Employers across all industries are realizing the benefits of promoting career advancement and professional growth among their employees. In fact, a LinkedIn study found that 76% of Gen Z workers say learning and development is the key to a successful career, whereas 51% of learning and development professionals cite internal mobility is more of a priority now than before the COVID-19 pandemic. With an importance on upskilling and career advancement, we wanted to know what companies are doing to help encourage employees to focus on professional development.
In August, we asked our readers what benefit they would offer to encourage employees to upskill or advance their hard skill set. And with more than a quarter of the responses, 28% say they would offer pay increases. Another 19% said they would offer promotions to encourage their employees to focus on development. Corelating with the rise in remote and flexible work, 18% of business leaders said they would offer scheduling flexibility. Finishing off the list, 17% would offer cash/bonus incentives, and 7% would offer benefits incentives, while 10% of respondents selected the other option.
For a different perspective, we asked a similar question on Job Journey, the Express Employment Professionals blog for employees and job seekers. Readers were asked what benefit would entice them to upskill or advance their hard skills. Mirroring the number one response from business leaders, 28% of job seekers said they would opt for pay increases. Another 17% said cash/bonus incentives would entice them to focus on growth and development. The full results from Job Journey are as follows:
- Pay Increase: 28%
- Cash/Bonus Incentive: 17%
- Scheduling Flexibility: 15%
- Promotion: 14%
- New or Expanded Job Opportunities: 14%
- Benefits Incentive: 11%
- Other: 1%
The results from both blogs show us one thing: there is no one-size-fits-all answer to encourage upskilling and professional development. If your business is looking to entice employees to further develop their soft and hard skills, a more successful approach could be to offer a mix of incentives to ensure companywide adoption of learning and development.
By focusing on employee development, upskilling, and cross training, you can significantly increase engagement, retention, and overall production. Check out these Refresh Leadership articles to learn more:
- Engage to Retain: Employee Onboarding and Development
- Practical Tips for New Leaders: Employee Development
- Professional Development: Investing in Yourself
- Infographic: Benefits of Leadership Development
- Year in Review: Focusing on Workplace Development
What have you done to encourage employees to upskill? How has a focus on employee development helped your organization? Let us know in the comments section below!