 24.

The productivity benefits of skills development are recognised by the government, which has pledged to increase funding for apprenticeships by £170m to £2.7bn in 2024-25.

Corndel’s own research highlights that 88% of employers also believe the skills crisis can be effectively mitigated through apprenticeships.

Meanwhile, a new online service launched in September to make it easier for large employers that pay the Apprenticeship Levy to spend their funds, and for other employers to apply for funding.

BP currently has more than 300 people undertaking career apprenticeships and Robbie Watson, the firm’s future skills and learning manager for digital, said the strategy showed a “commitment to development”.

“When we look at attracting talent, it’s about offering so much more than a job,” explains Watson.

“Someone that joins BP starts their job on day one, but they also start their learning journey on day one.

“We are trying to change the culture within BP to a continual learning environment and career apprenticeships really feed into that.”

As societal and economic changes created by the pandemic continue to impact employee burnout and issues with retention and attraction, a high-quality workplace training strategy can help build a culture of lifelong learning and a curious,
innovative workforce.

“It can’t be understated how significantly the world of work has changed in the last two years,” concludes Kelly.

“All these issues require clear, strategic planning that recognises that shift rather than incremental changes to an organisation’s L&D strategy.”

Find out how your organisation can make the most of your Apprenticeship Levy funding and solve skills gaps within your business at corndel.com


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