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Continuous Learning for Employees – A Guide for Your Business




(Photo : Rodrigo_SalomonHC via Pixabay)

As most business managers will tell you, a corporation’s greatest asset is its talent. 

Ironically, however, most businesses neglect to invest in the growth and nurturing of their workforce. 

Organizations aggressively hunt for workers with potential, but some fail to foster that potential once they’ve acquired it. 

Human resource development goes beyond just hiring the right people. The more significant part of the equation entails the provision of continuous learning opportunities for these workers.

What Is Continuous Learning for Employees

Continuous learning is the constant and progressive acquisition of new knowledge and skills by the worker. It also includes polishing up what was previously learned by the worker and optimizing its practical application in the workplace.

Using constant learning, organizations can facilitate the adjustment of employees’ know-how. Tweaking previously acquired skills ensures that your workers’ skill sets always align with the demands of the ever-changing work environment.

Importance of continuous learning

A company is better placed to mitigate risks that would otherwise crystalize due to workers’ ignorance of emerging industry needs through constant learning. 

Worth noting as well is that continuous learning aids in talent retention by an organization. 

According to a 2018 workplace learning report published by LinkedIn, 94% of employees indicated that they would stay with a company for a more extended period if it were invested in their career development.

Your business can reduce undesired worker attrition and talent loss by fostering a supportive learning environment for its existing workforce.

As the Harvard Business Review found out, nurturing an employee’s strengths and talents through continuous learning and positive reinforcement breeds an engaged group of workers. 

Appreciation and nurturing sparks innovation in your workforce. Organizations thrive when they have a robust arsenal of skilled, engaged, and creative workers. 

That is vital in keeping your workforce invested in the mission and vision of the company. According to HBV, an engaged worker is less likely to view the employment relationship as merely transactional and will instead strive to perform better.

Employees believe that where an organization is interested in their skill improvement, it has the workers’ career progression and advancement in mind. In turn, this fuels worker motivation.

Such a set of employees is likely to identify with the mission and vision of the company by being solution seekers rather than workers who only make technical appearances at work.

Continuous learning may take many forms, from traditional brick-and-mortar colleges to on-the-job training. Presently some training opportunities are also available as digital courses.

Challenges

As mentioned before, although most businesses acknowledge the benefits of continuous learning for employees, very few facilitate it.

That is mainly due to the sometimes blinding dedication that most organizations have towards their bottom line. Anything that does not directly translate into a plus on the company’s profits is often given less priority.

Also, there is an inherent fear among most managers that the resources dedicated towards continuous learning might result in outright failure. 

That is particularly in cases where the learning involves experimenting with novel methods and ideas.

Due to the fear of failure, most managers end up sticking to the tried and tested methods and discourage any approaches that might, presumably, rock their boats.

How you can promote continuous learning within your workforce

The most obvious way organizations can enable the constant training of their personnel is through workshops, training seminars, and other direct on-the-job training methods. 

While it might sound intimidating, there are easy ways to go about this.

Collaborative approaches

Foster collaboration among employees where knowledge and information are easily and freely shared. 

Social learning within the workplace may take many forms, including mentorship programs and the promotion of a team approach to projects. 

For an effectively collaborative workforce, the organization must have a cohesive team spirit and a dependable communication infrastructure.

Embrace technological approaches

Employers can  take advantage of online education platforms to enable staff members to learn new skills and refresh their knowledge at the comfort of their homes. For instance, if your company has employees interested in further education in the healthcare niche, you can enroll them in online GAMSAT Preparation Classes at a fraction of the cost of brick and mortar classes.  

It is safe to say that in modern times, every employee, whether entry level or a business executive, can find an online class or course to support both career and personal development goals.  

From the employees perspective, online platforms allow the worker the flexibility of learning on the go, as in most cases, they need not visit a traditional brick and mortar classroom except maybe for seat-in exams. Online classes offer dynamic continuous learning opportunities that fit your employees needs and schedules. 

Lead by example

Workers who are encouraged to be instrumental in their career growth and trajectory are more likely to seek new learning opportunities and self-improvement paths. 

Creating a culture where employees can autonomously set their own career goals means your workers can better conceptualize where they need to be in the future and how to get there.

An excellent way to promote such a culture is by providing workers with analytics and resources in their engagement area. With such tools, they can appreciate the opportunities available and strive to make the best of themselves through skill and value addition.

Also, where the top managers embrace continuous learning, employees, too, are bound to follow in their footsteps. 

Time and resource allocation

Having secured yourself a talented workforce that is raring to make the best of critical learning opportunities, it is time for the organization to commit its resources.

Apart from sponsoring training activities, providing a supportive environment is just as vital. That includes allowing workers time to attend their training sessions.

For a more organized approach, the management can involve the employee in structuring a sustainable learning and development plan. That ensures that no one is caught flat-footed when the worker needs to attend their training.

Most importantly, it ensures that the learning needs of the worker are met without compromising on their deliverables within the company.

Managers should also see to it that the workers who have painstakingly undertaken their training have avenues and opportunities to implement what they have learned.

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