Technologies are evolving at a faster pace. To stay competitive employees and employer both have to adapt and keep pace with the changing world. Skills acquired by employees 2~3 years ago are getting obsolete in today’s business environment. In such scenarios employees have to up-skill their knowledge and expertise that could give them a competitive edge in their roles in the future.
Today when employees apply for the job they look for the workplace where they can learn and grow. Therefore those organizations that effectively nurture their workforce’s desire to learn are at 30% more likely to be market leaders in their industries over an extended period of time.
How do you leverage your staff for continuous learning?
Employee growth and learning both are essential parts of a business strategy. To provide a learning environment to your employees for their professional growth.
This works well when the leaders take the initiative and empower the employees. They have to make learning and development a priority and be committed to motivating employees to learn.
Here are the five steps that leverage your employees for continuous learning
1. Allow employees for self-directed learning
Self-driven learning is an emerging form of learning that has emerged due to the availability of online learning resources.
Align employee’s interest by encouraging them to self-direct and control their learning futures. Employees will not only have a better sense of their own learning needs but they also know what kinds of training work best for them. To provide your employees with space for learning on their own.
Employees owning their learning journey are 74% more likely to know where they want to go in their careers. This enables your employees to select what they want to learn, when they want and how they want.
You can provide access to the online courses to your employees and allocate a budget to reimburse them for courses. Thus investing financially in employees’ ongoing development is one of the best ways to encourage continuous learning.
2. Reward employees for learning
Recognizing learning is vital for employee’s motivation to learn. So recognize learning by rewarding employees for the time they have invested in learning. Without adequate recognition, employees will not see the value in their efforts and concentrate their energies somewhere else.
So implement organization-wide initiatives that reward your team members for their hard work. It doesn’t matter whether it is small like a shout out about how someone has performed in an email or on Slack. Or it can be bigger and more motivating, like a prize for the employee with the most courses completed over a six month period.
Rewarding curiosity will not only encourage employees to uptake the courses but also show your employees that you value the work they put into learning.
Thus taking initiatives for rewards will provide the real means to educate employees.
3. Make knowledge sharing a habit
Someone has rightly said “If you do not make use of your knowledge then it rapidly loses its value” This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to gear your team up to speed on new tasks. So create a knowledge-sharing environment where your workplace becomes a knowledge-sharing hub.
Encourage people to share knowledge and work together more effectively. This way employees can come together to help each other with any parts of learning that are proving difficult. When employees discuss the training or exchange ideas among themselves, it will cultivate a sense of team spirit though they will be at different levels of learning.
Schedule a fixed time: like a long lunchtime or bi-monthly session or before the start or completion of a project.
Knowledge sharing makes knowledge productive to meet organizational goals.
Let’s take an example: You have a project which requires skills that another employee has. If that employee trains you on those skills you can complete your new project faster.
Now you would have got the idea of how knowledge sharing is effective. It encourages employees to build a habit of asking others. Thus skills learned and applied in one part of the organization are leveraged in another part.
4. Set learning goals equally important as performance goals
Learning falls into the shadows of work goals. But you want employees to see learning as a critical part of achieving performance goals. To connect learning to employees’ work performance and unlock the benefits of continuous learning.
Set the learning goals discussing with each team member KPI and milestones during their performance reviews. Set 2 goals per employee per quarter using the SMART model.
Make sure that employees select the training goals where they are really invested in and that contribute toward their job performance too.
Thus you can encourage employees to learn new skills while doing their regular work and make them competitive for the organization.
5. Create a learning culture by developing a growth mindset
Creating a learning culture is not just possible by introducing new policies and opportunities. Teaching people that their brains can change is a good starting point.
So tell your employees why learning is important and why you want to change the culture? Why should they participate? How they will get benefitted from it?
After research, Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck found that there are two types of mindsets people use to approach learning and development: fixed mindsets and growth mindsets.
People with fixed mindsets will struggle to take full advantage of the peer coaching benefits. They give up quickly when they faced obstacles. Whereas People with growth mindsets take coaching as an opportunity to develop and improve. They succeed in a continuous learning culture.
Thus by telling the importance of learning, you can facilitate a growth mindset.
Continuous learning enables your employees to select and learn what they want to learn as per their choice. It generates curiosity for a reward so employees think their learning is valued by the organization. Sharing knowledge with others, employees will be more apt to share their developed skills.
Set learning goals and measure the performance of it along with performance goals and change the mindset of people, because they will more likely to be adaptable in their mindset when the knowledge is required.
Apply these five steps and watch your employees learning continuously