“School’s out!” Most children long to hear those words by the time the end of the school year finally arrives. Many of us spent over 16 years sitting in classrooms learning and absorbing all kinds of information on a wide variety of topics. Then college graduation and all that learning are done. It’s finally done! Or is it?
We enter the workforce ready to get on with real life and being grown-ups; however, most quickly realize the learning has only begun. In fact, learning now might be more critical than ever. With technology innovation, the workforce and jobs are changing quickly, and it’s essential to keep up, or you will be left behind with old, outdated skills. This is not only a problem for individuals; it’s a problem for companies.
What’s a company to do? How can a company keep up with the demands of clients and customers and ensure that employees are up-to-date on the latest trends and skills in your industry? Not to mention the budget that it might require to allow your employees to further their educations.
Cultivating a learning culture in your workplace is essential in any successful organization. Click to Tweet
Companies with learning cultures in which continuing education is valued thrive. Offering the chance for employees to reach more significant potential through learning opportunities is great for business.
Some crucial steps in creating a culture of learning include:
- Offer opportunities for employees to participate in formal training and development
- Recognize employees who have learned new skills or completed a training course
- Get feedback following educational opportunities to see if employees find the opportunities beneficial
- As a leader, emphasize the benefits of learning and encourage employees to create a career development plan
- Encourage collaboration with other employees as well as question-asking
- Lead by example
Consider the following ways to encourage continuous learning in your company:
Encourage employee engagement with Lunch & Learns.
If an employee has recently learned or experimented with a new skill, have them teach their peers. This can be a low-key event that takes place in the office during lunchtime. Send out an email invite so anyone interested can come and learn from their co-workers.
Get employees involved in community education by attending conferences and workshops.
Conferences are usually packed with learning opportunities with keynote session speakers and workshops tailored to specific topics. Conferences locally and nationally offer an excellent opportunity to pack a lot of learning into just a day or two. Free local workshops are not only good for learning, but they are great networking opportunities. Many companies offer monthly or quarterly seminars and networking events that bring in speakers from various backgrounds. Search for some in your area and join their email list to avoid missing the best opportunities.
Sign up for online webinars.
Online experts host free online webinars covering all industry topics, including best practices, new trends, how-tos, and more. Some webinars are available on-demand, while others are events that require registration and are then viewed at a specific event time.
Learn from the comfort of home with online classes.
Online classes allow employees to pick specific topics to learn about right from the comfort of their own homes. There are many benefits to online learning, including convenience, flexibility, less pressure, and cost. Distance learning is easy with online courses offered by colleges as well as online marketplaces.
Other than keeping up with trends and new skillsets, continuing education has other benefits as well. Learning new things helps make the brain function more efficiently and improves focus, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Putting employees in a position to continue learning will also give them an excellent opportunity to expand their professional network. The more people they know, the more business they can help drive your way.
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