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Published on Tuesday, December 5, 2017

How Leadership Can Encourage Learning in the Workplace

Author: Mary Corrado

Employee engagement is an ongoing challenge for any HR department.  One often overlooked contributor to employee engagement is career development.  To help employees develop their career they must be offered valuable learning experiences in the workplace.

At ASE every staff person has a goal to attend at least one development session each quarter.  Their overall performance is based on attainment of that goal.  Although the manager can assist in what that professional development consists of, we really rely on the team member to identify what event they would like to attend.

Employees that become stagnant in their positions can easily become disengaged.  It’s important for leadership to support and encourage learning.  Not only does it make employees feel valued, but it keeps them engaged in their positions and allows them to grow within it or to grow into a more advanced position.

Some ways to motivate employees to be continually learning are:

1.      Encourage employees to discover their passions and aspirations.  People perform the best when they are able to utilize their talents and pursue their passion.  It’s important to ask employees what they are seeking in their career path and then provide them educational opportunities to help them pursue their goals. 

2.      Have employees create a personalized career learning plan.  Ask employees to develop both short- and long-term career goals.  Then have them look at those goals and see where they think they could use additional training and education.  Employees are more likely to be motivated to continually learn if it is guiding them down their desired career path.

3.      Provide guidance support and input.  Managers should act a as mentors for their employees and offer guidance and support towards each employee’s goals.  As employees develop skills to achieve their career goals, they will remain motivated by the support provided by their manager.

4.      Offer a variety of ways to learn.  One size does not fit all in any learning environment.  Some people thrive on in-person classroom learning while others prefer to do it on their own time online.  For most, a blended learning environment works best.  Be sure to provide employees options

Employees are not the only ones who benefit from continual education.  Employers see many benefits as well:

1.      Highly skilled workforce – Skilled employees bring new ideas and creativity to the job.

2.      Upgrading of technology skills – Organizations need to keep their employees up to date on the most recent advances in technology.

3.      Increased employee retention – Companies that invest in the development of their employees see an improved employee experience and therefore have better retention rates.

4.      Impact on the bottom line – Engaged employees are more productive.  Increased productivity can have a direct impact on the bottom line.  In addition, your employees are more likely to bring new ideas to the table if they are continually learning which can help keep your products and services fresh.

5.      Identify future leaders for succession planning – Employees who show interest in continually improving their skills and educating themselves are often the best candidates for future leadership roles and positions in the company.

HR should encourage leadership to ensure their team members are continually learning.  With over 75 unique training programs offered here at ASE, you might think it would be easy for us to get staff to attend workshops, but it still gets overlooked at times due to our busy schedules.  That’s why we added it to all performance objectives.  How do you encourage learning in your workplace?  Email me at mcorrado@aseonline.org

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