Personal and professional development is an important focus area for employees. Today’s workforce wants the flexibility to learn in the context of their daily workflow and access to relevant training at their fingertips. This need for growth and development is driving changes in the way many companies structure performance evaluations, professional development and feedback. Employees are pushing for more consistent updates on their performance and continuous learning opportunities.

Training is quickly becoming a key differentiator between companies competing for talent. Organizations should position training as an employee incentive and add it to existing benefits packages alongside retirement, health and wellness options. Having professional development opportunities listed on job descriptions is very attractive to today’s applicant pool. Employees want to work for companies that value lifelong learning and focus on helping their employees succeed both inside and outside of the office.

Learning and development (L&D) can play an integral role in making training accessible to employees to attract and retain talent. Here are some tips on how L&D can create a continuous learning culture that reflects the values of today’s workforce.

Create Awareness for Training Resources

Marketing creates transparency. While organizations may offer training opportunities, employees may be completely unaware of these offerings. L&D cannot rest on the “if you build it, they will come” mentality. L&D must ensure employees know that training resources are available across the company through marketing initiatives such as emails, newsletters or posters in common areas. There must be visibility of training offerings to ensure employee participation.

Secure Manager Involvement

Having managers involved in L&D is crucial to employee success. In fact, two-thirds of employees say that they would be motivated to learn if their direct manager was involved, according to a LinkedIn Learning report. L&D should provide managers with adequate training on how to support employees throughout their development. Managers should meet regularly with employees to create a development plan, recommend training opportunities and discuss how to apply new skills on the job.

Consider a Learning Library

Whether your training organization is large or small, resources should be easily accessible to learners. A collection of content could be as simple as a company intranet or as complex as a learning library backed by a learning management system. A learning library is a relatively inexpensive way to provide employees with access to approved content on external sites. By ensuring resources are organized, accessible and easily searchable, learners can find the information they need when they need it most.

Connect Personal Development to Company Goals

Employees want to see how training will help them improve their current skills and lead to new career opportunities. Showing employees how their role ties to the organization’s strategic goals can broaden an employee’s perspective and create more engagement in their job. This transparency will motivate employees to take training seriously when they can connect the training to current and future benefits.

Make Access to Training a Core Company Benefit

Employees want to learn but squeezing another item on their already full to-do list is overwhelming. Even if they manage to set aside one hour between two time-sensitive meetings, the likelihood they will be able to concentrate and absorb the content is slim. The speed of work is increasing and technology is accelerating the amount of work that can be squeezed into a standard 40-hour work week. Managers must advocate for their employees by helping them make time for learning.

Prioritizing learning can help retain and attract new talent in today’s competitive business environment. L&D can play an integral role in championing employee development and ensuring the continuous flow of learning to meet the needs of employees across the business.