Employees Yearn to Learn. Here's What Employers Can Do to Help. Training can ensue in a variety of settings short of the college campus.

By Will Staney

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When it comes to education, most people understand how important it is to learn a new skill and are almost always willing to jump on the knowledge bandwagon.

According to Glassdoor's second-quarter Employment Confidence Survey, 82 percent of the college grads surveyed believed their level of education aided them in their career. Having a college degree not only helped them secure a position at a company but also let them build upon what they already knew while in the workplace.

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At the same time, a recent CNN article noted "the fate of workers with less than a college education is deteriorating even more rapidly than the fate of their college-educated peers." In other words, not having a college degree might hinder getting a foot in the door.

The majority of employees surveyed by Glassdoor said that their employers value work experience and related skills more than education, but a recent study from the American Psychological Association found that less than half of the workers surveyed reported being satisfied with the growth and development opportunities offered by their employers. Employees may want to keep learning but they don't want to burden themselves by going after another college degree. What can employers do to help their staffers succeed and grow in the workplace?

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Offer training programs. According to Glassdoor's survey, 72 percent of the workers polled believed training programs or apprenticeships to acquire specific skills are more valuable than pursuing a degree or another degree. This allows for focused growth in the workplace that will help employees become more successful.

Have employees teach one another. Companies have already done the work to hire master designers, communicators, leaders and bookkeepers. Now they can have their employees teach one another. Consult with various staffers to see if they'd be willing to host a training session during work hours to help co-workers learn or practice a specific skill, such as using Adobe Photoshop or maintaining a balanced checkbook.

This is an inexpensive way to help workers grow professionally, give experts an opportunity to teach what they know and develop interdepartmental relationships within a company. It's a win-win for everyone.

Subsidize online training programs. Turn to online systems or programs (such as Lynda.com for design help) to teach employees new skills that can help them in the workplace. This requires less planning and lets employees complete training on their own time.

Send employees to career-focused conferences, expos and boot camps. While dispatching staffers to conferences can be costly, they may be able to surround themselves with top experts in their field.

Conferences typically include keynote discussions, booths featuring various companies and local tours as well as casual events. Upon returning to work, employees will feel rejuvenated and motivated to show off their new skills.

Let staffers shadow people in other departments. Even if the shadowing takes place just for a few hours, this is an easy way for employees to not only learn new skills but also understand how the company works as a whole. Then they can become skilled brand ambassadors.

Do you have any other ideas about helping employees learn new skills that can be applied in the workplace?

Related: Obama Puts Down $600 Million to Train Up Your Future Employees

Wavy Line
Will Staney

Head of Global Recruiting, Glassdoor

Will Staney is the head of global recruiting at Glassdoor. Previously he held recruiting leadership roles at SuccessFactors, SAP and VMware. He is a thought leader in use of online-recruiting strategies involving SEO, mobile, employment brand, social media and data analytics. 

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