The positive effect of offering a robust learning and development (L&D) program for your employees can’t be overstated. In fact, LinkedIn Learning’s 2023 Workplace Learning Report shares that employees said they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career growth and skill development. But even above and beyond helping you retain top talent, L&D can help empower and connect your employees, transforming your company culture for the better.
By delivering strategic L&D programs, you can also help to ensure that your employees’ goals are aligned with those of your organization. This is good for your team — and it is also just a sound business strategy. After all, the more you pour into your employees, the more value they add to your company.
Here are four ways you can leverage L&D to empower and connect your team.
1. Connect to Company Mission
Your mission is at the heart of everything you do. But if your employees are far removed from that mission, they are more likely to feel uninspired and disconnected when it comes to their jobs. Alternatively, the more connected your employees feel to your mission, the greater investment they will have in everything they do.
Fortunately, your L&D program can help your employees understand the why that drives everything your company does, your company’s goals for the future and the strategy for how you all plan to get there together. Ultimately, using L&D opportunities to connect your team to your company’s mission and strategy will allow them to visualize their part in the bigger picture — and to understand why they want to be a part of it.
2. Empower Your Employees for the Long Term With the Skills They Need
Employees who feel stagnant or out of their depth are much more likely to be unhappy in their roles, to struggle with a greater level of on-the-job stress and to consider leaving your organization for a company that is better at meeting their needs. The key to stopping this process before it even begins is to provide foundational training, identify skills gaps and invest in upskilling. L&D is a great way to level set your team, fill knowledge gaps and upskill employees so they are empowered and have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively. After all, an empowered employee is a happy employee.
Focusing on L&D also allows you to remove everyday frustrations by ensuring that everyone on your team is on the same page when it comes to job-related processes and responsibilities. You can guide your employees through topics that are required for their work and clarify departmental functions and programs specific to your company, increasing effectiveness and efficiency.
3. Create Opportunities for Cross-functional Collaboration
Another benefit of using L&D to train your employees on what each department within your organization does and how they work is that you will remove silos between them. You can create and provide custom training on topics like “What Marketing Does,” “How Finance Works,” “The Company Sales Process” and more. With the silos gone, your employees will feel more comfortable reaching out to other team members, giving the collective team the tools, drive and desire to make things happen together.
This spirit of teamwork will also help improve your workplace environment. Employees crave a sense of connection and, without it, they are more likely to feel disengaged, do the bare minimum at their jobs, or even leave your company altogether. Humans are naturally social creatures with an incredible capacity for learning and growing. And with the morale boost we get from learning and growing together, we feel better connected. By using L&D to build stronger bonds amongst your team members, you will create a healthier culture for everyone on your team.
4. Deepen Proficiency in Your Products or Services
How many employees at your organization can accurately and effectively describe what your company does and how your products or services work? It’s easy to get siloed in corporate culture, and one way to foster efficiency, productivity and innovation in your organization is to ensure every employee is trained in your products or services. This applies to more than just your customer-facing roles. You should train everyone — from your front desk to your finance and accounting team, and all roles in between.
For instance, if you are a software company, provide overviews of the software, its features and its benefits. If you are a service provider, what services do you offer, how do you offer them, and why do customers choose you? Even if it doesn’t seem like a specific job function needs this level of information, providing employees with this training allows them to be creative about developing and customizing processes that work for their department, giving them a much clearer view of how their role fits into the bigger picture.
Take Back Your Power and Transform Your Business
Including more L&D in your everyday work life may seem difficult at first, but there are many different approaches you can consider before you determine what the right fit for your organization is. This may mean that you build specific times into your calendar that are dedicated to bigger learning opportunities or, instead, that you choose to incorporate these opportunities more incrementally, like through shorter learning engagements, also known as microlearning.
Many things are outside of your control as a learning leader. But, by delivering impactful training, you will have the chance to directly shape the culture and your employee experience in a way that benefits all stakeholders. However you choose to incorporate L&D into the employee experience, your actions will help empower your employees, creating a happier and healthier workplace in the process.