Employees everywhere are quitting their jobs in favor of a more stable, quiet life away from the busy city. That includes their careers. After a year of lockdowns and disruptions, your people are reassessing their lives and what’s important. That’s where learning and development (L&D) can come in (yes, really!).
Training impacts careers and corporate budgets
Employees are quitting their jobs while seeking careers
Article after article has noted how the realities of burnout and exhaustion are setting in. Some organizations are shifting their policies while others shift their work weeks, schedules, locations, and more. Still others are introducing new benefits and paternalistic attitudes toward their people.
Quieter “exurbs” like Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Asheville, North Carolina; and Northwest Arkansas have exploded in growth as workers seek stability. Employees want stability not only in their local communities but also in their careers, a space (real and psychological) to build a family.
This trend has been buttressed and accelerated by longstanding movements in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, especially if you include diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) efforts to support marginalized groups in leadership and women- and minority-owned businesses. In short, employees crave employers who take stands on social issues.
Over the last few years, Deloitte’s Millennial Leadership Surveys have quantified these trends among younger workers. The 2021 report is no exception. It should be no surprise that young workers are passionate about inequality, climate change, and diversity and inclusion.
L&D initiatives and communication training opportunities offer these urban expats the career growth they want and the talent retention organization’s need.
In response to these trends, L&D budgets and investment have exploded
Because employees want a career path, smart leaders know that the key to recruiting and retention lies in the organization’s emphasis on training. Innovative firms have taken note: Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and others have in recent years invested millions in training programs. And the 2021 LinkedIn Learning report highlights how L&D has gained a long-term, strategic seat at the executive table. As a result, L&D leaders expect their budgets to grow.
Since our founding, but definitely in the last year, we’ve become even more convinced of one crucial truth: Better training = better talent.
Whether your company is now letting you work from home or giving you mental health days (or weeks, as Nike did recently), providing training opportunities is how to capture talent that is excited about their professional development and invest in existing employees to keep them around. Training is not just for high potential employees either. It’s for all roles and levels within the organization, as well as across industries, geographies, and more.
But why is this the case?
Communication training gives employees the stable careers they want, and employers the top talent they
With all this investment in training programs, learning leaders may think they should concentrate their budgets on tech skills. And yes, there is some truth to this. Basic digital skills are table stakes for the modern workforce, especially after “Reskilling Revolution” the has begun. Yet, as McKinsey and others have noted earlier this year, the skills employees really need are more soft skills like leadership, empathy, resilience, and interpersonal skills. Even in this group, there’s a skill set that can impact every single person in the enterprise that goes often overlooked: communication.
Communication is essential in business. Though it may be hard to quantify, you know how crucial it can be. Some research, however, from an MIT study on factory workers to career advice at the CFA Institute to plain-language contracts at GE, has proven the value of soft skills and effective communication time and time again.
Ambitious employees know that this value compounds over time. As they seek the stable careers and growth mentioned earlier, they need and want communication training to support their efforts.
How does communication training help?
Communication training increases efficiency by increasing clarity
You’ve experienced a poorly worded email or cluttered presentation with an inarticulate speaker. In those moments you waste precious time deciphering the “So what?” or the big idea or the what-the-heck-does-this-have-to-do-with-me. You may have been distracted by the superfluous numbers haphazardly strewn all over the slides.
We often slap together our paragraphs and presentations because we don’t have time to “do it right.” But this thinking unfortunately creates even more wasted time later. You’ll need follow-up meetings, addenda, and time to edit and clarify the first drafts.
You’re not alone. Many leaders we talk to bemoan the hours spent editing emails and presentations. Here are a few quotes that may resonate with you:
“I find quite a few of my IT teams are good at managing execution, but very poor at putting together compelling presentations. I find myself spending hours coaching them, or making drastic edits to slides slide by slide even reorganizing the talk-track… You understand my pain.”
“I have five million things to do. I don’t have time to spend 20 hours editing and re-editing this PowerPoint deck, but I know it needs to be good, so I need to know how to do it better so I can do it faster.”
We are not marketers. We are not good at presenting our story and simplifying the message for the audience. We are really good at slapping up Excel spreadsheets and cutting and pasting them into PowerPoint slides and expecting everybody to follow along because it’s the world we live in.”
What if you could train your teams to get to the point quickly, use one stat to support the point, and give actionable takeaways for your leaders? How much time would that save you in a week?
The difficulty with saving time by writing and presenting more clearly is that, ironically, it often requires time to be succinct and compelling. Your teams need to learn how to write and edit quickly, which is a learned skill. Like that famous (paraphrased) quote from Blaise Pascal, “I would have written you a shorter letter if I had the time.”
But there’s another quote from the military that comes to mind when thinking about communication and efficiency: “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” If you and your teams take a little time at the beginning to refine the ideas in your email, talk, or presentation, you’ll find that this creates much more efficiency down the road.
Communication training is a win-win
By creating compelling, clear documents, your young, career-oriented workers will begin to gain the trust and confidence of executives in your organization. They’ll be seen as leaders, as peers by those who know the value of good communication. They’ll be on the fast-track toward a brighter future.
The organization, in turn, gains a crop of workers who increasingly see themselves as the future of the firm. You’ll gain productivity as well as long-term success plans, having retained top talent for years to come.
This may sound like a stretch, but we’ve seen this progression develop again and again. It’s a win-win for organizations and employees who want to grow in an increasingly competitive world.