Skip to content
Learning lessons from lockdown: Retaining and retraining Header

Learning lessons from lockdown: Retaining and retraining

If you’re a manager or working in HR or L&D how do you ensure you have the right people and how can you make them stay?  A strategy of retaining and retraining provides some answers.


Be flexible

One key benefit we’ve learned from lockdown is that remote working gives you flexibility.  And not just in the hours you work but where you do your work.  If you can work from home your employer can potentially be anywhere.  Combine that newfound sense of freedom with a skills shortage, people re-evaluating their work-life balance, and realizing their value to an organization, and you’re looking at potential retention and hiring crisis.

What’s more, the skills gap predates the pandemic and is predicted to outlast it.  For skilled employees, it’s a buyers’ market.  Their employment options have widened dramatically. The challenge is to make your organization a place people want to join and where they can develop and that means offering choice and being flexible.

Start as you mean to go on

Retention starts with hiring and onboarding.  It’s important to identify talent from the get-go.  First impressions count so make sure the onboarding experience is positive, that it progresses the new hire swiftly into work and that onboarding includes a road map for employee development.  Show them the future and then deliver on it.  If you don’t do it right your new hires will leave to seek opportunities elsewhere.  You’ll have squandered your investment and you’ll be back to square one.

Opportunity knocks

Training and retraining can deliver opportunities.  Learning and development aren’t just the people who look after training; it’s a strategy to realize potential.  Regular performance reviews can be used not just to check where an employee is but where they can and want to be.  Work out personalized learning pathways with targets and goals so employees have an achievable vision of their future.  

Just rewards

Awards, rewards, and promotions motivate people.  Identify leadership potential and support ambition with leadership development programs.  CPD and industry-recognized certification signal public recognition of attainment.  Offer upskilling and reskilling courses to fill gaps and ensure your skills and knowledge base keep pace with technological and business challenges.  Investing in their training shows you value your employees.

Preparing for loss

It’s equally important to recognize that people will leave and to plan how to mitigate the loss.  Put in place a strategy for knowledge capture so that expertise and experience don’t walk out the door with that valued employee.  Don’t just rely on a handover process as people hand in their notice, but actively encourage and facilitate knowledge sharing and mentoring among all your key staff.  

Succession planning is also key to maintaining stability and keeping expertise in-house.  It also expands the opportunities for career development and recognition of achievement.  While it’s important to retain staff, you need to avoid bed-blocking and find new avenues for talent, be that promotion or retraining.

Make learning active

Making learning easily accessible across devices with seamless connectivity and a range of learning assets helps create a culture of learning.  Training comes to be seen as part of work and is delivered in the workflow.  A learning culture helps keep employees motivated and engaged.  It also delivers enhanced productivity.

Hands-on the remote

Facilitating working from home has generated a tech infrastructure to deliver learning support.  Don’t throw it away, as the option of home working for some, or all, of the week, can be used to entice people to stay.  The offer of working remotely is a vote of confidence in individuals.  Allowing people to divide their time between home and the workplace shows you’re listening to their needs and respecting their choices.  People who feel respected, well managed, and supported are likely to return that investment by performing better.

A winning combination

A program of retaining and retraining delivers a win-win.  Employees find working more rewarding and challenging so want to stay.  Improved morale and high skill levels benefit the business’s bottom line.  In a mobile and fractured job market, you keep your talent and in return, your employees get flexibility and stability with opportunities to develop further. Success breeds success and a combined policy of staff retention, reward and opportunity will reduce turnover and make your organization a magnet for new talent.


To find out more on how you can help your organization move forward to the post-pandemic era, get in touch now.

Got a learning problem to solve?

Get in touch to discover how we can help

CTA background