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12 Reasons Why Learning and Development (L&D) Matters — Now More Than Ever!

Education is the reason we develop as a species. It helps us to make major advances in important areas, like medicine and technology. For many, it removes boundaries and opens the door to new opportunities. No matter how tough the world gets, we will always need education. The learning and development (L&D) function within an organisation is the vehicle that delivers education within a business setting. 

So if you’re in L&D, we want you to know that your work matters. There’s also plenty to feel optimistic about. 

Still unconvinced? Just wait till you’ve read through this article! We’ll be going through twelve of the most important reasons why L&D is so essential. Let’s get started!

The Importance of Learning and Development

The Importance of Learning and Development

Only 12% of the world’s population could read in 1820. As you can imagine, that number has improved significantly since then. Nowadays, at least 86.3% of adults over 25 are literate. 

A lot of things transpired to make this happen. The industrial revolution, motorcars, trains, the telephone, the internal combustion engine, photography and electricity. The list goes on (and on and on)!

In fact, the technological advancements we’ve seen in the last few decades alone have had an immense impact on literacy rates. Over the last 65 years, the literacy rate increased 4% every five years! 

The corporate world is facing a similarly seismic shift. After all, we face a looming skills gap, digital transformation, increased regulation and all manner of other obstacles. Your role as a learning practitioner has never been more important. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few more reasons why L&D is now an essential business force.

1. In a Changing World, Learning and Development Keeps Employees Up to Date

There are over 250 listed channels dedicated to 24-hour news worldwide. This doesn’t include dedicated sports, business and weather news channels. The point is, our thirst for keeping updated with current affairs is as high as ever.

It’s no different when it comes to the industries we work in and, in particular, our own companies. Keeping your employees in the loop is vital. After all, 85% of employees feel more motivated when they receive regular updates. 

Additionally, in a survey of 244 workers, a whopping 80% said that great communication is key to building trust with their employers. 

Learning management systems (LMS) supply the communication tools needed in order to keep employees and management up to date with all the latest happenings. 

According to McKinsey, teams that use social technologies see improved productivity rates of 20-25%.

2. Learning & Development Inspires Employees to Learn More

A big chunk of L&D focus involves ensuring that employees keep learning after they’ve been onboarded. After all, learning is a journey of continuous improvement.

Learning & Development Inspires Employees to Learn More

An LMS allows admins to keep a huge learning library, where you can create and upload content daily. 

Learners are able to come in and select some of the content they want to go over. This allows them to feel autonomy, which is one of the key components of Self-Determination Theory.

Consequently, learners feel a lot more in control of their learning journeys. This encourages them to engage much more with their learning programme. 

Studies show that sustained engagement with an activity improves cognitive function and enhances memory!

Lastly, admins can also encourage learners to continue learning by using the social features included within their learning technology.

3. Learning & Development Attracts Top Talent

Investing in learning and development has a flood of positive outcomes. 

One particular benefit is that your organisation will attract better talent. A prospect is much more likely to join your company if you have a strong focus on employee development. 

After all, why would someone want to invest in a company that fails to invest in them? It’s a two-way street!

Did you know that 87% of millennials say that personal development or career growth opportunities are important to them? And the evidence doesn’t stop there::

  • 59% of millennials maintain that development opportunities are key when deciding to apply to a new position.
  • Employees that have access to development opportunities are 15% more engaged.
  • Companies that offer great development opportunities boast a 34% higher retention rate than those that don’t.

In conclusion, it’s incredibly important that you put the right learning and development tools in place. That’s just one of the reasons why your role is so valuable!

4. Learning & Development Keeps Remote Companies Together

Modern learning management systems and learning apps provide a sense of unity, even when you’re not together. Why’s this relevant? Well, over the last decade, the amount of people working remotely has grown over 400%

Learning & Development Keeps Remote Companies Together

The global pandemic has only served to accelerate the rise of remote working. In a recent survey of 25,000 US employees, a staggering 87% have embraced the opportunity to work remotely. 

With a worldwide general shift to remote working, learning and development teams will be the glue holding companies together. It’s your job to facilitate continued seamless communication and collaboration between colleagues.

A NextGen LMS or a mobile learning app builds a sense of community by allowing your teams to interact freely and share their knowledge. 

With Growth Engineering Learning App, learners can keep in touch anytime, anywhere. You can even take advantage of mobile features like push notifications. These allow learners to be notified when new content is released or when there’s an exciting conversation for them to jump into.

Social learning has amazing benefits. For example, it can increase course completion rates by 85%. It can also increase productivity by 30% due to increased collaboration and correspondence.

5. Learning & Development Reinforces Organisational Culture

Organisational culture is at the heart of every company. A whopping 94% of executives believe that company culture helps them to win out over their competition. Likewise, 88% of employees think that a great company culture is essential for business success. 

Modern learning technologies don’t just focus on learning content. They also put a strong emphasis on the social side of things. Social Clubs, Live Chat features and an Expert Area can help to breathe life into your learning management system.

You can even create certain Clubs that are tailored to maintaining your company culture. For example, you could create a social stream focused on your company values.

You could also host company-wide events via live streaming. On Growth Engineering Learning App, you can hit the ‘go live’ button and start the company Christmas party in no time! 

We’ve got a bunch more tips (seventeen to be exact) on how to keep organisational culture alive using online learning technology. Head here to read them!

6. Learning & Development Reinforces Business Values

As they grow bigger, lots of companies sway from their initial organisational values. An important part of L&D’s role in any business is to remind management and employees about these values and the philosophy behind them. 

After all, if you stray too far away from what makes you special, things can start to crumble.

Learning & Development Reinforces Business Values

For instance, 73% of employees who report working for a purpose-driven company are engaged in their work. On the other hand, only 23% of employees are engaged at companies without an obvious purpose. 

L&D can help reinforce your core values by giving employees a chance to learn about them and then demonstrate them.

For example, Growth Engineering’s core values are to Be Kind, Be Bold and Be Responsible. We encourage our teams to live these values by ensuring they are rewarded via gamification

Gamification is the use of game mechanics in a non-gaming environment. We reward learners with Experience Points (XP), virtual Badges and movement on our Leaderboard so they can see themselves climb up the ranks. 

When a learner has done something that really reflects one of our values, they’re rewarded with a specially designed badge. They can then proudly display their badge of honour across social media!’

7. Learning & Development Encourages (Healthy) Competition

Fostering competition between employees can be a great way to produce effective results. 

However, it’s your job as the learning and development team to ensure that the competition remains wholesome. When allowed to grow out of control, competition can turn into workplace conflict and discouragement.

Battles are a learning asset unique to Growth Engineering. Battles pitch learners against each other in a virtual environment in order to see who knows the most about a topic. 

Harvard Business School found that competition between colleagues is great for drawing creativity and excitement out of employees. Additionally, studies show that competition can improve productivity and employee motivation.

Employees can also earn XP for completing learning objectives. The results can then be placed on a leaderboard visible to all learners. That’s where the real competition starts! 

8. Lifelong Learning is Becoming More Important

Albert Einstein once famously said: ‘Once you stop learning, you start dying.’ We wholeheartedly agree with him. Lifelong learning has a mountain of advantages.

A study by the University of California revealed that learning keeps your brain healthy and sharp. It’s amazing for improving your brain connectivity and cognitive skills.

As the human lifespan is increasing globally, this is something that is becoming crucial to us all. Therefore, as a learning and development leader, your role in encouraging learning has become increasingly important.

Creating new neural pathways helps your brain to remain fit and healthy. In fact, research has revealed that ‘brainy’ tasks like crosswords and games create new connections between nerve cells. They can even help the brain generate new cells. 

With Growth Engineering Authoring Tool, you have access to a wide variety of game templates. Users can play these games to test their knowledge and improve their learning. It’s education and fun mixed into one!

This all helps to build up your neural plasticity, which is important for keeping your brain healthy and diseases at bay. 

9. Learning & Development Enables Better Futures

Amongst many other things, education opens your mind up to new ways of thinking. It contributes to a society being geopolitically stable and leads to economic growth.

That aside, think about your creative heroes. Robert De Niro would have been terrible in Taxi Driver and Raging Bull without his acting education!

We wouldn’t be making a worldwide effort to rid the oceans of plastic, if it wasn’t for David Attenborough educating us about why this is important (otherwise known as The Attenborough Effect). Education creates inspiration.

Research shows that access to better education increases the likelihood of securing work and increases your earning potential. As a learning and development leader, you need to provide learning content that helps to level the playing field.

It also helps support better futures in a different way. Recently, the scope of learning and development has widened. It now includes supporting employee wellbeing and mental health at work. 

Consequently, you need to equip your employees with soft skills to help support their emotional wellbeing. Did you know one in five employees feel they can’t share that they’re stressed with their boss? 

You can create courses designed for this or set up therapists with their own profiles on your learning platform. The method is up to you, it’s just important that it’s done!

10. Learning & Development Inspires Others to Learn Too

If a colleague prospers and develops in their career, this in turn can inspire others to do the same. As a species, we tend to think a goal is unachievable until it’s actually been achieved.

Learning & Development Inspires Others to Learn Too

Take Roger Bannister, who was the first man to run a mile in under four minutes. Everyone said this was an impossible feat until it actually happened. Once that mental barrier had been removed, others then went on to equal or improve upon Roger’s time. 

By using your learning platform to celebrate accomplishments, L&D can be used to inspire others to achieve greatness too. To ease this process along, you need to develop and maintain a knowledge-sharing culture

A knowledge-sharing culture is: ‘a corporate culture which encourages and enables the free exchange of knowledge, insight and experience in order to benefit individuals and drive a business toward key strategic goals.’

Knowledge-sharing cultures are important as they encourage everyone to keep up with their learning. They also have business benefits such as an increased competitive edge and cost savings. In fact, it saves Fortune 500 companies $31.5 billion a year!

11. Learning & Development Helps Facilitate Great Innovation

Curiosity and necessity have inspired us to do great things in the world. Without these twin pillars of inspiration, we wouldn’t have cures and vaccines for diseases. We wouldn’t have put a man on the moon and we wouldn’t have invented rock ‘n roll!

We can wrap all this up in one word: innovation.

So what is L&D’s role in innovation? Innovation relies on collaboration, steep learning-curves, troubleshooting, constant tweaking, mentoring, testing and launching. Your role in this as a learning and development leader is to provide the space for innovation to take place.

eLearning Industry found that companies that invest in learning and development are 59% more likely to experience growth and be 27% more cost-efficient. They also consistently report higher learner engagement, lower turnover, and better leadership scores.

With an online learning platform, employees can use their social learning tools to collaborate and bounce ideas off each other.

This can reduce time from idea conception to when it’s available for consumption by 20%. It can also increase successful innovation by 15%!

12. The Upskilling and Reskilling Revolution

Every December, Mariah Carey rises to the top of the charts. Similarly, every time a new L&D Global Sentiment Survey is released, reskilling/upskilling takes pole position.

Each year, respondents are asked what they think will be hot in workplace L&D over the following 12 months. A focus on skills remains consistent.

What does that mean for learning and development leaders? 

Well for starters, you need to commit more time and money to ensuring your training programme has a skills focus. 

You also need to clearly map what skills are required for specific roles within your organisation. Then you need to provide visibility of this so you learners can make informed decisions. 

This is important. 74% of employees that don’t receive reskilling or upskilling training are likely to go work for a company that provides better learning opportunities. 

Supplying this kind of training has other business benefits too. Besides increased retention and engagement, 75% of skills-focused companies experience better profitability and performance.

Final Words

Being a learning and development professional isn’t easy. Particularly in today’s modern work environment. You have to create learning programmes, facilitate remote learning, boost your organisational culture and more. 

But you can stand proud in the knowledge that you are making a difference in the world.

Without your hard work, your organisation and the world at large would be a worse place. And for that, we salute you!

Make sure you have all you need to train your team. Download our whitepaper, 150 Learner Engagement Tips, below today!

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