By Jackie Carroll
The workplace is not what it once was. The pandemic accelerated shifts that were already gaining traction and, today, working environments are defined by increasingly hybrid arrangements, greater mobility and non-linear career shifts. Of course, these changes are also being accompanied by accelerated digital transformation and the rise of automation.
According to Microsoft’s recent Work Trend Index, which surveyed 30,000 people in 31 countries, 52% of Gen Z and millennials said they are likely to look for a new job within the next year. The world over, employees are reconsidering their work and making dramatic decisions to create the lives and lifestyles they want.
The Great Reshuffle that the pandemic precipitated, Microsoft says, is far from over. The effect of this from a human capital perspective is enormous. In the post-pandemic world, businesses are having to try harder than ever to attract and retain quality talent. If they don’t, they’re likely to lose the people they need in order to be competitive and successful.
As 2022 draws to a close and we start looking ahead to a brighter new year for our careers and businesses, it’s time to look at the role of workplace education as a valuable employee attraction and retention tool.
Why workplace education matters
If your business is going to be on the receiving end of the Great Reshuffle – drawing high-quality talent in rather than pushing it away – you need to be prioritising employee empowerment. And empowering your employees begins with improving their knowledge and skills, and putting their career trajectories first.
Implementing education programmes successfully demands a thorough understanding of your workforce. You need to cater to everyone’s unique levels of interest and ability, while being conscious of their future goals. Doing so not only helps to engender loyalty among employees, but also improves productivity and performance, increases workplace engagement, and nurtures future leaders.
These programmes need to be structured correctly, however. One of the most critical shifts that happened during the pandemic was the move towards more flexible ways of working. The effect of this has been so strong that, even as businesses start to encourage employees to come back to the office, few employees want to lose their newfound independence.
By introducing education and training opportunities that are self-paced, you effectively hit two birds with one stone. Not only are you demonstrating a concerted investment in your employees’ careers, but you’re also acknowledging that they want to be in control of their schedules and time. As you strive to remain relevant, turn your attention to the education of your people. Therein lies your success.
Jackie Carroll is the Managing Director of Optimi Workplace and the co-founder of Media Works, South Africa’s leading provider of adult education and training.