In the modern workplace, learning at work has become increasingly important for businesses to stay competitive. From learning new technologies and processes to gaining an understanding of how different departments interact, learning is key to success in many organizations. In this article, we'll explore five reasons why learning at work is more important than ever before, and we'll look at how learning in the workplace is a circular process which stimulates growth for the employee and business alike or, at least, why you should view it as such.
First, we need to see the reasons why it’s important, and they are:
1. Staying current and up to date.
2. Increased productivity and performance.
3. Increased employee satisfaction and morale.
4. Increased retention.
5. Increase in desire to grow.
These reasons stand on their own as individual motivators for learning at work but also flow into one another to create a circular structure of improvement. As individual motivators, they show how specific aspects of business improve, and as a structure, they show the domino effect it will have on your company as a whole in the long run.
By learning new skills on the job, employees can better contribute to their organization's success, ultimately leading to professional growth. This growth encourages the learning of new techniques as well as the reinforcement of existing ones, thus creating a loop of learning, development, success, and learning again.
You might immediately think to yourself that something that takes focus away from the actual work isn't beneficial to your business, so the upsides of learning at work may not be obvious at first. But in truth? The benefits are far-reaching, for any business. In order to better present the benefits and importance of learning at work, let’s get into more detail about every reason.
Out of all the reasons this one is the most obvious and logical. The business world is changing faster than ever, so as a brand, it’s crucial to not fall behind on developments and improvements. This also applies to your employees. By fostering and encouraging learning at work you get employees that keep in step with advances in practices and technology, which in turn creates more efficient workers.
More efficient workers lead to increased productivity and higher performance for the business. This is not only a benefit for the employee but also for the company as a whole. On one hand, that employee can serve as a model or inspiration to others, and on the other, this means better results for the company. This reason is crucial in understanding learning at work because it shows a clear win-win situation for both employees and employers.
Learning at work helps keep morale high through fulfilling both intrinsic, as in desire for growth, and extrinsic motivation, desire for advancement. A happy and successful business produces happy and successful employees. Also, by allowing them to recognize their potential and places where they could improve, you foster a healthy atmosphere where employees have their professional needs fulfilled.
Drawing from the previous reason, happy employees stay with the company. Apart from that, employees who are learning through work, both through the onboarding process and the rest of their careers, tend to stay with the company. The opportunity to grow and the feeling of being seen and their work recognized enough to be given that chance makes an employee feel valued.
Every brand should strive to have employees who want to grow and improve, not only upskilling but also reskilling within a company. By actively encouraging learning at work, you allow your employees to grow, and you nurture that motivation across the workforce. Additionally, through increased retention and building a dedicated workforce, you also increase desire in employees to better themselves which, in the end, makes them want to stay current and up to date - restarting the circle once again.
The first thing is to identify aspects that need improvement in the first place. Your workforce isn’t equal in all areas, so some areas may require more attention than others.
Another important aspect is allowing employees to be proactive. By giving employees the opportunity to volunteer for learning at work you are creating space for intrinsic motivation to take hold, which reveals the prime candidates for the process.
Be accommodating to employees while they learn. This can range from simple time management to catering to specific needs that arise throughout the process. It could also come in the form of giving your employees the type of learning they need, either formal or informal.
Always give them close support in the form of a mentor or a model. This gives them a person for guidance, asking questions and general, and immediate feedback. It has been shown that employees that had a good onboarding experience tend to stay longer with the company.
Lastly, keep the end goal and the long run in mind. It might seem counterintuitive and counterproductive to spend extra time on a new employee, or to an existing one to take longer than usual to perform tasks, or to divert a model employee from their regular tasks in order to mentor a new one, but the long-term benefits greatly outweigh the smaller short-term negatives.