In an economy that offers more jobs than workers who are willing to take them, companies must be more resourceful than ever to attract and hold on to talent. Any good employee retention strategy includes an array of tactics and incentives that keep workers interested, engaged and feeling accomplished in their occupation. 
More companies are discovering that ongoing employee training and education is an investment that leads to greater employee engagement and retention. In fact, employee retention can increase by 20 to 40% in companies that provide employee education programs. 
That’s because continuing education and professional development challenges employees in productive ways, advances their skills and capabilities, and often cultivates a feeling of loyalty to the company as their partner in achieving their personal and professional goals.
In other words, professional development for employees pays dividends to both companies and workers, not only today, but for years to come. 

How continuing education keeps employees engaged

Providing opportunities to learn and grow is a sure-fire way to improve engagement and retention in the workplace. It’s simple human nature. Most people have an innate desire to increase their knowledge and proficiency. For example, 87% percent of millennials say professional development is important in any job, and nearly 70% of non-millennials agree. 

Other benefits of continuing education for employees

While workforce development adds to an employee’s suite of skills and arsenal of knowledge, it’s just the beginning of what continuing education courses can do for workers. 

Other benefits include a refreshing antidote to complacency. Employees who consistently challenge themselves to explore, discover and cultivate new and widening interests find themselves continually stimulated and motivated, less prone to boredom and burnout.

Workforce education and development also provide fresh perspectives and alternative insights into an organization’s operations. For example, teaching marketing executives about the engineering processes behind a company’s products can give them a greater understanding of how to talk to their customers about the features and benefits that appeal to them most. Cross-functional training also helps different teams understand, support and collaborate with each other better.

Additionally, continuing education helps employees keep their skills current in a rapidly changing technology environment. Even the most experienced professionals can find their knowledge has become obsolete if they don’t make a concerted effort to update their capabilities. Periodically enrolling in IT bootcamp programs to tune up their tech skills, or pursuing coursework to earn certificates in new professional areas will help keep them—and the companies they work for—relevant and up to speed.

Benefits of continuous professional development for companies

Employees who are motivated to study and grow through continuing education are more likely to put in the extra effort and work more productively, thus contributing to the company’s success. But there are other reasons an organization benefits from workforce development.

By improving employee engagement and retention, continuous professional development saves in the long run by reducing turnover and new hire costs. Giving employees a chance to stretch themselves is proof that a company is willing to invest in their people and their careers. This tends to encourage a sense of allegiance among workers who are more dedicated to companies that demonstrate a commitment to them. 

An often overlooked benefit of employee education programs is how they can act as a defense against employee loss. Training workers in a range of disciplines and capabilities across a company’s divisions gives employees a versatile skill set that can be applied where needed. If workers depart from one department, for instance, others can more readily step in to take their place.

Boost employee engagement and retention when you partner with Arizona State University

Through ASU Career Catalyst, Arizona State University partners with companies across industries to provide skills education and knowledge acquisition programs that help employers attract, engage and retain top talent. 

As a top-tier university for innovation, ASU applies its unparalleled core of knowledge to partner with organizations and learners in critical areas ranging from foundational professional skills, to immersive leadership experiences, to advanced technical education in emerging fields. Through ASU CareerCatalyst, ASU develops world-class workforce education solutions that align with business priorities and strategies and empower all learners to thrive in the future of work at every stage of their careers. 

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