Do you know that more than 2 in 5 employees in Singapore have left a company because they felt that it did not provide enough learning and development (L&D) opportunities?
This lack of corporate training is not just a serious problem in Singapore. It's also a serious problem globally.
An IBM study revealed that employees who feel they cannot develop in the company and fulfil their career goals are 12 times more likely to leave the company.
Before we jump into the solution of how to groom your digital marketing talents, let’s dig deeper into the importance of L&D.
Why Is Learning & Development Important?
Learning and development has always been one of the key goals for the human resources department.
"Training, learning and development are critical to technology-enabled workplaces, yet many organisations are failing to deliver enough. This is not just a 'future' problem, it is happening now."
- Rosie Cairnes, regional director of Asia-Pacific at Skillsoft
By honing employees’ skills and knowledge, you’ll improve their performance and make them happier which also leads to a positive impact on your business. This will also boost employee morale and retention because they feel valued and appreciated.
According to HR Magazine, companies that invest $1,500 on training per employee can see an average of 24% more profit than companies who invest less.
L&D is crucial for digital marketing due to its rapidly changing landscape. Just look at the numerous changes Google and Facebook have implemented on their ads platform! From AdWords to Google Ads, from Facebook Power Editor to the updated Ads Manager. Therefore, L&D plays a pivotal role in ensuring that your digital marketing talent keep up with this constantly evolving industry.
"Marketing and marketing technology are evolving at such a rapid pace that anyone working in the industry simply cannot afford not to upskill."
― James Gilbert, HubSpot APAC Marketing Director
Unfortunately, training and development is easier said than done. Even with buy-in from stakeholders, many companies still consider their training to be ineffective. Here are 3 challenges that hinder corporate training’s effectiveness:
Challenge 1: Not Understanding The Importance Of Training
Your first challenge is getting your C-suite to understand the importance of learning.
This isn’t about whether your organisation has a training programme in place. All organisations should have a training programme. If you don’t, it’s time to implement one.
What’s important is how much budget your company is allocating to this corporate training.
Some organisations have this misconception that training is an expense. Hence, they often put training low on the budget priority list.
Well, this isn’t true. Training is an investment.
Organisations with this wrong belief are more interested in hiring external talent, rather than upskilling current employees. This is reflected in a survey of workers across Singapore, where 92% of employees believe that their organisations prefer to consider external employees for new roles. About 45% also said that roles in their organisations are filled with external candidates all or most of the time.
However, the truth is that hiring is far more costly than training. Just take into account the time and manpower spent on filtering resumes, setting up interviews and onboarding new staff. On the other hand, upskilling allows your employees to put their learning into practice immediately.
This also applies to digital marketing talent. You can’t simply bridge the talent gap by recruiting skilled staff. The digital marketing skills gap is real and it’s happening now. Everything you learnt in school and university might change by the time you graduate due to the industry’s incredibly face pace of change. New technologies like machine learning are disrupting the way we work and advertise.
Therefore, education should be your priority. Help your employees stay relevant and competitive in this ever-changing world by upskilling and reskilling them.
“The reality is if Singaporeans are not up to scratch, the jobs will not come here to look for Singaporeans. The jobs will leave here to go to the places where the talent and the enterprise and the hard-working people are.”
― Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister
Challenge 2: No Time For Learning
57% of Singapore-based respondents said that the lack of time was the most significant barrier to learning.
As an employer, you will need to make time for your employees to learn.
Your employees are already flooded with day-to-day tasks and back-to-back meetings. They might be handling a dozen clients and juggling numerous ad hoc tasks. Learning will thus be low on their priority list since these tasks generate direct revenue for the company.
They are also likely to view on-the-job education as something they do on top of their work. Something extra. When you pile learning on top of their usual tasks and make it compulsory, this might create stress for your employees.
For instance, I’ve attended a few Facebook workshops and training courses but I’m never able to concentrate fully. I’m always checking my inbox every few minutes and dealing with urgent tasks.
Besides allowing your employees to take time off to learn, you also need to ensure that they pay full attention during their training. This can be done by handing over their work to colleagues and shifting their mindset that learning is key to employee and company growth.
What you need is to cultivate a growth mindset within your company. A growth mindset is the belief that intelligence, ability and performance can be developed through dedication and hard work. People with this growth mindset are passionate for learning and thrive on challenges. Companies that can foster a growth mindset are 3 times more profitable and have up to 4 times better retention than companies which don’t.
“Employers must also invest in training their workers in order to seize the competitive edge. As for workers, they must embrace change and lifelong learning. Instead of viewing technological changes with fear, you must take the first step to be prepared for new jobs, stay relevant with new skills and be resilient by adapting to new ways of working and learning.”
― Ng Chee Meng, Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) & Minister in the Prime Minister's Office
Challenge 3: Mismatch Between What Is Offered By Employers & What Employees Want
There is also a huge mismatch between what is offered by employers and what employees want, with only 17% of employees in Singapore satisfied with their company’s L&D programmes.
Organisations have their own needs and business objectives. For instance, a digital marketing agency might want to expand their service offering to increase profitability. This could mean offering more marketing services like email marketing, content marketing, video production etc.
Your employees will also have their own needs. They might be interested in honing their communication, presentation and copywriting skills. Also, do consider the learning style: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Some employees might prefer eBooks while others might prefer webinars. Everyone also learns at a different pace.
Digital transformation is reshaping every aspect of a business organisation by integrating digital technology into all areas and processes. Learning is no exception where digital transformation requires both hard and soft skills. Hard skills are technical skills that are job-specific like Artificial Intelligence (AI), web development and accounting. Soft skills are valuable workplace traits like critical thinking, problem solving and creativity. To succeed in this digital age, you need to ensure that your workforce is equipped with future-ready skill sets.
The perfect training will thus be meeting the needs of both parties and preparing your employees for digital transformation. Your L&D programme should include courses that your employees are interested in and that can benefit the company. These courses should also include various formats to cater to different learning styles. Flexibility is the key where employees get to choose what, when and how they learn.
Solution: Certification Day
Here’s our solution to overcome these corporate learning challenges… Certification Day.
Certification Day is a day of learning. It’s also a day where we grow together as one: expanding our marketing knowledge and honing our skills.
We have a monthly Certification Day, usually at the beginning or end of the month where we have 8 full hours of learning. For both our Singapore headquarters and our Malaysia office.
On this day, we put everything down. No work tasks. No meetings with clients. (Of course, we have to clear them before Certification Day or at least postpone them to the following day.) Because we have an even more critical task... learning.
In other words, the company is creating time for learning where all employees can fully concentrate on learning during this Certification Day.
Jackie Lee, our CEO, started Certification Day to create a company culture of continuous learning. This is a great way to show employees that you value them and thus, want them to succeed and grow with the company.
Here are the 4 idioms that guided Jackie to launch Certification Day.
学以致用 (xué yǐ zhì yòng): put into practice what has been learnt #adaptivelearning
熟能生巧 (shú néng shēng qiǎo): practice makes perfect #alwaysbelearning
融会贯通 (róng huì guàn tōng): understanding and alignment of our efforts together as one #togetherasone
温故知新 (wēn gù zhī xīn): reviewing the older materials, history and past helps one to understand the present and create new awareness and thus new knowledge #growbettertogether
Benefits Of Certification Day: Learning Culture, Empowered Employees, Company Growth & Success
After investing in thousands of learning hours, we've earned more than 400 certifications (and counting).
Certification Day helps us to be aligned in our understanding of various marketing concepts across all our departments (Partners, Sales, Account Management, Service and Creative). As a result, we're now heading in the same direction, speaking the same lingo and possessing the same arsenal of marketing strategies.
“We're all adopting more or less the same lingo. There's less time wasted on second-guessing what the next person is trying to say. It really goes down to having very fruitful conversations.”
― Adrian Tan, Director of Campaign Operations
“On the company level, it will help to align all the stakeholders in the company, including the partners, sales, AMs, COPs and designers.”
― Yohanna Cahyana, Account Manager
With all your colleagues and bosses learning together with you on the same day, it creates a strong learning culture. By embracing shared learning, you’re reinforcing the company’s commitment to education. It's no longer a solitary activity where you learn alone. It's like the company saying, "Learning is good. Let's learn together as one."
It's us, the employees, who decide which course we learn on Certification Day. The fact that we are empowered to take charge of our learning shows our company's confidence in us. In turn, this builds our self-confidence and improves our performance. The learning culture also encourages employees to actively apply what they’ve learnt.
Some of us, who have already completed the recommended certifications for our department, are challenging ourselves to take certifications that are not related to our scope of work. This way, we'll understand how other departments work and we'll be able to better support and assist our comrades. This is just one benefit of self-directed learning where we take the initiative to learn without anyone telling us to.
“Certification Day is all about the spirit of continuous learning and grooming the desire to be better at what we do because there's always something that you can value add to your skill set.”
― May Ong, Content Strategist
“As a web designer, I'm more aware of the importance of a buyer's persona and his buying journey. This helps me view my design from their perspective and in turn, I'm able to come up with effective design that works.”
― Jace Chong, Associate Art Director
The company also benefits from Certification Day. Certification Day is a great way to show employees that the company is invested in their future. This positive learning environment also motivates them to work harder and be better at their jobs, leading to increased productivity and profit. Grooming your talent by ensuring that they are constantly progressing and staying up-to-date on industry trends also allow the company to maintain its competitive edge as well as evolve and innovate for the future.
“We believe that in this world of tens of thousands of marketing technology platforms, the only way forward for any consultancy is to adopt an always be learning culture and adaptive learning mindset so that the company can continue to stay relevant and sharp.”
― Jackie Lee, CEO
Our clients also directly feel the impact of Certification Day. By continuously expanding our arsenal of marketing strategies and tactics, we can deliver the performance and innovation that our clients need. Staying on top of the marketing game and design methodology also ensures that our clients get the best shot at marketing success: tapping into the latest technology and features of the various ad platforms, designing a high-converting landing page that drives business outcomes, getting our sound advice and in-depth analysis of what worked and what didn’t for their marketing campaigns.
“clickTRUE is a very result oriented marketing partner which helps us to achieve business goals. They provide practical solutions through a structured and logical methodology. A smart marketing partner for any revenue driven business.”
― Daren Kang, Deputy Director at Nanyang Business School, NTU
“We are impressed with clickTRUE's approach to marketing. They are professional in engaging our stakeholders and have invested a lot of time helping us in optimizing our campaigns to match expectations. They are quick and put client's interests before theirs. It was seamless working with clickTRUE as they are real solutions providers. Not the typical agency who goes by hour-sheets.”
― Jacqueline Goh, Assistant Marcom Manager at Schneider Electric
But learning doesn’t stop at Certification Day. We’re encouraged to learn every day, beyond the workplace. In fact, two of our colleagues, May and Grace, attended Facebook’s Video To Go Creative Hackathon to learn how to use a new video making software. Guess what? They won 3rd place (among many marketing agencies) and returned with prizes! Not only is it a rewarding learning experience, they also built amazing video creatives that can be implemented into ad campaigns immediately.
As the saying goes, "People are an organisation’s most valuable asset." Investing in your employees means you're investing in your business.
By fostering this culture of continuous learning (like how we did on Certification Day), you’re investing in the future success of your company. As your employees learn to be better at their job, the organisation becomes more productive, efficient and profitable.
"It is impossible for their organisations to reach maximum potential if their employees’ skills and knowledge are dated. You’re stunting the growth of the business – it’s as simple as that."
― James Gilbert, HubSpot APAC Marketing Director
Focusing on people is one of the key pillars of digital transformation. Creating an #alwaysbelearning culture of continuous learning is a great way to show your talent that you want them to succeed and grow better.
If you’re a leader who wants your sales or marketing teams to grow, you will first need to lead by example and demonstrate that you’re committed to growth yourself.
Upskilling involves growing your ability and learning about things outside of your core area and comfort zone. Coupled with a few digital training changes, you will see results to your company's bottom line and employees' morale.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”
― Henry Ford