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Creating A Culture of Continuous Learning: Strategies For Developing Skills In Employees

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Lifelong learning is the number one skill that sets hugely successful people apart from their peers. As a combination of curiosity, tenacity, and an enterprising spirit, lifelong learners experience more career satisfaction than those who let their skills stagnate. Some individuals are more naturally inclined to being lifelong learners; however, a culture of continuous learning can be established to encourage the entire employee base to develop their skills further.

PEG staffing encourages fostering a dedication to developing employee skills as it is a major factor in growing your business and increasing engagement within the workforce.

The Benefits of Continuing Education

In nearly all occupations, there is always a risk that employees will get bored with their careers. This boredom leads to a feeling of immense dissatisfaction and a sense of purposelessness that is difficult to overcome. In the modern workforce, keeping boredom at bay through growing the skills base of employees promotes the strength of the organization. Additionally, continuous learning allows your company to perform at its peak and keep up with the competition. As your employees improve themselves, they can take on new challenges and tackle everyday tasks with increased confidence and efficiency.

Education With a Purpose

When promoting continuing education within an organization, there are two major ways to go about it. The first involves creating your own curriculum and programs to support learning. The second involves outsourcing education to facilities such as Community College and private businesses that focus on improving and developing skills and employees. Both options may be great for a company depending on the specific industry and size, so considering the costs and benefits of both would be valuable before instating any specific program.

Some general guidelines for educational programming for employees include ensuring that the learning objectives are aligned with the goals of your organization, checking that key skills will be developed, and being able to customize learning on an individual basis. Everyone learns at a different rate and with different learning styles, so being able to adapt education to the individual needs of your employees can bolster the culture of continuous learning through encouraging and inspiring them to continue growing.

Characteristics of a Lifelong Learner

Encouraging employees to develop and cultivate the characteristics of a lifelong learner can be a lifesaver as they grow and experience with the company. The main benefit of continuous education for the individual is increased employment opportunities and greater responsibilities that result in higher pay. However, hiring lifelong learners through great Staffing services such as PEG Staffing can pay off greatly for the employer as well. Ensuring new talent is instilled with the characteristics of lifelong learning, including curiosity, tenacity, self-motivation, willingness to embrace challenge, openness to constructive criticism, and proactivity can assist in establishing a strong culture of continuous learning within the workforce. However, even if certain employees may be lacking in some of these characteristics, they can be encouraged, and these skills can be improved over time through educational opportunities.

Routine Trainings

While pop-up workshops and educational experiences can be fun, most employee growth comes from regular scheduled training sessions. For newer employees, these may be scheduled on a frequent basis, such as monthly or quarterly, and as employees gain experience, yearly workshops may be appropriate. Generating excitement around training can be a great way to integrate it into the culture of your organization, and this can be done in several ways, including incentivizing training (having prizes or higher pay for training day) and highlighting the career pathway afforded to trained employees. Additionally, be sure to keep training relevant and up to date to ensure employees can make the most out of it and avoid wasting time.

Special Improvement Opportunities

For the more conscientious and ambitious employees, offering specialized workshops and seminars may be a great solution for accelerated promotion and development of skills. While having in-person resources may not always be possible for your organization, there are huge amounts of online resources ranging in affordability (some are free) that can be helpful for your organization. Encouraging your employees to become certified and accredited by national organizations can also be a great step for building the reputation of your business and providing employees with increased confidence in their skills.

Fostering Teamwork and Mentorship

A great way to foster a culture of continuous learning beyond providing educational opportunities is creating a strong professional network within your organization. More experienced employees can be a great asset in training newer hires as they have real-world experience that is directly applicable to the job at hand. Utilizing the benefits of promoting interpersonal relationships within your organization can be accomplished through reforming team-building activities, creating a mentorship program, and assigning roles within teams, encouraging collaboration over competition.

Rewards and Encouragement

It’s a fact of life that people are very reward driven, and incentives can be used to help promote the culture of continuous learning by offering rewards for the development of skills. For smaller bits of knowledge gained, incentives could include small cash prizes or employee parties, but for larger educational opportunities, promotions and raises can be offered. Employees with a greater skill base are assets to your company, so treating them with respect and appreciation is important and can greatly boost morale. Emphasizing that new hires and experienced veterans alike can work their way up the organization by educating themselves can be a great way to encourage employees to continue their professional development journey.

Final Thoughts

When a culture of continuous learning is established in an organization, employees and employers alike reap the benefits. Employees in organizations that provide educational opportunities are more likely to have increased job satisfaction, be more engaged with their careers, and seek challenge and advancement. These actions greatly benefit employers as well because more internal hiring can be completed from an already educated workforce, and productivity is increased by the development of skills. Additionally, the greatest benefit of lifelong learning is that mental stagnation is avoided in all parties, ensuring all members of the team can grow and improve collaboratively.

If you’re looking for team players who have a passion for lifelong learning, check out PEG Staffing for details on hiring your dream team.