This week is Learning at Work Week which aims to highlight the importance of continued learning and development.
The Learning at Work campaign is run by the charity Campaign For Learning whose aim is to promote and advance learning, helping to create a fairer, more inclusive society. This year Learning at Work Week is particularly focussed on how continuous learning can help us personally and collectively to create our future – achieving life and work goals, shaping our lives, communities, and the world, and driving innovation and organisational ambitions.
Learning has many benefits for individuals. Active learners are likely to be happier, live longer and be wealthier. Everyone benefits from learning in some way, and it can help people to adapt to change, build resilience and problem-solve in all aspects of life.
Promoting learning and development
Whether or not your business could take part in campaigns like Learning at Work Week, prioritising and demonstrating learning and development opportunities in your workplace has many advantages:
- Increasing awareness of and engagement with opportunities to learn.
- Helping you to discover and develop internal talent.
- Addressing skills gaps.
- Informing future learning strategies.
- Improving cross functional working where employees learn together or from each other.
- Helping employees to deal with change.
- Supporting innovation and business progress.
People learn most effectively in different ways, so it’s useful to provide different types of learning opportunities to best suit all of your employees. Common learning styles include:
People may have combined learning styles depending on the information they need to retain so opportunities should be flexible and inclusive, particularly of neurodiverse or disabled employees.
Creating a learning culture
There are many different ways to provide opportunities for your employees to learn, but one of the most important is freeing up time. Employees need to feel that they have the space in their work schedule to dedicate to learning. This could be done through dedicated sessions held offsite away from the day-to-day, providing study leave, and ensuring managers are helping their teams to prioritise learning alongside work tasks.
Managers should actively encourage their teams to take opportunities to learn and recognise and motivate their team members when they see that they have made improvements from their learning. Managers are ideally placed to look for learning opportunities for their employees, whether that’s formal learning or on-the-job learning such as stretch projects or shadowing colleagues.
Opportunities for learning
Budget for learning and development is often seen as a luxury, with organisations prioritising more obviously revenue generating activities, particularly in tough environments. But providing opportunities for your employees to learn could be seen as essential to building your employees skills and ultimately contributing to your business’ success. Alongside more costly options, there are many low-cost ways to give your employees learning opportunities including:
- Free online resources or seminars
- Providing an office library of industry related books for employees to borrow
- Inviting colleagues to share skills with others. This could be through presentations, focus groups or shadowing.
- Encouraging employees to take on stretch projects and ‘have a go’ even if they don’t currently have all the necessary skills.
Alongside building the skills within your organisation, a broad and effective learning and development offering can help you to retain, motivate and attract talent, which in turn can increase productivity, giving your business a competitive advantage.
The team at HROverload can support you to encourage continuous learning in your organisation. We can help you to develop a learning and development strategy, implement online learning, or create and run bespoke training and learning sessions for your teams. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call 020 8588 9494.