Why investing in skills is your key to thriving, not just surviving
Cometh the hour, cometh the person who has been upskilled to a satisfactory level and can now complete whole new tasks.
Matt Bristow Digital Marketing Specialist
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| 7 min read
If you don’t think you have the budget to change your learning platform, you may be hurting you and your bottom line
Matt Bristow Digital Marketing Specialist
We talk a lot about rocket fueling engagement, identifying skills gaps to create the workforce of the future, and a thousand other exciting, future-first topics. But the hard and inescapable reality is that L&D is almost always part of an organisation that needs to make money, and as such, L&D departments have certain fiduciary responsibilities.
During our talks with businesses around the globe, one of the most common things we hear is that L&D professionals desperately want to change their learning platform, but they find it hard to create a business case to do so, and are worried about increasing their subscription spend on a new platform.
So what if I told you that by sticking with your old platform, you’re actually losing more money than you’re saving?
Well I assume I’d have to pause whilst you pick your jaw up off the floor, and then I’d have to reassure you that I actually am telling the truth.
Much like fixing a catalytic converter or finally ditching that single glazed window, a little money upfront can save you a whole lot of cash in the long run. “How so?” I hear you enigmatically ranting at your inanimate computer screen. Well first of all :
A trained and cared-for workforce is more likely to stay at a company for a longer period of time. That’s a provable fact that should shock absolutely no one reading this (hopefully). But what I think will shock most people reading this (hopefully) is just how expensive it is to have a high turnover rate.
To hire a new employee, on average it costs a business $4,129. Which, at the current mercurial exchange rate, is around £3,395.28 which, for the sake of simplicity and character count, we will call £3,400.
That’s for every hire. So if you are a business that employs 3,000 people and you have an average turnover rate of around 15% (roughly the average turnover rate for UK businesses), that means you are having to replace 450 people a year.
450 x £3,400 = £1.53 million!
Just like someone sat across from Chris Tarrant who hasn’t done their homework, you could be losing a million pounds, but instead of the cause being your lack of knowledge of the capital of Outer Mongolia (Ulaanbaatar apparently), it’s by not making calculated investments into retaining your staff.
Now, say you could reduce your turnover by investing in a Learning and Skills Platform that would make your workforce feel appreciated and cared for, and allow them to upskill in new areas? How much would that cost?
Well, I suppose we could take, oh I don’t know, maybe THRIVE’s incredibly open and transparent pricing model and work out that for the same 3,000 person business above, it would cost only £52,500 a year to get a next gen platform designed to nurture staff retention!
That means that your brand new L&D platform, alongside dedicated Customer Success Managers who have decades of experience in L&D initiatives to help you along the way, only has to drop your turnover rate by 1% to make back more than the investment you put in! Or you could keep haemorrhaging money, it’s your call…
According to the World Economic Forum, 50% of employees will need some form of reskilling or upskilling by the year 2025 to keep pace with the rapidly changing world of technology. That’s a lot of employees. Again, I’m going to reiterate how much it costs to hire just one new employee.
That’s enough to buy; 11,333 Freddos, 14 helicopter trips, 3.4 kilometres of Christmas wrapping paper, enough hamsters to name one after every current Premier League footballer or the rights to name 227 planets.
If you aren’t making a considerable effort now to upskil your current employees, then you will end up having to hire those with the skills you need, which is a very costly exercise. It’s better to invest now in a platform that helps you do just that.
We drafted in content mastermind and CLO, Helen Marshall, a few weeks ago to write about an L&D boogeyman that is causing quite a stir in the community at the moment.
Estimated to cost businesses £9 billion globally, content chaos refers to the extraneous purchase of duplicate content or filling ad hoc content gaps as users can’t find or get overloaded with content. And you may think this is an inventory/procurement issue, but learning platforms have to take some of the blame too.
There’s an old, morbid joke in the SEO world that “the best place to hide a dead body is the second page of Google”. The same principle applies to learning platforms.
Content that users can’t find is essentially useless, won’t be engaged with and it’s the job of the learning platform you are using to do the heavy lifting when it comes to finding, recommending and displaying content.
If your platform doesn’t enable users to find what they need and empower them to discover more about the topics they really care about, you could be wasting tons of time and money on buying content you don’t need, to fill these gaps.
Everyone has had that feeling when they start a new job that they’re being a net detriment to their team. And science is here to reassure you that these horrible beliefs you have are true.
That was just a joke, but only kind of.
A nicer and more correct way of putting it is that it takes a new employee roughly a year to reach maximum potential at an organisation. And that’s dependent on the effectiveness of their onboarding process and training. If you neglect the onboarding process (which sits firmly within L&D’s jurisdiction), your employees could be at less than optimal productivity levels for up to two years!
With employees and potentially whole teams operating at less than optimal productivity, you may have to increase the team size to achieve the same amount of work and benefit that a smaller, optimised team can. Don’t make me bust out the eccentric and zany list of stuff you could buy with the cost of one hire again…
A Learning and Skills Platform is a perfect way to nail your onboarding strategy, and if your current platform isn’t helping your new starters with exactly what they need, at the point of need, then you need one that can. Something where users can access onboarding pathways, share knowledge with their coworkers, has the feel of social media and also gives them a place they can track and level up their skills.
Now, where could someone find a platform like that…
Gone are the days where L&D was viewed as an immeasurable money sink. L&D should sit alongside areas like Customer Service and Marketing in trying to prove impact on revenue and business growth.
The Association for Talent Development found that companies who invest in L&D have a 24% higher profit margin than their counterparts who don’t invest as much in training their people. Now the data-minded amongst you may point out “well that’s because more profitable companies can afford to invest more in training”. And to that I say: fair play, bold move trying to win a debate against an inanimate blog, I appreciate your force of character and determination. But I also say: a study found that 42% of organisations saw increases in income after investing in their L&D initiatives.
So much of any elearning initiative relies on the method of delivery. You could create the best learning campaign ever, the Platonic ideal of a learning campaign, but if you are trying to deliver it to users via a messenger pigeon, then it’s not going to work.
Whilst I’ve chucked a fair few figures around, it’s not a hard leap to see how a learning platform can affect your bottom line. A good learning platform motivates employees and increases their sense of community, which in turn boosts their productivity and helps them reach their potential, which will increase money coming in. All of the above also reduces turnover rate and content costs, meaning you don’t have as much money flowing out every year.
More in, less out = happy people all round. And learning platforms have a lot more to do with that rather interestingly worded equation than you might think.
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