Even as the job market tightens and the Great Resignation wanes, employee retention remains a top priority for business leaders—and therefore for learning leaders. Other key issues include aligning learning programs with business goals, upskilling, and creating a learning culture, according to the 2023 LinkedIn Learning Workplace Learning Report.

Astute learning leaders may well point out that upskilling and the creation and nurturing of a learning culture are critical elements in retaining top-performing workers; a frequently cited reason people leave their jobs is lack of advancement and growth opportunities. And research by Workstep has consistently identified this as the number-one reason for turnover.

Creative thinking on career growth & development

Career growth takes many directions, not only upward, which is where continuous learning and upskilling enter the picture. Workers who feel that they are growing within their roles, taking on new and challenging projects, and learning new skills may feel that their professional growth is on track—even without a promotion.

And companies that offer internal mobility, including lateral moves, are not only more agile and better-equipped to respond to challenges and leverage opportunities—they also retain workers longer, according to the LinkedIn Learning report.

Companies that prioritize learning, foster a culture of continuous learning, and proactively upskill employees send a message to workers that they are valued and the company is willing to invest in them. These employees are well-equipped to move to new roles within the company or expand their existing roles.

In Promotions Are So Yesterday, author Julie Winkle Giulioni encourages looking beyond promotions to a broader understanding of career development and success, describing an “additional seven elements that are even more interesting to employees than the traditional climb.” These are:

  • Desire to make a contribution—add value, take greater ownership, align with their purpose
  • Intentional development of competence—skills, knowledge, and capabilities that ensure continued relevance and improved effectiveness
  • Ability to expand and deepen connection and cultivate a sense of community
  • Building confidence through authentic understanding of and appreciation for their abilities and limitations
  • Opportunities for challenge that allow them to “step up, step out, and step into” new, different, and difficult situations
  • A sense of contentment nurtured by finding satisfaction and pleasure in their role
  • The ability to exercise choice through autonomy, independence, and flexibility around their work

Focus on the skills your business needs most

The LinkedIn Learning report identifies the tops skills in demand—and accompanies this with both more nuanced skills lists by industry and advice to align learning strategy with business goals. One possible translation: Focus on development of the skills your industry and, in particular, your specific organization, needs most to develop and hone.

Human skills remain in high demand, with management and communication topping the list; leadership skills are at number four, with customer service skills at three. Teamwork rounds out the top ten. Management skills are in the top two for every industry-specific list except engineering, suggesting that a lack of management training is worsening issues, such as high turnover, that have become widespread.

Focusing on developing these in-demand skills can help employees grow professionally, ensure that your company has the skilled professionals and leaders it needs now and into the future, and improve organizational culture and performance.

And don’t neglect your L&D team members; enabling your team to develop and to master and practice their human skills as well as their technical skills empowers them to implement more effective learning throughout the organization.

Explore learning leaders’ priorities—and discover solutions

The Learning Guild is a key partner in your career development and growth as a leader or manager. The upcoming Learning Leaders Online Forum, March 15–16, 2023, is the place to explore leadership strategies and skills, network with other learning leaders, and dive into discussions around key leadership and L&D priorities. Join sessions and conversations that examine emerging tech or team building; learn to “think like a business”; or explore change management, strategic relationships—and more. Register today for two jam-packed days filled with interactive sessions, networking opportunities, and hands-on activities that will provide the inspiration you need to solve your leadership challenges.

The Learning Guild’s Alliance Membership package includes access to exclusive digital events—like the winter Forum—and content curated for today’s modern learning leader, as well as opportunities to attend in-person learning leadership events held around the globe. Join today and learn from the experts, network with peers, and explore emerging issues.