New trends and challenges mushroom almost every day in today’s fast-paced world. Businesses are constantly adapting their strategies to keep up with competitors. One of the key parts of keeping up with industry changes is ongoing learning. Your employees must have all the resources and support they need to meet their work challenges head-on.
Here’s why ongoing learning is important, and how business leaders can prioritise it in 2023 and beyond.
Why Is Ongoing Learning Important?
Employees primarily develop their knowledge and skills by tackling day-to-day obstacles and learning on the fly. Hands-on experience will always be the best type of learning, but it has a limited scope. The average worker can’t keep pace with their industry’s ever-evolving tactics and technologies by themselves, whether it’s marketing, retail or construction.
Employers must provide their workforces with additional training tools outside of or alongside the everyday hustle and bustle. Ongoing learning benefits both parties in several ways. Most importantly, it helps businesses retain talent and lessen the impact of the global labour shortage on their operations.
Employees that receive constant feedback and education feel more engaged in their jobs. They can derive value from their work besides their paycheck. An engaged worker is three times more likely to stay with their organisation. Regular engagement is also more important than ever as more workers shift to hybrid and remote schedules.
Retaining your talent can lead to a ripple effect of positive outcomes. Employees can accelerate their career advancement while the workplace culture fosters the right chemistry and confidence. Ongoing learning addresses your industry’s latest trends so everyone has the skills and knowledge to sustain the company’s long-term success.
Here’s how you can promote ongoing learning in your workplace moving forward.
Mid-level managers are largely responsible for determining the success of your workforce’s training. And for that reason it’s important to equip your management team with the resources and executive support to effectively instruct and lead their teams.
Comprehensive educational materials covering a wide range of subjects are an absolute must in professions with lots of technical jargon, such as real estate. Sometimes it’s better to keep the training simple with reading assignments. Employees can digest the information at their own pace and take effective notes as they go.
Make sure collaboration tools, such as videoconferencing platforms and messaging apps, are up to date. In today’s digital world, companies must provide their managers with advanced project management software to help them supervise and train their subordinates.
Along with possessing the latest tools, managers must also be effective listeners, communicators and motivators. But a study by Gallup highlights that only 18% of managers naturally possess these leadership traits. Soft skills are just as important as knowledge and experience in most workplaces, especially the following abilities:
- Time management
These traits will help build a team of capable leaders who will make your ongoing learning programmes run like clockwork. If an employee hits a bump in the road, a manager will be there to help them overcome the obstacle and keep improving.
A Variety of Learning Environments
No two employees are alike, so you can’t expect them to respond similarly to your learning programmes. You must provide a balanced mixture of social and solo learning environments to accommodate all personalities. More companies are using virtual learning tools due to the rise in hybrid work. Here are a few examples:
Personalised Learning With AI
Artificial intelligence is changing many aspects of day-to-day business operations, including employee training. Today’s solutions are equipped with AI software that helps organisations easily customise ongoing learning opportunities in several ways:
- Collect, analyse and interpret data from an employee’s work habits
- Identify knowledge gaps or skill weaknesses in each individual
- Determine the best teaching methods and learning environments
Putting everyone through the same programme always leads to inconsistent results. Employees that undergo training through a personalised approach feel more engaged and appreciated. Digital teaching company Obrizium has been a global leader in introducing AI to corporate learning practices, helping companies cater their training to each unique office employee.
Setting individualised goals and milestones also builds employees’ sense of accomplishment. Employees are interested in different things, so their learning programmes, rightly so, must reflect those interests too.
Simulating Situations Through Virtual Reality
VR has also become more widely used in various industries, especially high-risk fields. Training with VR is much safer than hands-on learning in dangerous, sensitive work environments. Medical professionals can now practice surgeries before working on real patients, and construction workers can become comfortable with new machines before operating them in real life.
Traditional training exams are becoming outdated as more companies partner with third-party organisations to offer unbiased training assessments. Various companies have reported significant benefits from taking employee feedback, including Google, Netflix, hedge fund firm Bridgewater Associates and American food manufacturer Cargill.
Assessments are effective ways for companies to determine the success of their training programmes and how much each employee learned. They can often be accompanied with digital training materials, such as instructional videos and online quizzes. These tools can easily weed out ineffective training materials and emphasise the important ones.
Pairing new hires with mentors can help immerse them with the company culture and settle into their new routines. One close working relationship can change an employee’s entire career trajectory. A mentoring style that has taken centre stage as the workplace demographics shift from baby boomers and Gen X to millennials and Gen Z, is reverse mentoring.
The younger generations have made their work priorities clear to employers – They don’t want to simply clock in and out. They want to keep learning and developing their talents. Reverse mentoring connects senior high-level employees with junior entry-level workers, helping both parties address their weaknesses.
While senior workers teach the necessary soft skills, the more tech-savvy junior workers show them how to use the latest digital tools. Such a relationship is especially important for high-turnover professions, such as construction. The mentorship can be an effective trial phase to get new hires to commit to the company and improve employee retention.
Sharing knowledge between generations is crucial for your company’s long-term success. Reverse mentoring promotes open-mindedness, creativity and most importantly, friendship between employees of all ages.
Flexible scheduling has grown in importance as companies allow employees to work from home, whether permanently or temporarily. You must create adjustable learning programmes for remote, hybrid and full-time office workers. Mixing up your virtual and in-person resources promotes learning equity and puts each group of workers on a level playing field.
Another unique strategy called microlearning or micro-training is an effective format for flexible work environments. It breaks down complex subjects into more manageable bits of information that only takes a few minutes to complete. Employees can digest one thing at a time and move at their own pace without sacrificing too much company time.
Just Keep Learning, love learning
Every employee brings something unique to the table, so they need an individualised training programme. Ensure that your organisation promotes ongoing learning by providing a personalised balance of authority figures, educational environments and digital tools. Regardless of your industry, there’s always something new and exciting to explore in today’s ever-changing world.
Author: Rose Morrison – Managing Editor, Renovated
Photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash