How Learning and Development Can Advance Your Career in a Changing Work Environment


How Learning and Development Can Advance Your Career in a Changing Work Environment

The workplace is constantly evolving, presenting new challenges and opportunities for professional growth. As industries continue to develop, accelerated by new technologies, employees are often required to learn new skills and tools to stay competitive and succeed in their chosen careers. Skill sets for jobs have changed by about 25% since 2015, which is expected to double by 2027. However, while six in ten workers will require training before 2027, only half can access adequate training opportunities or learning and development programs. Companies that consciously make an effort to invest in their employees’ growth can reap the benefits of a skilled, motivated workforce, including higher retention and engagement levels. With positive intervention, the gap in training opportunities can be bridged, leading to a brighter future for both employees and the companies they work for. This article explores the benefits of upskilling for both employers and employees and provides tips on finding and implementing L&D programs. 

The Benefits of Learning and Development 

Upskilling through learning and development initiatives within the workplace provides a clear path to avoiding disruptions as technology evolves. Data from McKinsey suggests that 17 million US workers will see their jobs decrease in demand within the next decade. Solid and relevant internal L&D programs offer a variety of benefits for employees and the organizations they work for. 

Opportunities for Career Growth

Learning and development programs are forms of training that improve employees’ knowledge and skills and can be used to:

  • Advance technical knowledge
  • Develop soft (or human) skills
  • Upskill for specific positions
  • Learn upcoming industry trends

Employees who take advantage of these opportunities have the chance to increase skills related to their current positions and roles they hope to take on in the future.

Potential for Promotions and Increased Income

Interest in upskilling shows employers that you’re invested in your future. This willingness to learn different skills can help employers see you as a team player who is more likely to bring long-term value to the company. As new technologies develop in various industries, employees who show the initiative to learn about these tools can adapt to change more quickly and take on new positions. 

In learning new skills, you may also acquire skills that qualify you for existing roles within the company. Internal promotions are valuable to businesses because leaders are already familiar with current employees’ capabilities and work ethic. 

Save Money on Education

An uncertain economy has many individuals concerned about the potential cost burden of continued education. By participating in a company-sponsored L&D program or seeking other opportunities for personal development, you can gain essential skills without the cost of a traditional college education or use them to enhance your education. 

Improved Recruitment and Retention for Organizations

Providing opportunities for learning and development isn’t only beneficial to employees. It can fuel company growth and ongoing success. According to LinkedIn’s 2023 Workplace Learning Report, 93% of organizations are concerned about employee retention. The same study found that employees who have made an internal move within their companies show a 75% likelihood of staying with the company. 

Additional research shows that a lack of resources and knowledge can be related to many drivers of job dissatisfaction. For instance, a 2023 Gallup report revealed that only 23% of employees feel engaged in their roles. A lack of clarity of expectations and limited materials and equipment were cited as top reasons for workplace disengagement. Moreover, nearly 40% of workers fear their jobs will become obsolete in the next five years. 63% of employees who quit their jobs in 2021 cited no opportunities for advancement.

Learning and development (L&D) programs can address many pain points that cause employees to seek new opportunities. Companies that provide learning opportunities show an interest in their employees’ career goals and signal they’re willing to invest in the future potential of workers. 

Developing Business Agility for a Secure Future

Changing technology, competitive hiring practices and disengaged employees have businesses vying for a competitive place in the market. Companies can offer employees a more secure future by developing a workplace environment that prioritizes learning and internal advancement.

An effective L&D program aligns employee goals with organizational goals and your company culture. It allows employers to address current and potential employee skills gaps and provide training related to specific industry skills. By investing in cross-skilling and upskilling for loyal employees, organizations can prepare to confidently allow these employees to step into leadership roles without extended vacancies or expenses related to additional training. Furthermore, this willingness to invest in employees’ futures can raise workplace morale and increase engagement, helping to prevent turnover. 

Tips to Implement Learning and Development Initiatives

Across all industries, business leaders and employees are aware of the need to develop new skills to stay current and competitive. However, seeing the path to accomplishing these goals can sometimes take work. These tips can help both employees and businesses successfully upskill for the future.

How Businesses Can Adopt Successful L&D Programs

Although employers often believe they’re providing substantial learning opportunities, employees sometimes have differing views. The University of Phoenix Career Institute’s 2022 Career Optimism Index revealed that 88% of employers rate their current L&D programs as good or excellent, but only 59% of employees agree. The 2023 edition of the same study found that 70% of those surveyed stated they would be more likely to stay in their current company throughout their career if their employer gave them more opportunities to apply new skills. Yet 40% of workers said their company never provides specific opportunities to reskill. 

These tips can help businesses create programs that better align with employee needs.

  • Use the career section of your website to promote your company’s opportunities for professional growth. Sharing information about your training and development initiatives can simplify recruitment and provide current employees with easy access to information.
  • Showcase L&D opportunities that offer value now and in the future. You can increase participation rates by helping employees advance their skills in their current positions and develop knowledge that provides advancement opportunities.
  • Consider mentorship programs that allow employees to share valuable information about inter-related departments. Cross-skilling is one way to break down organizational silos and increase employee empowerment and collaboration. Mentorship programs enable employees to learn from each other. 

Tips for Employees Seeking Upskilling Opportunities

The goal of upskilling is to become a more effective worker. Since job requirements are constantly changing, employees often need ongoing education to fill gaps in knowledge or keep up with new industry requirements. Upskilling typically includes learning new hard skills (like using specific software or new technology) and honing soft skills. Try these tips for career-focused self-development:

  • Learn which hard skills are most important in your industry. Many industries are expanding the use of AI and new technologies to automate repetitive tasks. Take the time to research which new skills are most relevant to your career path.
  • Seek low-cost or free learning opportunities. There are many ways to find free learning opportunities online. You can take beginner or more advanced classes on sites like Codecademy or Alison. Some universities also offer open online courses.
  • Ask your employer about available company-sponsored L&D opportunities. Sometimes, companies need to provide employees with more information to pursue available opportunities. Ask supervisors or company leaders about existing L&D programs before seeking courses elsewhere.
  • Consider subscriptions. If you’re interested in taking multiple courses or a career change, you may get more from a subscription with a monthly fee. Companies like LinkedIn Learning and Coursera offer free trials, so you can see if it’s the right option for you.

Taking advantage of learning opportunities can help you achieve your career goals. At Vistatec, we strive to empower our employees in ways that help them accomplish their professional goals. Learn more about our available positions or contact us to learn more.