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A strategic approach for investing in employee learning and development programs

Learn how to strategically invest in Lifestyle Spending Accounts with learning and development programs that drive workforce and business growth.

 Min Read 

The importance of learning and development programs

Employees want more than a paycheck and when a company invests in its workforce - more specifically their learning and development, it reaps myriad benefits. Most employees have a desire for continued learning in order to improve the skills they already have, add new ones, and advance their careers. According to Metlife’s 20th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trend study, employees that are satisfied with their company’s career and development training are 1.7x more likely to stay at the organization. What’s more, 46% of employees noted an employer known for strong employee learning and development programs as a must-have in accepting a new role.

Many companies already realize the value of investing in employee growth. Motivated and engaged employees lead to higher productivity levels, creating a return on investment for both the organization and its workforce. 

In fact, learning and development programs prove a top offering by earning a high ranked position - coming in fourth out of the eighteen - among most popular account types with 15% of customers offering L&D accounts.
- Forma’s 2022 Lifestyle Spending Accounts (LSA) benchmark report 

Not surprisingly, employer-sponsored programs that lack professional development programs can be problematic. As noted in a recent Work Institute's Retention Report, career issues—among them the lack of employee growth opportunities—as the most common reason for turnover. 

The benefits of investing in employee growth are clear, but what steps should an organization take toward these initiatives? Which initiatives will prove most effective? This blog provides actionable steps HR leaders can take to deliver learning and development programs relevant and impactful to employees and employers alike. 

Approaches for employee learning and development programs 

There are a variety of factors to take into account when building a successful learning and development program. Going beyond the table stakes like onboarding and orientation programs which are essential, consider what would be meaningful to employees in their professional goals and drive the business objectives forward. It’s important to keep workforce and enterprise goals top of mind. Prioritize programs that support and demonstrate growth for both employees and the enterprise. 

Three common types of learning and development programs are: 

1. Company training

Traditionally, companies have opted for coaching and mentoring programs, online courses, and company-sponsored seminars, among others. These programs often lead down a predetermined path. Calling on the traditional is beneficial for enterprises looking to offer company-specific initiatives and advance certain skills. When presented as such, company-sponsored learning and development programs can deliver impactful results for employers as employees grow skills and increase productivity.

2. Technical skills

Another tactic is to provide programs anchored to the workforce itself and each respective discipline. For example, giving employees the ability to grow their skills in their field provides the opportunity for them to expand their knowledge and the business to reap the benefits which can be a win-win.

3. Soft skills

Another aspect of employee growth involves developing soft skills among your team members. Soft skills might include networking, time management, critical/creative thinking, conflict resolution, teamwork—the list goes on, with each of these skills playing a role in the hard decisions they'll make throughout their career.

Soft skill development often bolsters interpersonal communication—arguably the pillar of all business growth. However, interpersonal communication skills also play an essential role in our day-to-day lives. By honing those skills at work, team members can leverage them outside the office as well.

Taking a holistic approach to learning and development programs

For companies that invest in learning and development, a well-designed Lifestyle Spending Account (LSA) program provides an optimal structure that allows employees to choose which options are best for them. Employees are more likely to invest the energy and time needed for true development when they feel like they're in charge of their continued education. You can give your team members this autonomy to hand-select educational and training options meaningful to them and their individual goals. For example, some may opt for one-on-one career coaching while others enroll in university courses to pursue an advanced degree. 

Modern LSAs are also agile enough to keep up with employee growth as team members move through different development stages. Rather than a static solution, benefit spending accounts flex to fit the needs of each individual as they develop and change. In the end, organizations that show they value their team members through employee growth initiatives instill a sense of company-wide trust. Employees who trust their higher-ups feel more satisfied in their positions—and thus are more engaged.

To create an individualized development plan, it's crucial to gather input from employees, understand their learning styles and goals, and encourage them to use the learning and development programs in ways that are right for them. By diving into their professional goals, current strengths, and potential weaknesses, companies can help employees determine which areas they'd like to improve and identify appropriate and beneficial opportunities.

Build and foster a strong workforce with Forma

Investing in employee growth is one of the best financial decisions any business leader can make. The positive benefits greatly outweigh the cost, resulting in a return on investment that should appease even the most stringent of CFOs. Lifestyle Spending Accounts designed for professional development and continued education can take those initiatives even further. Forma's comprehensive employee spending account platform can help.

A holistic LSA program is both flexible and customizable. The program could offer endless options beyond learning and development, including health and wellness offerings to family care, mental health needs, pet care, adoption assistance, neurocognitive support, and much more. In essence, HR leaders and administrators design an LSA program by selecting a variety of options relevant to their employees. 

With Forma, employees have autonomy over their L&D initiatives and overall well-being. They can leverage a pre-vetted vendor marketplace to build an LSA package that works for them. Meanwhile, employers can choose from a variety of ready-to-run benefits programs that parallel their L&D plans. 

Get in touch with Forma today to get the most out of your employee growth initiatives.