instead of more concrete rewards.
It's that you are going to get the opportunity to apply it. New tools in the job, new skills to apply for promotion etc.
If that doesn't happen which is likely when this option is presented as an alternative to remuneration, you leave anyway. Educated out of the job through an implicit expectation.
So if you are as an employer going to go down this route, you must allow it to be applied, and reward the results accordingly.
Now if you want to provide me with learning opportunities that are related to my personal interests as opposed to yours, that's a different ball game.
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