Millennials Yearn for Professional Development Opportunities

3 ROI’s of Learning and Development Benefits

Something spectacular is happening – in any given workplace, up to five generations could be working together at the same time. The average age of an employee at a company is increasingly getting younger and younger. Millennials, those born between 1981 and 2000, now comprise almost half of the working population – about 40%. Combined with Gen Z’ers, individuals born after 2000 who are also graduating into the workforce this year, the changing workforce composition brings a series of changing attitudes, beliefs, and expectations about the workplace.

The primary difference between the work views of the older generations versus younger generations is the desire for professional development opportunities. Millennials yearn for professional development opportunities. Professional development opportunities are investments that employers make in their employees through career advancement offerings. These can take the form of executive coaching, mentoring, custom training, professional courses, and sponsorship for advanced degrees and certificates. Many companies also offer a monetary stipend for learning and development, giving employees the freedom to choose and direct their own career advancement.

Traditionally, PDOs have been seen as a reward where the company makes an investment after the employee has put in a certain number of years of service. Today, more and more companies are offering career advancement opportunities as a baseline benefit. What is the ROI on professional development opportunities?

  • A better-trained workforce. PDO’s fill in the knowledge gaps and develop your employees through professional sources. Technical and leadership training boosts performance regardless of what position you hold at a company. Employees with access to PDO’s are better equipped to perform at work.
  • Engagement. Employees who feel like they’re being invested in are more confident and have a better relationship with their employer. Higher engagement correlates with higher productivity, lower absenteeism, and lower accident rates.
  • Retention. When surveyed, learning and development remain amongst the top-scoring topics amongst millennials when asked about what they want (or what they want more of) in a workplace. Most employees will stay longer at a company that invests in their development. What’s more, the cost of recruiting someone new always out-shadows that of retaining an existing employee.

As mentioned, professional development opportunities can take many forms. The crux of these offerings is to give employees pathways for accelerated career growth. Most disciplines, such as finance, engineering, human resources, accounting, etc., have a variety of external certificate and degree programs that employees can choose from on their own. Leadership and cross-functional coworking skills are more general topics that can be implemented internally and company-wide through eLearning platforms. When it comes to offering internal professional development opportunities, it’s important to weave in a mentorship program to enable networking across levels. Employers are increasingly awarded brand distinction when their benefits include learning and development.

At SMART Staffing Group, Inc., we are a Minority- and Woman-Owned Business in Poughkeepsie, NY, that has helped the Hudson Valley scout talent since 2014. We are a partner to employers and consult for recruiting and staffing strategies. We stay at the forefront of what is happening within the business sector and talent market in the Tri-State area, finding innovative solutions to staffing needs.