Learning And Development Strategies To Increase Employee Engagement And Retention

Learning And Development Strategies
Summary: Learning and Development is a part of an organization’s talent management strategy and is designed to match an individual's goals and performance with an organization’s general vision and goals. It bridges the skill gaps among the employees and teams by developing and delivering training.

Improve Employees' Skills With An eLearning Program

The current business environment has three significant characteristics. It is swift, demanding, and dynamic. Trying to keep up with this constantly developing business environment, an employee may, more often than not, choose to join an organization that provides better opportunities and returns. The employee yearns for development and benefits and is therefore biased toward the organization that serves the employee’s needs. In this case, what should an organization do to retain employees in the organization, increase employee engagement, and prevent employee turnover?

The primary reason that an employee changes organizations or is dissatisfied with the current organization is that there are fewer development opportunities in the current organization, or the monotonous work. This issue can be resolved by including Learning and Development strategies in the organization. Learning and Development's significant roles vary from attracting and retaining new talent to developing people’s capabilities. Given below is a shortlist of the role that Learning and Development plays in any organization.

A fascinating question that may arise in one’s mind is: Why is Learning and Development significant now more than ever before? According to a 2016 Gallup report, 87% of millennials believe that Learning and Development in the workplace is important, and 59% of millennials consider having opportunities to learn and grow to be extremely important in deciding whether to apply for a job. Apart from this, the process of hiring new talent every time an old employee leaves an organization is much more expensive than implementing Learning and Development to retain current employees.

Learning And Development Strategies

We read above that the process of hiring is costlier compared to employee retention strategies. But what we do not know yet is what these strategies are and how one can use them to retain the employees. Given below are methods/techniques of employee Learning and Development.

Employee Learning Strategies

1. Training

A combination of lectures, videos, podcasts, simulations, and individual or group-based assignments for employee skills development is termed training. Choosing a training approach depends on the significance of the training subject and the organization’s convenience.

Employees must actively participate in the training programs throughout their careers to enhance the skills necessary for their development. Organizations must support employee skill development by conducting adequate and relevant training sessions for the employees. It should be kept in mind that training is suitable for shaping both soft (communication, time management, etc.) and hard (technical) skills of the employee.

2. Coaching

Coaching involves already skilled employees working one-on-one with untrained or new employees. Undergoing coaching can help the employee understand a variety of topics in a short amount of time.

This approach is ideal when an employee is required to learn a particular set of leadership or team management skills. In cases where an employee doesn't require very specific skills, this method can prove extremely time-consuming and result in clone-like knowledge generation. This is because the employee will pick up the same tactics and habits as the older employee.

3. Mentoring

Mentoring is when the senior leaders/management take junior employees under their guidance to help them develop skills that the employees may lack. This approach is undertaken by upper-level roles, like executives or leaders.

This isn't restricted to management. The more skilled employees can mentor the inexperienced ones. It should be undertaken while keeping in mind the time required and availability of experienced employees. It should not hinder their work schedule.

4. Workshops/Working Groups

Workshops or working groups are a chance for an employee to interact with their peers and colleagues. These colleagues/peers can be from within or outside the organization. This allows refined access to other employees’ knowledge and skills at the same level from inside or outside the organization. Workshops prove to be perfect for developing a range of soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, presentation, public speaking, networking, and leadership skills. It can also be used to improve research and analytical skills.

5. Conferences

Conferences are yet another way of sharpening employees' skills by exposing them to outside individuals. At a conference, specific sessions are accessible to increase awareness and training of relevant topics. It is often in a pick-and-choose format that can be of interest/usefulness to particular subgroups within an organization.

Employee Development Strategies

1. Job Rotation

The goal of job rotation is to rotate the tasks and roles to learn something new. This can also be enabled to practice the skills that have already been retained by employees. This is an effortless way to reduce the monotony of the work and create the right employee-job fit.

2. Simulations

One can define simulation as a role-playing activity where the employer enacts scenarios inspired by real-life incidents and asks the employee to handle the situation independently. The circumstances may be regarding customer service interactions, responding to an emergency, etc.

In some organizations, simulations may involve completely virtual worlds where employees can learn skills highly required in a rare, critical setting. It enables the employees to take textbook knowledge and apply it in real life.

3. On-The-Job Development

This is an entirely learning-while-doing situation. This is usually done right after training. The employee understands all the practical implications of the theories learned during the training. This strategy helps the employee become self-dependent and function on their own. This is famous because it saves time and resources that would be used by conducting extra training for all the employees at once.

4. 360-Degree Performance Review

This approach is slightly different from other strategies. The employer takes feedback about the employee from peers, subordinates, external vendors, or supervisors. They then identify the employees’ skills and weaknesses based on such feedback and focus on strengthening the skills that they lack.

5. Career Planning

This is usually considered an "employer-driven" strategy because HR is the one who decides which employee should be appointed to which job. However, employees must be given a chance to suggest alternative future career paths for themselves. Based on such discussions between the employee and the employer, employers can identify which skills need to be improved in the employee or any new employee skills that need to be acquired. They may either suggest the employee attain such skills, or conduct training for the employee to develop such skills.


As the times are changing and companies are employing more fresh, millennial blood in organizations, the necessity of Learning and Development has increased manifold. The organization has to choose between recruiting or retaining employees. The organization has the option of replacing the employees leaving with newer and fresher talent. However, when the company decides that option, it has to incur recruitment and hiring expenses every single time. Recruitment is not an economical process. It is better to retain the existing employees and increase their engagement rather than waste a large amount of money on the recruitment process.