Thomas Jefferson was known for his philosophy that learning doesn’t stop after graduation. At The University of Virginia, students are known as ‘first years’ rather than freshman, ‘second years’ rather than sophomores, and so on, in honor of this idea— that learning never stops. TJ has made a great point. Learning does not stop, even when we grow up and become adults. But how does this apply to the modern workplace? Do you have policies in place that embrace this idea?
In today’s world, it’s essential to be up-to-date on the latest technologies and systems in your field. Staying relevant requires training or education in place for employees. While this can sometimes be seen as costly, continuing education can be a major driving force for shaping a company’s future and retaining top of the line employees.
Learning is Always in Style
‘Continuing Education’ can mean a variety of things from offering to pay a portion of tuition for employees who return to school, to partnering with tech companies to offer training on new systems, all the way to organizing a public speaking workshop for employees who say that’s their biggest weakness. There’s no right or wrong, it’s just a matter of finding what works for you and what’s going to help your company thrive.
Below, we will highlight the major benefits of embracing continuing education in the modern workforce.
Investing in your current employees to close the gap of their knowledge will beneﬁt your company as well as the individual. Offering education and training shows employees that you value them and care about their growth. It will save you time and money to develop current employees rather than looking to hire new ones. Continuous education will also directly affect an employee’s ability to perform well and boost productivity. According to a recent report studying the IT skills gap in the U.K., the leading impact of the skills gap was identified as lower productivity (41 percent) as employees find it difficult to work with new technologies. Improving an employee’s skill set and helping them to better learn new technology allows them a challenge and will improve your company’s overall productivity.
Employee Engagement & Loyalty
Companies that don’t offer any form of further education are letting employees get stagnant, which will lead them to search for other opportunities. It’s well known that millennials are not staying at one job or company for more than a few years, however, embracing continuing education can help to combat this. Motivation and fulfillment in a job can be directly linked to seeing continual career growth and opportunities. If an employee can’t see a future with your company, you’re fighting an uphill battle. Providing opportunities for them to continue their education deepens their loyalty to your company. It allows them to develop with one company and see that this could take them further than jumping around.
Continuous education helps companies prepare for changes in the industry. If you are constantly aware and looking for what your employees can learn and improve upon, you will naturally be in the know of how your business can pivot and be ahead of the game for what’s coming next.
Understanding Trends & Tech
The digital world is possibly the biggest reason why continuous education is so important right now. According to Training Journal, 'at the current rate of change, newly-learned digital skills could be out of date within a matter of a few years. In addition to this, as cross-over between job roles and functions increases, additional skills gap challenges will arise.’ We know this, it makes perfect sense, the more technology, the more we need to learn. In addition, new trends in tech are making it easier for administrative tasks to be accomplished. For example, AI chatbots are rapidly increasing productivity. Being aware of this and educating employees on how new trends will impact your industry is a must. Overall, positioning yourself as a company who is changing with the times is a great way to be a leader in your industry.
Thinking about embracing education in your workplace? Great! The best way to start this is to survey your employees. Check-in with what they want to know and what they are aware of in the industry. Working together on developing education and training within your workplace will be the most cost-efficient and benefit reaping strategy.