Talent development is taking on an evermore critical role for organisations across most sectors and industries. Employees are becoming increasingly motivated and driven by the idea of upskilling and overall professional development. Likewise, HR departments are progressively building L&D (Learning & Development) into the core of their company, placing emphasis on continual professional development and even using it as a decision-making tool for internal promotions.
According to the 2019 L&D report compiled by findcourses.co.uk, organisations looking to make it to the top of their industries agreed for the need to increase their L&D budget. 41% of market challengers predicted an L&D budget increase. Undoubtedly companies believe that keeping up with the learning curve can give an edge over their competition. Market leaders are 72% most likely to be already using talent development as a part of their recruitment strategy. So, just what makes L&D so important in the recruitment process? And why should you build it into yours?
Creating Lifelong Professional Development
Producing an effective L&D strategy takes time and in-depth knowledge of your organisation, the people in it and how they work and collaborate. Chances are if you have been leading your team for a while, you already have this information at your fingertips. Think about the skills that already exist in your team.
Maybe you want to teach your team how to use a new software program? One of your team members may already have these skills. Asking them to lead a session can boost morale and team cohesiveness as the trainees are already familiar with their trainer. Of course, bring in outside training for more comprehensive skills training, like leadership and communication skills.
Personal Development in L&D
You can also add an element of fun to L&D. Does one of your team enjoy yoga? Does one of your team have an additional language? If so, why not ask them to lead a course for their colleagues. A good L&D strategy also considers personal as well as professional development.
Having your team relax all together during a yoga or meditation class can help them get to know each other a little better outside of a work environment, which is also great for team building! A more casual L&D environment would allow you to bring your team’s hidden talents to the fore.
Maybe one of your team enjoys HIIT (High-intensity interval training) workouts? If so, ask them to teach a class to round-out a busy Friday. If one of your team is a bookworm, ask them to deliver a creative writing workshop. If one of your team members has an additional language, ask them to deliver a 101 course in that language.
By bringing personal development into L&D, you can even boost employee wellbeing. Organisations that do this are 22% more likely to have highly satisfied staff. Naturally, high rates of satisfaction among existing staff members tend to act as a draw for strong applicants.
Why Build L&D into Your Recruitment Process?
Applicants to your vacancies usually have the relevant hard skills which are in-demand and required for the role. But they may lack some of the soft skills needed to round out your team. We all know that no candidate is perfect and there is always room to learn. The trick is to plug these skill gaps. Soft skills, like customer service or interpersonal skills, are vital to an organisation.
New talent, particularly younger employees and fresh graduates, actively want to learn and upskill. The days of jobs for life with only a highly specific skill set are gone. The workforce of tomorrow has embraced this new normal. Workers want to have as broad a skills set as possible, with continual growth and development being a significant draw for applicants.
By placing talent development at the heart of your recruitment process and then putting an ongoing emphasis on upskilling, you can ensure that all of your team, whether they have been with you for a day or a decade, are continually learning and developing. By doing this, you can build an L&D strategy that, far from being tokenistic, truly helps shape, develop and grow both your team and your organisation.
Using L&D as a Selling Point
Aside from being an incentive for applicants, and stronger applicants, a great L&D program can also be used as a selling point.
If you are actively looking to upscale your business and your team, drive home the strength of your L&D policy. You can do this by actively putting it front and centre of any job adverts that you might create. You can also advertise it in the ‘Careers’ section of your website. It can be as much of an incentive as a good health insurance program or flexible leave.
Beyond attracting strong candidates, it can also strengthen your organisation’s position in the market. 88% of consumers prefer companies that appear nice and who seek to make a difference with their reach. By demonstrating your strong L&D program, your organisation can project the message that it cares about its workers and does not see them as worker bees.
How to Build L&D into Your Recruitment Process
Building L&D into your recruitment process takes time. But once you have an effective L&D policy in place and are actively using it as part of your public image, then you can begin to build it into your organisation’s recruitment process.
First and foremost, ask applicants to clearly state in their application what they most hope to get out of your policy. Their expectation can help you see if they might be a good match for your organisation, as useful as insight as to their educational background or work experience.
Once you have a shortlist of applicants that you want to take forward to a second interview, invite them to an L&D session. Whatever the training might be, be it software, communication or leadership skills, invite them along.
In that session, you can get a sense of how they interact with others, how well and quickly they learn, whether they contribute well and how good of a fit they are for your team and your organisation.
It will also give the person whom you ultimately hire the chance to meet the team before their first day as well as see if your organisation is right for them. They also get to see your L&D program in action and see firsthand how it could be of benefit to them and their career goals.
The Main Points
Organisations are building their L&D strategy, not just into their recruitment process, but also their internal structures by using it as a promotional tool. A great L&D plan should build on existing skills within your team, but also bring in external trainers and influences. L&D can even take on a pivotal role by plugging any skills gaps that your applicants might have. A team that is upskilled and developing right from recruitment is more likely to be a cohesive team with better morale. Remember, an energised team is one that will deliver better results and will help to grow your organisation and strengthen your position within your market.
About the Writer
Luke Sandford is a writer and content producer at Educations Media Group. Currently based in Lund, he is originally from the UK and graduated from Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2018 with a BA in Education. He has since written for several outlets and has worked as an English teacher, both at home and abroad. Luke's passion for travelling and experiencing new cultures directly impacts his work as he seeks to create engaging, informative and useful content for a wide audience.