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Tapping into ambition: Rethinking how we attract, retain, and invest with workforce talent

Organisations today must rethink how they attract, retain and invest with talent or risk losing their best people. By tapping into ambition businesses have a unique opportunity to stand out among competitors and offer progressive learning that harnesses the future aspirations of its workforce.

The Open University (OU) partnered in TrainingZone in early 2021 to publish a whitepaper on how innovative organisations such as Uber and Novartis were using learning as a benefit to invest in the personal ambitions of workers. The Uber partnership with the OU allows eligible drivers on its Uber Pro loyalty programme the opportunity to study towards a degree, with tuition paid by Uber. The benefit can also be passed to a family member.

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Exploring “learning as a benefit”

This innovative approach was explored further in a joint event hosted by the OU and TrainingZone. Hosted by renowned learning analyst Laura Overton and TrainingZone editor, Becky Norman, the event brought together L&D and HR leaders from innovative organisations using learning to attract, retain and invest with workforce talent – discussing each theme across three online sessions recorded on the OU campus in Milton Keynes.

Becky was on hand to share questions, poll results and comments from the virtual audience while Laura discussed learning strategies in-depth with the guests and explored the way they were leveraging learning as part of their offering to workers.

The sessions provided a range of different perspectives and insights to assist organisations in including learning as part of their offering to workers. As the OU’s Paul Hillan oberserved: “Organisations that have strong value propositions are the ones that win through in the end”.

Co-host Laura Overton will be writing a highlights paper which will be shared on our Knowledge Hub the coming weeks.

Contact us to discuss learning as part of your benefits strategy

Some key takeaways from the day:

  • Ambition means something different to everyone. Throughout the day, the words that people associate with “ambition” were varied. It highlights the importance of first understanding what an individual’s ambition is in order to tap into it.
  • Collaboration is key, across departments. L&D impacts every part of the business – it’s pivotal to organisational goals being reached.
  • Retention is part of the recruitment strategy. Especially when considering the recruitment costs of finding and onboarding new talent if the staff turnover is high.
  • We need to equip managers to show people what’s available and how they access it. “Build it and they will come” isn’t an effective L&D delivery strategy. It needs to be embedded in the culture and pro-actively offered.
  • Employer/employee relationships need to offer mutual benefit. Wages alone are not the only draw for people anymore – especially in a candidate-led market currently.
  • There’s more to learning than just gaining knowledge or skills. There’s the personal development benefit – including increased confidence and self-awareness, to unlock real potential.
  • We need to tap into people’s ambition at all levels of the business. Not just the highly motivated people that self-identify as ambitious. Learning applies to everyone – there can be apprentices at all levels.
  • Organisations can’t be afraid of losing talent once they have been trained. There is always that risk, but that talent will still be an advocate for your organisation, where they gained their skills.

The hosts

Laura Overton, Industry Analyst
Becky Norman, Editor of TrainingZone and HRZone

The speakers

Mark Cameron OBE, CEO, The 5% Club
Sophie Carter, Public Policy UK & Ireland, Uber
Paul Hillan, Head of Organisational Learning, The Open University
Ettie McCormack, Learning & Performance Consultant
Lt Cdr Norma Muyambo, Skills Policy, Ministry of Defence
Simon Tindall, Head of Skills & Innovation, Business Development Unit, The Open University

Watch the sessions on demand

Tapping into Ambition: Rethinking how we attract workforce talent

Discover how businesses have moved beyond conventional benefits to not only attract talent, but also bolster business reputation, nurture culture and improve CSR.

Coming soon


Tapping into Ambition: Rethinking how we retain workforce talent

Find out how to evolve your retention strategy and see improvements in worker loyalty, wellbeing, inclusion and social mobility.

Watch now


Tapping into Ambition: Rethinking how we invest workforce talent

Think outside the traditional L&D box, embrace a learning model that taps into ambition and the financial benefits of doing so.

Watch now

Find out how we can help your organisation

Please contact us to speak to one of our business team advisors.

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