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Learning and development in the era of Great Resignation

The current workplace climate calls for an urgent need for companies to future-proof their workforce by building skills in areas that are lacking, as well as attracting and retaining motivated employees.

Gartner’s research suggests that 91 percent of HR leaders are concerned about employee turnover in the coming months. Organisations are facing talent and skills shortages, compounded by rapid workplace transformation and employee expectations, and as lines between work and life continue to blur, employees from entry-level positions up to senior leaders are looking for ways to establish a career path with a focus on personal wellbeing and professional development.

The role of the manager

A recent Gallup survey shows that at least 70 percent of the variance in team engagement is explained by the quality of the manager or team leader, who also play a critical role in how organisations approach learning and development. To enhance engagement and the effectiveness of remote training, organisations today are investing in new technology and delivery formats, however, many underestimate the impact of those who best understand their teams and their development needs – people managers.

HBR research shows that managers are more likely to initiate training than an HR or training professional. They also have an in-depth sense of the skills their team members need to learn and develop, as well as help team members apply their new learnings. In addition, managers can help team members apply what they learned, creating a unique position to drive employee engagement and motivation. And whilst it can be challenging for managers to encourage busy team members to learn something new, having designated space and time for learning in return gives managers the opportunity to plan ahead when encouraging their team members to participate.

The value of learning and development

The World Economic Forum calculated that addressing the pandemic-induced skills gap could result in a GDP uplift of $6.5 trillion by 2030. However, learning and development isn't just about participating in a formal setting. It comes down to education, exposure, and experience, as these can help to take a holistic approach to learning. Because as we know, 70 percent of learning happens through doing, 20 percent through feedback and greater self-awareness gained via interactions with others, and 10 percent through formal training.

Education and training gain the most traction within highly visible development efforts championed by the leadership team, as they motivate people to learn and change, foster immediate improvements and put in place systems that help sustain the learning. Without senior support, learning and development initiatives face the risk of failure, which not only impacts the return on investment but creates resistance and lack of buy-in from employees in the long term.

Upskilling is a vital component of talent retention, attraction, and job satisfaction. With the Great resignation underway, it’s becoming apparent that it’s not just money tempting talent away from their employers – opportunities for career development also play an important role. At Acumen, we pride ourselves in offering development that gives managers practical tools to help solve real-life challenges. We offer an extensive menu of courses, workshops and coaching programmes, ranging from communication skills to executive leadership development. In most cases, we design the interventions specifically for each client, but we also offer a wide range of off-the-shelf programmes for those who prefer this approach. For more information about our programmes please contact Simon at


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