Flexibility in the workplace is a hot trend, and L&D professionals are as eager as their peers in other industries to reap its benefits. That’s just one finding that Jane Bozarth, The eLearning Guild’s research director, highlighted in her 2019 research report on L&D salaries and compensation. Other keys to hiring and retaining the best L&D professionals, whether instructional designers, eLearning developers, or employees with more narrowly focused talents and experience, are described below.
Workers want flexibility
Managers seeking top L&D talent might take a look at what other industries are doing differently. LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends report, released January 28, 2019, found that 72 percent of talent professionals and hiring managers believe that the option for employees to work when and where they’d like is extremely important.
The LinkedIn report saw a 78 percent increase in job posts that mention work flexibility since 2016. And 72 percent of respondents working at software companies were allowed to work remotely sometimes, versus only 43 percent for manufacturing and healthcare—industries where more workers need to be on-site to do their jobs.
Many L&D professionals’ employers are not fully on board with this trend: Bozarth reports that 42 percent of respondents to her 2018 survey were telecommuters. Yet few job postings in the 2019 study even mentioned telecommuting; two that did stated it was not an option.
“Technology has taken work beyond the traditional workplace and office hours—for better, and for worse. In response, employees expect to reclaim their work-life balance through flexibility: the freedom to work where and when they want, within reason,” the LinkedIn report said.
Flexibility might boost more than a company’s chances of hiring the best professionals. A study cited in the Harvard Business Review found that offering employees a work-from-home option reduced turnover by half while increasing productivity by 13 percent. The productivity boost was primarily due to remote workers taking fewer breaks and sick days, but a boost in the productivity per minute worked was also identified, attributed to quieter working conditions at home.
L&D pros seek challenging projects
What else motivates employees to stay in their jobs—or would tempt them to jump ship? Though respondents to the 2018 survey overwhelmingly—90 percent—reported being happy or very happy with their jobs, more than a quarter were looking for a change. Many were motivated by salary concerns, but that was not the sole motivator.
In addition to expecting fair pay, job seekers are increasingly demanding pay transparency. “Transparency can help ensure fair pay across gender, race, and all other demographics, creating a more trusting relationship with all employees,” the LinkedIn report stated, citing an 136 percent increase in “pay transparency content” shared on LinkedIn since 2014.
Beyond pay questions, a “desire for more interesting work” or the prospect of innovative or high-value projects would tempt a large number of L&D professionals to change jobs, according to Bozarth’s report. And more than a third of respondents “wanted to be in organizations that valued learning and development.”
Organizations hoping to hold on to their best talent might want to take note!