7 Ways a Learning and Development Program Can Help Your Nonprofit Minimize Turnover

7 Ways a Learning and Development Program can Help Your Nonprofit Minimize Turnover

At the start of the pandemic, we all reckoned with the fact that the professional world would be changing drastically. Serious discussions of accessibility, flexibility, and working styles are on the rise, challenging the status quo of traditional work culture. In The Great Reshuffle, many have left their current jobs in search of roles that better align with their long term career goals, and companies are scrambling to satisfy employee needs.

While it’s important to make a difference in the communities that your nonprofit organization serves, you must also prioritize your workers’ growth and advancement—and that means transforming the workspace as you know it, with a wider scope of opportunities for growth, development, and training.

Becoming lifelong learners in the workplace

The world shut down in 2020, forcing many companies to do the same. Offices closed indefinitely, and employees had to adapt to a new definition of normal—both in their personal lives and in their professional spaces.  

Now, much of the workforce is navigating uncharted waters as safety protocols, frequent COVID-19 tests, and mandated vaccinations are coming into play. Those who shifted to remote work are transitioning to hybrid models or are even returning fully in-person.

According to LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report, learning is at the core of career exploration and advancement. Now more than ever, employees of all backgrounds and positions are prioritizing their learning journeys in order to grow within their organizations and thrive as professionals.

If you’re responsible for overseeing your nonprofit’s learning and development, continue to read for the 7 ways you can use learning as a tool for employee satisfaction and retention.

1. Reinvent professional development

Organization leaders must equip themselves and their employees with the necessary tools to guide them through such an unprecedented culture change. This entails a completely new and innovative way to facilitate professional development. The skills that were relevant pre-pandemic may no longer be of importance post-pandemic—and if leaders want to see growth in their workers, they need to be open to new endeavors.

2. Provide relevant resources

Not all employees need to develop or improve the same skill. Some require foundational building while others are more advanced in their understanding of a concept. Nonprofits must personalize learning opportunities depending on where people are at with their skill level. By providing resources that differ according to each employee’s interests, goals, and growth areas, organizations can facilitate a more effective learning environment.

3. Adapt to unforeseen changes 

It’s one thing to face change at a smaller scale. Companies identify the problem, develop effective solutions, then address the disruption as soon as possible to minimize its impact. It’s another thing to adapt to a worldwide event. The past year and a half taught us that change can come in different forms, with wildly unprecedented outcomes. Employees and employers alike will need time to embrace this truth, so that when the unexpected happens again, they have the flexibility to adapt to it accordingly.

4. Encourage internal mobility

According to LinkedIn insights, COVID-19 affected overall hires in 2020, while internal hiring remained consistent—and it’s likely to continue to be a common trend in the workforce.
Internal mobility allows employees to go where their skills are needed within the organization. It’s a win-win for both parties: employers do not have to spend time and costs recruiting external candidates, while employees can advance in their job levels.

5. Welcome remote or hybrid work settings

While some companies are beginning to bring employees back into the office, others are implementing fully remote or optional hybrid models.

Remote work benefits employees in countless ways. It cuts down on commuting costs, has the potential to improve work and life balance, and grants people more freedom with their time. As long as it doesn’t decrease worker productivity, giving employees the choice to work remotely boosts morale. This may be a bit of a challenge for nonprofit environments, but honest conversations and collaboration will go a long way for future planning.

6. Equip your workers with relevant skills

Upskilling allows organizations to educate employees on the skills they need to thrive in a certain position. Reskilling equips employees with newer skills that can help them fill other positions within the organization. In order to create a clear-cut career path for your employees, you need to invest in processes that set them up for success. Upskilling and reskilling may feel like a feat, but in the end, both will contribute to your nonprofit’s growth.

7. Prioritize digital fluency

With digital fluency comes adaptability. Technology is extremely fluid, evolving at a rapid pace and constantly creating new solutions for our future. As employees hone their digital literacy skills, they’ll be able to efficiently utilize technological tools that can elevate an organization’s influence.

Organizations that concentrate on digital fluency will have access to a wider sandbox of opportunities. Employees can engage with various communities, partner with valuable stakeholders, and build a meaningful digital presence that allows for more grant eligibility.

Learning leads to growth

Nonprofits thrive because of the employees who are fueled by their passions and goals. For this very reason, learning and development programs need a place within each organization, so that people can continue to be inspired and find fulfillment in their work.

This post was inspired by the LinkedIn Learning article, “9 Ways Workplace Learning Can Help Your Company Avoid the Great Reshuffle,” written by Tanisha A. Sykes.