SHRM Talent 2024 Conference Hot Topic Takeaways: Learning & Development

By: Amanda Kochirka 

It was another fascinating and informative experience at this year’s Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) annual Talent conference and I’m excited to share my top four key takeaways on the topic that dominated the agenda this year, learning and development.

  1. Continuing education is more important than ever

According to a recent SHRM report, by 2035 skill-based credentials and certifications will matter as much to employers as a college degree. The same report revealed that 88% of employers surveyed said that continuous learning is essential for today’s workforce.

We continue to hear from a variety of sources in the talent acquisition space to re-think your requirements for job openings. Is a college degree really necessary? Are there certifications or credentials that are just as relevant (if not better) for the work the position requires? Is that something you could incorporate as a retention tool that would both enhance your employees’ skill sets and show them you care about their professional development? Finding ways to incorporate continuous learning into your employee experience will benefit not only the employee but your organization for years to come.

  1. The skills we develop are relevant for less time

According to SHRM, the half life of a skill is currently 3 years. The more that technology develops, the shorter that time frame will become. Thus, agility in the learning and development that a company provides to their employees is non-negotiable. It’s incredibly important to make sure you have a focus not only on continuous learning, but that the learning and training opportunities that are being provided are the most current and relevant.

  1. Create a pull for learning

Make learning and development enticing enough that your employees seek it out on their own instead of pushing it on them. If they have a compelling reason to participate in continuing education, upskilling, or reskilling, then it becomes something they look forward to doing instead of feeling like a chore or obligation. There are plenty of platforms out there today that provide a gamification element to continuing education, making learning fun and interactive.

There are also ways to recognize/reward the learning accomplishments of your employees. Completing learning programs/credentials and sharing that knowledge with the team for the betterment of the entire organization should be celebrated just like you celebrate signing on a big customer or reaching a fundraising goal. The more excitement there is among your team about learning, the more likely it is they’ll want to join in on their own versus feeling forced to participate.

  1. Create a career map with specific skills identified

While we’re talking about hot topics, internal mobility also comes to mind. According to a report from LinkedIn, 63% of workers would be more likely to stay with their current company if it offered better educational opportunities. Creating a roadmap of knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required to advance from one type of role to the next within your organization is a great way to help employees visualize the opportunities available to them. What’s even more impactful is being able to tie the KSAs to training programs you provide to the team through in-person sessions, online platforms, and other opportunities. If employees can see a clear path to the advancement they desire, the more likely they are to stay with your organization.