In the spirit of a new year, many of us are spending some time examining our previous successes and setting ourselves some goals for the future. Whether we want to grow our business or work on a specific skill that has nothing to do with our line of work, the start of a new year is the perfect time to take the very first steps toward achieving these goals.
Continuous learning is a New Year’s resolution certainly worth implementing. Rather than just a short-term goal, embracing continuous learning is a mindset. Crucially, it’s an approach to life and business that can help you reach unprecedented heights.
Read on to learn why it’s important to implement a culture of continuous learning in both your company and your personal life.
It Leads to Higher Employee Satisfaction
More than half of surveyed employees consider career growth opportunities to be more important than compensation. At the same time, nearly as many people have claimed to be dissatisfied with the growth opportunities they had access to at work.
These two statistics are a powerful indicator of the importance of continuous learning. Your employees will be happier and more engaged when they feel they are able to further develop their current skill set, learn something new, and advance their careers.
Engaged employees are 17% more productive than those who are not. They are also happier with their work-life balance and less likely to get sick. That’s why a continuous learning culture can enable you to foster the kind of company that attracts talent effortlessly.
It Improves Retention Rates
Engaged and satisfied employees are also much less likely to leave when offered a similar position, as they will appreciate the ability to learn with you. This, in the long run, can give you an incredible edge over competitors who have a higher employee churn.
When people have been working together for a while, they develop a kind of rapport that is not achievable otherwise. This will, again, lead to an increase in productivity. It will mean your staff members are even happier with their positions and comfortable with the people they work with.
It’s Just Good Sense
Finally, investing in your employees and their knowledge is always worthwhile. Imagine if they never continued to develop their skills. They would quickly fall behind industry standards and their problem-solving skills would diminish. Soon enough, they wouldn’t be able to provide the kind of service you need to strive towards.
Your best and most inherently driven employees will work on their personal and professional growth whether you lend them a hand or not. However, if they feel that they are not being appreciated and that their room for development is limited while they are working for you, they will leave as soon as they’ve grown.
Don’t think of continuous learning as an investment in an unstable asset. While the people you’ve taken the time to teach may leave at some point, your company culture will never feel this as a blow. It will merely be a sign that you’ve done something well. After all, all of your other employees are improving every day too.
How to Implement a Culture of Continuous Learning
Deciding how to implement a culture that helps you retain and train employees can be a challenge. You will need to take into account different interests and levels of knowledge.
Don’t expect everyone to want to participate in the same workshops or work on the same skills. Also, don’t merely try to improve the skills someone already has. Even if they have nothing to do with their current position, let your employees choose what they want to improve. All knowledge provides a confidence boost, and it will rub off on their work performance as well.
Here are several ways to introduce continuous learning, along with compelling reasons to do so.
Learn a Language
Learning a language literally changes the way our brains work. Our horizons expand, we’re able to approach problems from more angles, and our mind becomes sharper.
In the world of business, adopting a new language on a company level can:
- open up your company to new markets
- enable you to widen your recruitment
- allow you to benefit from the increase in overall employee sharpness
A good language to work on is Spanish, as it’s easy to learn for English speakers and it can give you access to several flourishing markets. Even if it’s just a few basic business-related words, they will certainly help you deepen relationships with Spanish-speaking clients and partners.
Or, if Spanish isn’t your thing, you could consider learning a coding language. Learning to code can provide real-world skills that will help you excel even if you don’t want to be a developer.
Teach Each Other
You already have numerous subject matter experts in your company. Some of them can help your staff become better at what they do at work, while others can share their passion for a hobby or pastime.
Do a poll among your employees and see who would be interested in learning what. Once you have that, try to match learners with mentors. You can do this in groups or in a one-on-one setting. Either method will definitely help foster deeper interpersonal relationships at the same time.
Provide the Budget
Sometimes, the simplest thing you can do is offer a budget each employee can use as they please. Whether they sign up for a course online or in person or spend it all on books, they will be happy to know you care.
To make sure these funds are spent well, you can ask your staff to talk about their learning experience at in-house workshops. You might even choose to hold mini seminars or webinars on the subject.
Remember to also praise those who are working on their personal development, and lead by example. It’s not just about providing the funds – it’s about making it clear that your brand values continuous learning.
Continuous learning is a practice that can help both your company and your employees grow faster. It helps a business and individuals who are part of that business become better at what they do. On top of that, continuous learning is also a great confidence booster and will provide a higher sense of purpose.
Remember to approach the subject with due consideration, however. Don’t just expect everyone to be on board with the idea from the very start. Work on developing and growing more of the mindset over time until it becomes a part of your brand’s identity.
Author: Sarah Kaminski – freelance writer and social media marketer