It’s no secret that state-of-the-art workout facilities or access to fitness and wellness options provided by an employer can increase overall wellness in the workplace. These perks, combined with other wellness resources and programs, are at the heart of most corporate wellness initiatives. A physically healthy workforce is healthy for the business; however, there’s a significant aspect of wellness — in the form of job satisfaction — that can only be found in an employee’s actual job experience.
No amount of outside corporate perks can make up for either the empowerment or discouragement an employee can feel when they’re “on the clock.” Which is why incorporating a formal approach to ongoing learning and development for all employees is essential to create a holistic approach to workplace “wellness.”
A recent Gallup report highlights how learning and development programs are extremely important to employees — especially millennials who look at their job development opportunities. A deep dive into their report regarding this finding states, “59% of millennials say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job. Comparatively, 44% of Gen Xers and 41% of baby boomers say the same about these types of opportunities…An impressive 87% of millennials rate "professional or career growth and development opportunities" as important to them in a job — far more than the 69% of non-millennials who say the same.”
ClassPass, a leading provider of customized fitness and wellness memberships for individuals and businesses alike, recognizes the importance of this piece of wellness. Ben Hawes is part of the Human Resources team at ClassPass who oversees Learning and Development (L&D) programs. “I love the opportunity I have to engage with and train people,'' says Hawes. “We work hard to provide programs that meet the needs of every individual in our company, regardless of their focus, title or tenure. Part of my job is to help employees love their jobs.”
With this kind of focus placed on providing ongoing learning opportunities and chances to train and gain new knowledge, employee satisfaction and engagement becomes a leading component in the company’s overall “health.” When talking with Hawes, he laid out several approaches or strategies that companies could implement as they seek to introduce a formal L&D program.
Create mentorship opportunities
Some of the best learning can be done by shared experiences and connecting with those around us. A mentorship program that matches employees with mentors within the company is a valuable aspect of a learning and development program. Individuals learn new skills, receive career coaching, gain increased understanding of the business, and connect with leaders in a unique way. Having this kind of program gives organic learning experiences for everyone involved and strengthens the company culture.
Offer ongoing training on numerous topic areas accessible by all
“People feel happy and fulfilled at their job when they feel like they are contributing, excelling and doing well,” says Hawes. “Training programs and learning experiences are in place to help individuals make an even greater impact in the company.” What those courses and experiences are will vary from company to company. Hawes shared that continual conversations, observations, surveys and alignment with goals are considered when determining what topics will be the focus. Specifically with global organizations, an emphasis should be placed on recording and providing a library of trainings that can be accessed anytime, anywhere.
Leverage the expertise of your people
In every organization there are subject matter experts who can speak to their field or focus. Focus on this internal hub of expertise and share it with the rest of your organization. Doing this creates a win-win situation for employees and the experts; with employees becoming more aware of the person and topic as it relates to the business and for the expert to explore thought leadership opportunities.
Perhaps one of the most important pieces of creating a successful L&D program is having a dedicated team of individuals — and volunteers — who care about providing this kind of resource for their organization.