Stagnant employees can be detrimental to a company. They’re the least engaged in their roles and their productivity is limited—ultimately impacting what the business achieves.
Conversely, businesses thrive when employees on all levels are constantly learning, upskilling, and applying what they’re learning in their roles.
Let’s explore more of the benefits of cultivating a culture of continuous learning within the workplace. Then, we’ll leave you with tips for bringing ongoing education to life in your organization.
The Benefits of Ongoing Education in the Workplace
The workplace is much stronger when ongoing education is part of its foundation. Employee morale, engagement, and productivity are up. Deloitte found that businesses that provide continuous learning opportunities are 37% more productive and 92% more likely to innovate. Great employees want to stay longer. You can achieve business objectives with ease and be a top competitor in your industry because of it.
Here’s more on these benefits of ongoing education in the workplace.
Retain top talent
Talented employees have options. They won’t stay at a company they don’t feel valued at for too long. However, they will stay at an organization that not only values them, but invests in them.
Continuous learning helps the most talented people in your organization learn new skills. Moreover, organizations with reskilling programs see a 50% increase in employee retention and a 73% increase in satisfaction, which can help keep top talent around.
When you cultivate continuous learning in the workplace, you’re investing in the development of your employees.
They’ll have lots of opportunities to grow professionally and personally. As a result, workers are grateful for the evolution that takes place because of ongoing employee education and will want to stay long-term because of it.
Increase employee engagement and productivity
Along with keeping them at your organization longer, continuous learning can increase employee engagement and productivity. When it comes to productivity, 48% of organizations see bottom-line growth when employees learn new skills. Additionally, Deloitte reports that workforces increase their engagement and well-being by 22%.
It’s easy for employees to become stagnant when they’re doing the same thing every day and aren’t challenged in their roles. On the other hand, productivity and engagement skyrocket when they do meaningful work and learn something new daily. To wit, organizations that make an effort to reskill and upskill employees experience 56% improvement in terms of the number of positions filled internally. Employees who learn new things are likely to move into new roles within the company, which improves their satisfaction and decreases onboarding spend.
Employees have an opportunity to become future leaders in their organization when ongoing education is present. That chance alone can inspire them to be fully immersed in their roles and produce high-quality work.
Achieve business goals quickly and efficiently
What happens when all employees are working at optimal productivity levels toward their individual and overall business objectives? The company achieves its goals quickly and efficiently, leading to consistent business growth.
Perhaps the most illuminating statistic here is that companies with skills-based approaches that focus on continuous learning increase their financial performance by 41%, according to Deloitte.
Employees can do more and be more when they have access to education that teaches them the latest industry trends and in-demand skills. They’re also happier in the workplace, making it easier for them to work well with their coworkers and execute tasks.
Be a top competitor
As mentioned above, continuous learning allows a person to stay up to date on industry trends and grow an in-demand skill set. They put what they learn to work in the business, and innovation, informed decision-making, creative problem-solving, and better customer service are the result. When it comes to the latter, skill acquisition among employees leads to a 62% improvement in customer experience.
All of these things can catapult a business to the top of its industry because they make it more competitive. The company can do more than other businesses because its workers have the knowledge and skills that they don’t.
One good way to go about this is to offer an education stipend, which is what we do here at Intellum. Our employees can take advantage of Intellum’s Boost Budget, which is a $3,500 professional development stipend. (Check out the hashtag #BoostedByIntellum on LinkedIn to see some of the ways our great people choose to use the benefit.)
How To Foster a Culture of Continuous Learning in the Workplace
The benefits of continuous learning at work are clear—but how do you create a learning culture in your organization? Here are a few tips to get started:
Define your vision for ongoing education
Continuous learning looks different in every workplace. So, an essential first step is determining how you’d facilitate it in your business. Digging into the following details will help define your vision:
- Who are the instructors?
- What skills gaps are currently on your team?
- How would you ensure learning happens in the day-to-day?
- What would formal and informal employee education look like?
- Would you also include online learning modules to facilitate ongoing education?
- What employee development and business goals do you have? How can you align employee education with both?
- How will you get learners to engage in education and training? Gamifying the lessons? Incentives?
- How will you give effective feedback to learners? How will you gather it from learners?
Once you understand what you want ongoing education to look like in your workplace, you can put together a plan for achieving your vision. Be as detailed as possible so there are no discrepancies about when, where, and how you’ll build a continuous learning culture.
Make sure employees have soft skills first
The goal is for your employees to thoroughly engage in as many education opportunities as possible throughout the life of their employment. But before they get there, they must have soft skills and excel at using them. Soft skills are those abilities that can’t be quantified, such as communication and empathy.
They can’t move on to more complex skills and concepts if they have yet to master soft skills, like:
- Being honest and transparent in everything they do
- Building genuine relationships with people
- How to focus on quality
- Leading by example
- Asking for help from a mentor
Help learners grasp these basic business skills and fundamentals before you ask them to engage in continuous education that only gets more intricate.
Create an environment where they can learn
Ongoing employee learning isn’t possible without an environment that gives them space to learn. When work conditions are poor, such as when employees are always playing catch-up on projects with imminent deadlines, it can lead to a lot of human errors. Employees may also struggle if there’s not enough communication about projects and they have to go looking for answers.
Mistakes are natural, but you don’t want people to feel stressed about making them. You can reduce human error and create a better atmosphere for continuous education by developing an efficient work environment. The easier it is to navigate basic tasks, the less stress people feel, and the more time they have to learn new things. Use technology to achieve this goal.
For example, if you automate repetitive tasks like data collection and analysis, you can free up time for employees and give them space to engage in continuous learning. In a recent podcast with HCM Technology Report, our Chief People Officer Geri Morgan points out that you can use AI for multiple mundane processes. AI is able to take notes and create outlines, agendas, and templates, among other abilities. AI can also integrate with continuous learning programs to provide assessments, gamification, and recommendations.
This frees up time for management staff to engage in ways only humans can. If management is able to oversee processes better, you can improve employee accountability and performance, opening up more opportunities for ongoing education.
Audit your work environment and note how you can improve the processes and procedures within it to support a seamless team workflow.
A culture of continuous learning in the workplace can offer any organization meaningful benefits: Employee retention, engagement, and productivity improve. That, in turn, leads to achieving business goals faster and becoming a top competitor in your industry.
Define your vision for ongoing education in your unique workplace first. Then, implement the rest of the advice to set a strong foundation for constant learning in your organization.