7 ways continuous learning programs improve business
It makes sense that adults might want to enroll in continuing education. Acquiring new skills and certifications opens up opportunities, such as new jobs, promotions, and even pay raises. Plus, it feels good to learn something new while keeping challenged and engaged.
As it turns out, a business can also benefit from their employees’ continuous learning. You can provide such training in multiple ways. Some companies lead on-the-job trainings to teach new skills. Others provide credits for continued education at universities or online. And these are just two examples of how it can be done. No matter how you want to implement such a program, it’s a worthwhile resource to provide — here’s why:
1. It Makes Staffers More Adaptable
On-the-job training can arm employees with skills they need to excel in the workplace. Learning about industry trends or new technologies, for instance, can help them when they face an issue. And, even if they partake in out-of-office education, they’ll be awakening their minds and engaging in a new way.
With this kind of information to rely on, educationally focused employees learn how to adapt to new situations. They can use the information they’ve gathered to help them problem solve or think outside of the box. Specific training can allow them to be adaptable in that they can step into another role if someone’s out of the office. No matter what, all these side effects help the business run more smoothly.
Agents at the Canadian mortgage financier, MCAP, had trouble keeping up with the many phone calls they received — they have $56 billion under their administration, after all. So, they underwent training to help them answer questions more quickly and efficiently. This education helped them to more efficiently answer phone calls, even when under a time or quantity crunch.
2. They Can Share Their Knowledge
On a similar note, your trained and well-educated staffers can pass on what they’ve learned to others. Social learning can include tips passed through social media, but it’s equally as meaningful if it comes in person.
This effect appears in collaborative workplaces — one employee who has gained the necessary skill can teach their coworkers what to do. MCAP, one of Canada’s largest independent mortgage financing companies, invested in providing agents with essential knowledge that didn’t take them off their phones. Their call quality improved 84 percent and their team experienced a 21 percent increase in knowledge growth. On-going learning and knowledge-sharing go hand in hand. It’s a win-win situation for employees, and it makes everyone better at their job.
3. Innovation Will Be at the Forefront
New knowledge gets people thinking. It also enlightens them to new methods and ways to solve problems. As we’ve already noted, this state of mind means that staffers will be more adaptable to whatever comes their way. But it also helps push the business forward, too.
With fresh, modern ideas, employees can help rejuvenate a more traditional business model to suit the modern market. With new skills and methods at the forefront, the entire business will flourish and continue to, so long as education remains a focus. Otherwise, things could go stagnant again without contemporary training.
Toyota knows how valuable such training can be. Whether hiring for an executive position or an opening on the assembly line, the car company chooses only those with a desire to learn and solve problems. Then, they allow these bright minds to innovate and come up with new processes that will improve the business model. Such innovation makes customers happier in the long run, too.
4. You Can Hire from Within
Workers ages 25 to 32 tend to stay at a particular job for an average of 3.2 years. If you’re looking to extend that short-term tenure, though, you might consider implementing some sort of continuing education program.
With the right classes or internal training, you can prime the next generation of managers and leadership at your business. This setup will save you the cost of onboarding new higher-ups. It will also prevent the frustration that many staffers feel when they don’t feel as though they’ll have a chance to move up the ladder. Once again, education provides a win-win by keeping employers and employees happy.
At digital marketing agency WebFX, the hiring team makes sure to choose candidates who will contribute to their positive, collaborative work environment. Then, they boost their already admirable qualities with seminars, lunchtime training, and other educational opportunities. This tactic helps the company ensure that they have a great pool of candidates when they have another opening, as they often hire from within. And, knowing they’ve trained their staff well means they know the person chosen will thrive in the role.
5. Employees Will Be More Productive
Time is money, and education can help you slash the time it takes for staffers to get stuff done. It makes sense if you think about it. The more training a person has, the better equipped they are to succeed in their job. They have the skills to solve problems and work quickly to complete tasks. Ultimately, this can result in saving time for them and money for the business — for every hour of training a person receives, they’ll gain five hours of productive time. Imagine what ongoing education could do for that type of statistic.
6. Education Provides a Purpose
Once upon a time, workers would be happy to toil away for a business regardless of its overall mission. Nowadays, though, employees want to know that they’re working toward something bigger, something that helps the rest of the world. Continued education is another way to provide staff with a mission — they become better and the world does, too.
To that end, it’s vital for companies to realize that their staff isn’t just there to make money — each employee has hopes and goals regarding their career. If a business helps its team to improve themselves in the way they hope, they feel appreciated and valued. In turn, they will want to work harder, and the whole company improves as a result.
7. Teach Them Well
How you train your employees is up to you. You may want to lead in-house sessions or provide them funding to attend classes outside of working hours. They might shadow one another or take lunchtime seminars. No matter what it is, one thing is for sure — this type of opportunity is valuable in so many ways.
For one thing, the business will improve. Staffers will solve issues more efficiently and learn skills from one another. They’ll get more done, and they’ll be able to climb the corporate ladder. Most importantly, though, staffers who receive ongoing education feel as though their company really cares about them. They’ll enjoy working for a place that takes care of them.
In short, education is a win for these six reasons and more. Now, it’s up to you to start sharing skills and reaping the many rewards that come with it.
Written by: Megan Ray Nichols, BOSS Contributor
Megan is a STEM writer and blogger at https://schooledbyscience.com/