On average, staff now stay in jobs for four and a half years and skills become half out of date within five years (skill half-life). With careers lasting 40 to 50 years these days, continuous, lifelong learning is vital.
Continuous learning, Time to competence, and employee engagement
Time to competence is the amount of time that it takes to get an employee performing to a certain level in a job. Competence includes knowledge, skills and the set of abilities needed to do a job. In a world of digital transformation, up-skilling and new job roles are common, so time to competence is an important consideration for many organisations.
Time to competence has a big impact on employee engagement. Staff want and need to learn new skills quickly for their professional development.
According to Gallup, the experts in measuring employee engagement, staff are more engaged during the first six months of joining an organisation.
Along with time to competence, the changing nature of an average career will also impact how you support your staff. Put simply, your staff must learn more, faster, and for longer – just to keep up.
Continuous learning and personal development is an essential part of working life. Lifelong learners outside of the workplace actively seek learning opportunities and relish spending time learning. It is time to make constant and lifelong learning part of working culture at an individual level as well as part of organisational objectives. An organisation with a strong learning culture as part of their employee engagement strategy is of benefit to both the business environment and employees.
Here are five ways you can improve employee engagement with continuous learning.
1. Onboard employees early
From the moment your new recruit signs up, the on-boarding process can begin. Many companies now create specific digital learning resources for this very purpose.
Before they start, the new recruit can know the values and core policies of the organisation. They can even know the equally important, more practical things like the location of the canteen and the dress code. Interactive 3D walk-through videos are now easy to create with smartphones.
Many companies involve their current staff in making these sorts of welcome videos. The best companies even assign a mentor or buddy to communicate with new starts and answer any questions before they arrive. Senior leaders record welcome messages. The focus is less on Human Resources and more on a company wide responsibility to embrace the new starts.
Social media giant Twitter’s famous From ‘Yes to Desk’ on-boarding programme does just that. You can learn more about top on-boarding programmes here.
2. BUILD a culture of learning
Organisations that build a culture where learning is a natural part of everyday work, and make it easy for employees to learn in the workflow, tend to have higher employee engagement scores.
Learning in the workflow means providing tools and resources for employees to learn as they work, rather than making learning a separate activity. Read our blog 'Re-think your onboarding with creative eLearning techniques' here.
Most organisations are gradually transforming their classroom or course-only form of training into a flexible set of blended learning tools, assets and methodologies to suit how modern organisations work. The increasing sophistication of digital learning content and tools ensures ever improving engagement with the types of learning and in many areas a greater level of knowledge retention.
3. Encourage employees to have a culture of self-directed learning
Self-directed learning means letting go of the “sage on the stage” tradition of learning that we all have been used to. Most of us, in the past, have learned from teachers and gurus, but this is changing rapidly, mainly due to what is called the democratisation of knowledge.
Self-directed learning is the employee’s choice. When you have a choice in how and what you need to learn, both motivation and engagement are higher – and deeper learning is more likely.
Workers who own their learning journey are 74% more likely to know where they want to go in their career development and 48% more likely to have found purpose in their work.
4. Provide access to high quality digital learning resources
Continuous learning benefits or self-directed learning can’t happen without easy access to high quality digital learning resources.
Learners need access to short, engaging, media-rich content – where it’s quick to find what they need, when they need it - rather than just SCORM files in Learning Management Systems. This is the best way to encourage self-directed and constant learning. Just in time learning is essential as is providing quality resources to ensure that quality answers are available.
Off-the-shelf content platforms such as Percipio offer extensive learning libraries, in-browser search functionality and multi modal content to suit all learning styles. Formal training and digital learning for career development has changed.
5. Invest in coaching and mentoring
More and more organisations are using coaching as a way to develop critical business skills, including leadership and digital competencies. Many organisations also use it as a way of helping staff with performance and productivity challenges.
According to the International Coaching Federation, 86% of organisations got a return on their investment from coaching.
Coaching is an engagement strategy that is needed because of the pace of change in today's working environment. The modern employee feels frequently overwhelmed and stressed out. They are expected to do more and more, with less and less.
Coaching provides a personalised support system, where someone who has faced similar challenges can help fill in the gaps – by asking the right questions. But it’s more than that – coaching can help you overcome hurdles and develop new skills and knowledge with confidence. With someone at their side, working with their strengths, most employees find coaching invaluable.
When it comes to successful digital transformation, or any type of business transformation, all five of these techniques will make it easier for your employees to transform the way they learn and work. The importance of continuous learning in the workplace is growing. The technologies to support learning are making learning easier and more accessible.
Speak to Logicearth about the future opportunities and benefits of continuous learning and development within your organisation.
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