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Why L&D Teams Can’t Afford to Ignore the Big Stay Trend

Unless you ignored the news in 2022, you know the world experienced what we called ‘The Great Resignation.’ Over 50 million Americans quit their jobs for more money and advancement opportunities in 2022. 

After peaking between November 2021 and April 2022, when almost 4.5 million people quit per month, the movement slowed down through 2023. 

But then came quiet quitting, where employees did the bare minimum at work, biding their time waiting for another professional opportunity.

And there’s yet another trend in employee behavior, ‘The Big Stay,’ a movement where more people are staying at their jobs.

Think of it as a changing of tides where employees are no longer actively trying to leave roles in search of something different. Instead, they’re maintaining the role for as long as they can. 

Understanding The Big Stay

After months of mass quitting, only 3.77 million people quit their jobs in June 2023. 

This moved us into the official beginning of The Big Stay.

What is driving the new trend?

  • Economic factors: Despite a growing economy and healthy labor market, people still believe a recession is coming. They don’t want to be unemployed and looking for a job during a potential economic downturn.  
  • Changes in workplace expectations: Employees with a good work-life balance that meets their expectations stay around longer. Maybe they’re remote or hybrid workers. Either of those things can significantly impact whether someone leaves or stays.
  • Fewer jobs are available: Data shows approximately 9.58 million job openings in June 2023, the lowest level since April 2021 and below the market consensus of 9.61 million.

Look at it this way: Employees are weighing the positives and negatives differently than two years ago. Maybe their current role isn’t their dream, but it’s a stepping stone to career success.

Recently, employees may have looked for another job that could be a different step in their desired direction. Or even a lateral move if it’s for a different opportunity. Whereas now, employees are saying, ‘If I leave, I might not find another job, or I might go to that job and get laid off.’ 

“I’m at a point in my life where comfort is important,” says a 37-year-old senior data analyst from Los Angeles interviewed for the piece. After working remotely for a healthcare company for the past three years, she explains, “I want to buy a house and start a new life. I’m over renting and don’t want to go from job to job looking for something that may not even be better.

“My personal life is more important than work right now. I’m staying with the stability that I have because it pays well and gives me enough time off, good benefits, and a healthy work-life balance,” she adds. 

L&D teams must double down on retention

The Big Stay presents an exciting opportunity for L&D professionals. Now that the seemingly endless hiring sprees have slowed, the focus is more on retention and career development training. 

The goal is to help employees be so successful that they want to stay at your company. That being said, the curriculum has to change to meet the audience, who are now more tenured employees than 2 to 3 years ago. 

This new learning content must cater to employees’ aspirations, needs, and potential, encouraging them to see a long-term future with the company.

Read more: 7 Things Employees Want From Employers

As an L&D professional, you can help shift people’s mindset from ‘I’m only staying because it’s necessary’ to ‘I’m staying because I’m getting something out of being here.’

If anything, The Big Stay will help organizations realize the return on investment in learning and development. If an employee is going to stay, you’re hiring less and have less turnover. 

Starting from scratch with your needs analysis

As The Big Stay forces L&D teams to shift focus, it’s healthy for organizations to stop and re-analyze where their current workforce is and start from scratch.

When running a needs analysis, you’ll want to:

  • Run focus groups
  • Do surveys
  • Perform workplace observations
  • Interview leaders
  • Talk with top and low performers

Determine your needs and where employees and managers want you to invest. Then, take action.

Your workforce might want more Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training or soft skills or another valuable skill like Six Sigma or PMP. Teaching strategic skills also makes employees more flexible across your organization. 

Creating training programs that engage tenured employees

Your training programs should be engaging as more employees stay around longer. An engaging program enhances employee retention and encourages enthusiasm and motivation, emphasizing their sense of belonging and value.

Some programs to consider include:

  • Experiential learning: This hands-on approach allows employees to learn by doing, immersing them in real-world scenarios that mirror challenges they may face in their roles.
  • Advanced skill development: Focus on advanced functionalities, programming, or mastering digital tools instead of basic software training.
  • Leadership and management training: Employees who stay longer are more likely to move into managerial roles or lead projects. Training on leadership, conflict resolution, and team management becomes essential.
  • Cross-departmental training: Prepare employees for lateral and diagonal career moves by allowing them to understand and learn skills from other departments.
  • Career development workshops: Run sessions focusing on career development, career trajectory assessment, and professional milestone setting.
  • Mentorship programs: Pair more experienced employees with newer ones. Tenured employees can pass on knowledge this way and reaffirm their value.

Using these diverse training approaches ensures a dedicated, skilled, and long-lasting workforce that contributes positively to the growth and success of the organization.

Developing experiences in a blended learning environment

Some academic surveys have cited that nearly 50 percent of US workers are remote. People have been doing remote or hybrid work for so long that L&D needs to shift to a blended learning approach

You can no longer offer just self-guided training or just virtual instructor-led training (VILT). Programs need to be accessible for learners, whether they are in-person or remote.

With the Learning Cloud from WorkRamp, trainers can create interactive materials that learners can access anytime, anywhere. Managers, admins, and trainers can design and customize learning paths that mix different types of content, such as videos, quizzes, and written material. This supports the online portion of blended learning.

Marketing your programs to employees

The Big Stay brings a new challenge for L&D teams heavily focused on new hires for the past few years: marketing. 

When everyone was remote, fewer things were going on. So, people would go to workshops and events. Now that some events are in-person again, teams need to market their programs again beyond coffee and donuts. 

Here are some ways to get the word out about your programs:

  • Company newsletter: A dedicated section for L&D updates can highlight upcoming courses and success stories
  • Email campaigns: Use segmented lists to send targeted information about programs relevant to specific departments or roles 
  • Testimonials: Showcase feedback from employees who’ve benefited from past programs
  • Reward systems: Introduce point systems, badges, or certifications for course completion, which can be displayed on internal profiles
  • Personalized learning paths: Create custom learning paths based on roles, departments, or career trajectories, showing employees the benefit of L&D
  • Calendar integration: Let employees easily add L&D events to their personal calendars with a single click, ensuring they get reminders

Remember, the key is to understand what this new audience needs. Knowing their preferences, learning styles, and challenges they face will help you market L&D programs in a way that resonates and appeals to them.

What the future holds

As employees stick around longer, L&D will become even more critical for employee engagement. If the L&D team creates value for an organization, it will receive more investment for future projects. It’s a manager’s job to kick that off.

Read more: 5 Reasons to Increase Your L&D Budget

Expand your program into areas you haven’t tried before. This is your chance to engage with a tenured audience and create programs that benefit everyone. 

Creating a scalable model is the challenge. But with a platform like the Learning Cloud, you can easily create and manage various learning experiences, like facilitator-led sessions and asynchronous learning

With the right tools and a clear vision, you can ensure your future L&D initiatives enhance employee skills and drive overarching business goals.

Discover how the Learning Cloud can help you upskill employees and retain top talent. Contact us to schedule a free, personalized demo. 

Complete the form for a custom demo.

Michael Keenan

WorkRamp Contributor

Michael is a SaaS marketer living in Guadalajara, Mexico. Through storytelling and data-driven content, his focus is providing valuable insight and advice on issues that prospects and customers care most about. He’s inspired by learning people’s stories, climbing mountains, and traveling with his partner and Xoloitzcuintles.

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