6 Ways to Keep Your Employees Learning At Work
Ongoing development doesn't have to be a huge investment, and can bring many benefits to your workplace and team.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
No company can reach its business goals without a qualified and dedicated workforce. As new technologies emerge, on-job training programs have become increasingly useful to enhance both employees' soft and practical skills. But learning at work can go beyond formal training. Businesses should get creative so that employees are constantly developing their skills.
The Benefits of Ongoing Training
While most companies invest in costly recruitment processes to attract the right candidates, their efforts on employee engagement and education often fall short. Without any type of incentives or supportive programs, it's easy for employees to feel overlooked and unappreciated after a while — and for companies' growth to lag in turn.
Creating a strong learning environment can help your business attract and retain top talent. Benefits of investing in ongoing learning include:
- Improved employee satisfaction. Unsatisfied employees will do the bare minimum. Low levels of productivity and engagement can lead your business's profitability to experience significant setbacks. Training and development opportunities will keep employees motivated and excited about acquiring new skills.
- Training gives employees the opportunity to explore. Let employees explore areas outside their field with ongoing training. Interacting with other team members, using new technologies and learning new technical skills can help employees visualize potential career paths.
- It helps with retention. Employees with no development opportunities will eventually feel stuck and leave. Development programs and efforts provide employees with real on-the-job experience, help them further their careers and train them for potential future roles within the company. Incorporating learning into your workplace can decrease turnover and drive down recruitment costs in the long run. As your company grows, you will have trusted and experienced employees filling new positions.
- It breeds loyalty. Going the extra mile and investing in training programs empowers employees and makes them feel valued. Employees reward companies that contribute to their professional and personal goals with loyalty.
- It increases productivity. Although many employers find development opportunities expensive, well-structured training in the workplace increases employees' productivity and contributes to the output of the firm. Training programs provide employees with first-hand experiences that help them perform their tasks in better and more efficient ways.
Related: 9 Employee Education Resources Every Entrepreneur Should Know
But training doesn't always have to look like a structured program or course. Here are, as promised, six ways to implement successful on-the-job training.
1. Make it part of your company values
A company's core values are underlying principles that guide the organization towards its goals. By setting growth as one of your business core values, you won't only attract employees with similar mindsets, but also inspire experienced team members to pass on their skills and knowledge to others.
2. Bring in speakers
Doing this regularly is the perfect way to break out of the office's daily routine. Guest speakers can share valuable experiences that inspire your team and bring a fresh perspective to the workplace.
3. Set aside self-learning time
Between excelling at work and dealing with home life, it's difficult for people to find time they can completely dedicate to self-improvement. Setting aside even a couple hours a week for employees to take an online course or explore new software can make a huge difference.
Give your employees the time and tools they need to learn by themselves, and you will have a more confident and motivated team. It's also easy to do and costs you nothing.
4. Organize employee-led workshops
Employee-led workshops can provide team members with useful hacks and insights. These activities can also enhance the sense of community between team members. By learning from doers, employees will have a more comprehensive understanding of new technologies
5. Implement monthly one-on-ones
One-on-ones allow honest and transparent communication between managers and team members. From setting expectations and giving feedback to chatting and clearing up doubts, they can keep your employees motivated and focused on the company's goals.
To get to know your team better and help them develop, provide them with constructive feedback through monthly one-on-ones. Then, create development goals with them to guide their growth.
Related: Why Your Business Needs a Great Employee Training Program
6. Start a training-and-development department
Creating a strong learning culture requires long-term planning, resources and expertise. The methods mentioned above are free, but once you're ready to invest in training, you can create a department dedicated to growth. Besides implementing training programs, this department can work on measuring the overall performance of the company and developing strategies to improve.
Training-and-development opportunities can change your employees and your business for the better. Besides being more productive, employees feel more appreciated, confident and loyal. Meanwhile, ongoing training has long-term positive effects on performance, allowing your business to outperform the competition — which is ultimately the goal of any and all of these approaches.