Making Training a Desired Perk for Employees
What do you imagine when you hear the phrase “work perk”?
Do you see a plush corner office? A reserved parking spot? How about a flight on the corporate jet?
These are all pretty traditional examples of work perks. (Can’t you just picture Don Draper making his case for a better office or a company car?) But in recent years, we’ve begun to see a significant shift in the types of “work perks” that companies offer.
As the labor market tightens, companies are more incentivized than ever to offer perks that resonate with and motivate the modern employee. And we’re not just talking about free food, comfy lounges and valet parking à la Google and Facebook. In today’s economy, where we have more than seven million jobs unfilled and the average American changes jobs every 4.2 years (2.8 for Millennials), the most successful organizations are those that provide perks that deepen employee job satisfaction and engagement, and encourage employees to stay on the job longer.
So what works?
What do employees really want?
It turns out, that employees want to feel respected. They want their work to be meaningful. And they want the support of their organization to plot their careers and build the skills to land that “next level” job. In fact, a report from IBM demonstrates that employees who do not feel that they’re developing in a company are 12x more likely to leave it. The modern employee doesn’t just want free food and an on-site gym, they want to feel connected – they want to be a part of a culture where they can “belong”.
“Amid growing divisiveness and stridency in public life, a sense of belonging at the office will be increasingly prized by employees, and a crucial condition for fostering innovation.” – Why Work Perks No Longer Cut it For Workers
Against these benchmarks, employers are falling short:
- 82% of employees say lifelong learning is important, but nearly 40% report their employers don’t provide for upskilling opportunities
- 27% of Americans say they “don’t have a good sense of their career path,” and about a quarter feel as though they’re “on a treadmill going nowhere”
- 61% of employees say their employer offers development opportunities for career and soft skills they’ll need in the future, but roughly half don’t have access to career development activities sufficient for advancement
- Only about 1/3 of traditional workers feel a sense of belonging in the workplace
One of the clearest ways for companies to address “work perk” wants is by developing a culture of learning. As we’ve written about before, cultures of learning:
Support Learning & Career Development
Learning cultures support employees in seeking out and developing skills that are necessary for their desired career paths. By democratizing learning and making it accessible on demand (rather than through set training events), organizations with strong learning cultures can broaden the opportunities and desire for upskilling and continual employee development.
Are Built for Adult Learning
Learning cultures leverage principles of andragogy (pedagogy’s older sibling) to make training a more positive experience that’s viewed as relevant and valuable in the eyes of employees. Learning cultures honor the experience and knowledge that employees already have. They also give employees more autonomy over their learning – letting them choose learning topics, learn at their own pace, pop in and out of learning at their convenience and even select the modality of the learning they want to engage with. All this nurtures a culture of personal responsibility and respect and communicates to employees: “You are valued.” Research shows that when employees feel valued and invested in, they’re more productive and loyal.
Are Performance Enhancing
Learning cultures improve organizational and personal performance by encouraging skill mastery – offering employees opportunities to practice skills and develop greater confidence. As a result, employees are more likely to accurately apply the training and skills accurately on the job.
“Companies that rank in the top 10% in engaging their employees, including giving them the training and encouragement to do their best work and imbuing it with a sense of purpose, posted profit gains of 26% through the last recession, compared with a 14% decline at comparable employers.” – Why Work Perks No Longer Cut it For Workers
Developing a strong learning culture helps organizations check off against a lot of new the “work perks” that employees want and employers need to hire, develop talent that will give them a competitive advantage. Check out more about how we define a learning culture. Then read our tips for building one within your organization.