By Ethical Angel on November 11, 2021

5 Benefits of Purpose-led Learning & Development

The CIPD definition of learning and development is to create the right culture and environment for individuals and organisations to learn and grow. But currently, some would say, it’s not fulfilling its role. A recent survey found that 75% of managers were dissatisfied with their company’s L&D function, and 70% of employees say they don’t have the right skills to do their job effectively. This is clear evidence that learning and development is not working, as employees and managers are not getting the right assistance to grow, learn and ultimately develop.

So, what’s the solution?


Purpose may seem like a ‘fluffy’ term, but, in reality, it’s the secret ingredient to levelling up learning and development programmes to be something that is powerful and effective, allowing employees to truly flourish. Purpose led learning' is not a ‘fluffy’ term, it’s a key priority for L&D, just take a look at some of these statistics:

  • 89% of employees want more purpose in their work lives. 
  • 88% of employees want their business to deliver purpose in the form of meaningful experiences and CSR.
  • 86% of Millenials/Gen-Z employees would consider leaving their job if it lacked purpose.

You may be confused...L&D and CSR are normally separate entities. However, combining the two will supercharge your results. At Ethical Angel, we deliver purpose into learning by harnessing employees’ L&D time to support the third sector. Every learning experience on our platform is a purpose-led project that's been requested by a charity, social enterprise, or purpose-driven business. That means employees are completing meaningful projects that have a global impact and providing that purpose they demand, without diluting their learning. Alongside adding purpose, our projects actually improve employees’ experience, as the nature of purpose led learning makes them experiential. There are, of course, other ways to introduce purpose into your L&D programme, but within this article we’re focusing on 5 key benefits it will bring for both your business and employees, however you decide to implement it.

1. It Allows Employees to Transform Their L&D Time into an Engine for Good

Employees crave purpose, and your company needs to provide them with it. A recent Mckinsey report summed this up perfectly:

“Employees expect their jobs to bring a significant sense of purpose to their lives. Employers need to help meet this need or be prepared to lose talent to companies that will.”

By having purpose incorporated within your L&D programme you can easily cater to this need. As we mentioned above, here at Ethical Angel, our ethos and product is built around purpose. It gives employees another avenue to give back and use their business skills to support a charity. Turning their precious learning and development time into an engine for good, which we think is pretty special. All whilst having the opportunity to learn and develop providing both a sense of achievement and responsibility. This powerful combination of an effective L&D programme paired with your employees becoming an engine for good can provide some powerful results. 

2. Increased Engagement with Learning and Your Business

A recent statistic states that only 19% of employees declare themselves as “fully engaged within the workplace”. This is a scary statistic, but it clearly shows that employees are simply not in tune with L&D in its current form. This is one of the largest problems facing L&D today. 

Employees want to be inspired and motivated, they want a reason as to why they should engage with learning.. By providing a purposeful environment you can foster a culture of learning that truly engages employees as they can see that by engaging with learning they are doing more than just bettering themselves. Furthermore, the fact that the business overall is engaging in charitable causes can also be hugely beneficial in increasing employees’ overall engagement to the workplace making positive strides away from the truly negative statistic laid out above.

3. Reduces Staff Turnover 

The recurring message within this article is that purpose is at the forefront of employees priorities, with 86% of millennials saying that they would consider leaving their job if their company's CSR values no longer match their expectations alongside 94% of employees saying they would stay at a company longer if they had the right L&D. This is worrying for businesses, especially when research from Oxford Economics has shown the average cost of employee turnover (when earning £25,000 a year or more) is £30,614 per employee. The takeaway from this is that companies must address both of these needs if they want to retain staff. If they don’t, the financial cost will be devastating. However, with increasing time constraints on employee time, it is extremely difficult for HR to balance CSR and L&D opportunities. 

That is why, once again, the answer is learning with purpose, and the numbers speak for themselves. Here at Ethical Angel, we have found that purpose-led learning can increase employee retention by up to 30%.

4. Increased RoI from Learning 

One of the biggest challenges for L&D is showing positive RoI, whether that’s because engagement is low or learning is not retained. However, as we’ve highlighted above, by harnessing purpose you will both increase engagement in learning and reduce employee churn. The end result from this combination, not only are you getting better RoI from your learning programme as employees are actually engaging with it and fully utilising your investment, you are also reducing the cost of employee churn.

The RoI benefits don’t stop there though. Purpose-led learning will also provide positive RoI through employee engagement. As a recent report highlighted that staff who are engaged with your business will show a 17% increase in productivity and a 41% decrease in absenteeism

5. It Supercharges Your CSR While Employees Are Learning

It’s 2021. Businesses can no longer shy away from doing their share of corporate good; CSR is important. More than ever there is an increasing expectation for businesses to increase their CSR strategies to improve the global impact their business has, and the potential for purpose-led learning to do this is huge. Even if companies dedicated just 10% of their employees’ learning time to purpose-led projects. 

Don’t believe us? Take a look at the numbers. 

Average L&D hours per employee per year: 34.7

10% of L&D hours per employee per year: 3.47

Volunteering hours generated based on company size through purpose-led L&D: 

100 employees - 347 hours
500 employees - 1,735 hours
1,000 employees - 3,470 hours
2,500 employees - 8,675 hours
5,000 employees - 17,350 hours
10,000 employees - 34,700 hours
25,000 employees - 86,750 hours
50,000 employees - 173,500 hours


As you can see the difference that companies can make is huge, even if they’re small, and it all points to one thing. Learning with purpose is the future of L&D. So, now it’s time to start building a culture of purpose into your learning and development department. This may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Start small, and simply ask yourself each time you plan a new programme or intervention ‘How do we build purpose into this?’. 

Purpose-driven Learning with Ethical Angel

At Ethical Angel, we support companies to deliver purpose-led soft skills development through our unique platform. It can be used in conjunction with an LMS, or as a standalone product. 

To find out more, visit our page on delivering purpose-led soft skills development at scale.

Or if you’d like some one-to-one advice on delivering purpose-led learning, book a call with our team.

Published by Ethical Angel November 11, 2021