Why learning and development is a vaccine against Quiet Quitting

Guest post by Adam Coleman, CEO of Lahinch-based HR software solutions provider HRLocker.

You’ve seen the news and heard the new buzzword. Workers are dissatisfied with their jobs and are silently protesting. Unlike The Great Resignation, they’re not leaving their employers in search of better development opportunities. They’re staying – Quiet Quitting is in full swing.

You might think your organisation is immune, but a new poll has found that 40% of Irish workers under 30 say they do the “bare minimum” to fulfil their job description while their pay or job progression remains unchanged. In short, they’re ‘acting their wage’.

But what can companies do to counteract this trend? Would we see more workers happily engage with their work if it always feels fresh and exciting?

Research says yes. According to a recent Work Institute Retention Report, one of the main reasons employees are dissatisfied is a lack of career development. By providing workers with the opportunity to expand their skills, employers can not only energise their best staff but also plug skills gaps in their company with existing talent.

Now, I’m not saying there aren’t more apparent and critical aspects that need addressing if your workforce is currently resigned to doing the bare minimum. In this instance, you need to examine your organisation from top to bottom and reassess your policies and practices. Learning and development aren’t a silver bullet antidote to the Quiet Quitting pandemic.

What I am saying, though, is that as part of a risk mitigation strategy wherein you bolster productivity, providing colleagues with the opportunity to learn, develop, and grow in the workplace is a way of immunising your personnel against Quiet Quitting.

Don’t just pitch these opportunities to existing staff, either. Learning and development is an additional string to your employer value proposition (EVP) bow. Now more than ever, potential recruits are looking for personal growth in their next job. Learning and development is a top priority for Gen Z, the next big demographic to join the jobs market.

Of course, how these initiatives are delivered will depend on your industry, the needs of your staff, and your business goals. Employers should assess their teams’ current skill levels and determine the desired skill level they’d like employees to reach. For example, if you’re a small business rapidly shifting operations to the cloud, your employees’ digital skills are the first thing you’ll want to upgrade.

Consult with your employees to figure out what takes their fancy. If an employee is interested in a lateral move within your company, you’ll want to ensure that training opportunities outside the scope of their regular job are also available.

To reap the full reward of L&D, programs need to be accessible to everyone. Otherwise, you risk alienating members of staff who wish to develop but don’t have the means to. Employers should implement a combination of social learning (learning on the job, through others), on-demand education (resources, apps, and e-learning platforms), and individualised learning (from industry experts in person, via podcasts, and in written formats).

For businesses experiencing uncertainty because of the cost-of-living crisis, looming recession, and a slowdown in investment, digital learning is likely to be the safest bet. Fortunately, it’s also one of the cheapest and most impactful ways of delivering education.

The CIPD 2021 Learning and skills work survey shows that businesses with a sophisticated approach to technology in L&D are more likely to have a supportive learning environment. In turn, this inspires a greater desire for learning and development, enhancing the supportive climate further. One big, beautiful circle of learning and engagement!

The benefits of well-designed and delivered L&D are ample for employers and employees. When teams are equipped with the skills to take on bigger and bolder challenges – like those experienced during the pandemic – leaders can task them with a range of exciting new opportunities that keep their role fresh and inspiring. At the same time, employers future-proof their business by cultivating multi-disciplined employees who are more adaptive to change.

With more skills, employees can engage with a wider variety of work. Co-workers can build strong relationships that transcend training and enhance the working culture through learning initiatives, particularly social ones.

Learning and development offer an inoculation against Quiet Quitting and embrace The Great Upskilling. After all, research shows that a juicy paycheck is no longer the number one priority for employees, especially the younger generation, who prioritise opportunities to develop above the noughts on their salary.

So next time you review your L&D approach, set aside a little more budget. It might be the best investment you make for your current team and future talent.

Curious about the impact of L&D on employee experience? Read the full HRLocker Learning and Development white paper and start building a team fit for the future of work. 

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