A business environment that encourages individual growth and nurtures a culture of learning can ensure that employees feel more engaged with their work, according to a report by Southern New Hampshire University. Establishing high employee engagement has a knock-on effect on business, resulting in increased productivity and ultimately higher profits. Successful continued professional development (CPD) within a business, however, requires a culture of life-long learning to be established in the workplace, and should apply to all levels of staff, no matter what their pay grade or experience. Employee benefits programs and other rewarding devices greatly boost engagement company-wide. If you are interested in about fostering a culture of lifelong learning to promote employee engagement.
Why A Culture Of Life-Long Learning Is Important
An culture of life-long learning recognizes the importance of education, and the fact that there is always more to learn. It allows individuals to understand ideas and develop new skills, as well as understanding a broader range of perspectives. This allows individual goals to align more closely with corporate goals, which is ultimately a boost to the business. Employees encouraged to continually pursue their growth and development will be equipped with the knowledge they need to meet performance metrics and learn skills that will help them excel in their positions. Although many businesses work with employees to set performance and development goals during the annual review, many still do not provide the resources needed to achieve them. These resources could be as simple as carving out time for an individual to work on their goals, enrolling them in a training program, or giving them projects to reinforce their learning journey.
Start At The Top
In order to nurture a culture of life-long learning, managers should actively pursue their own growth and development as well as that of the staff they lead. A 2017 Gallup State of the American Workplace report found that employees were 59% more likely to be engaged in the business if the management team was also highly engaged. As well as working as models for life-long learning, managers who are committed to their own CPD will be better positioned to allow employees time to work towards their development goals and encourage them to pursue further education.
Staff who see their leaders enrolling in accelerated bachelor degree programs are more likely to do so themselves, seeking development and higher education in a variety of fields, from human resources to accounting to communications. This also allows for a dialogue between employees and managers where individuals feel empowered to ask for the learning opportunities they need to excel. If you are interested in implementing a culture of lifelong learning to promote engagement,m ensure that you start at the top.
Facilitate Lifelong Learning Opportunities
Formal training and development opportunities should be offered internally by any business looking to foster a culture of learning. This can take the form of in-house training from an external body, experts within the company, or online webinars. Training should clearly relate to the business’ goals, the career paths of individuals, and the positions currently held. It can be related to roles and responsibilities involved in different positions, or it can be focused on the more general business climate, but it should be clearly relevant if employees are to remain engaged. Investing time and money in higher education opportunities will also be of great benefit to the business, and will empower individuals towards independent learning.
Managers can be sent to conferences to keep up to date with best practices, and speakers can be brought in to discuss how changes in legislation might impact the business. When budget is a concern, one or two representatives can be sent to a conference: they will return in a better position to deal with the issues facing your business, and they will also be able to drip down training to other members of the department. In this case, the business should allow dedicated time for this to happen in order to ensure that the information is delivered thoroughly and everyone benefits from the opportunity. By facilitating lifelong learning opportunities, you can seek to effectively raise employee engagement within your company.
Understand The Benefits Of Formal Education
In order to foster and promote a culture of lifelong learning, you need to stress the value of a formal education. Providing tuition reimbursement programs will allow staff to work towards a certification or degree. Although this can be an expensive option, it can help employees develop their skills and knowledge, and can increase their drive and ambition. This may help them to work upwards within your company, but it can also increase their engagement and skills within their current position. When budgets do not allow for this, businesses can facilitate the completion of online courses, such as massive open online courses (MOOCs), which mimic college level training and take place over several weeks. This is a much cheaper route, but it still provides employees with valuable learning opportunities and will increase their engagement with CPD. In order to facilitate your culture and engage employees, constantly stress the benefits of a formal education.
Fostering a culture of life-long learning is about more than empowering employees to develop their skills and growth: when learning is integral to the company’s ethos and everyone is encouraged to continuously pursue their learning journey, the business itself is, in essence, learning. When managers and employees are all learning new skills and knowledge, the business is acquiring this information and skill in a full range of areas. As well as benefiting from improved employee engagement, this means the company has within it a powerful bank of knowledge and skills to excel and stand out from the competition. If you are interested in fostering a culture of lifelong learning to promote employee engagement, consider the points mentioned above.