Fostering Educational Opportunities In The Workplace
Getting the best ROI on staff comes from motivating and encouraging them to improve their own skillset. Learn how to create these opportunities for staff improvement in your business.
Successful entrepreneurs know that learning is an ongoing process; it doesn’t end upon earning a degree or achieving any particular educational goal. Rather, entrepreneurs know that continuing to learn and master new skillsets gives them a competitive edge. An appetite for learning can set one apart from the crowd and be the catalyst for continued success in an ever-growing and changing world.
Businesses and managers that recognize the benefits of providing team members with ongoing training and educational opportunities set themselves and their employees up for success. In reality, not all employees are motivated to utilize the tools of ongoing education to better themselves in the workplace. Comfort and complacency render them less effective than counterparts who consistently strive for more.
Successful managers and business owners recognize that employees must be motivated to seize educational opportunities whenever they are presented and therefore will strive to foster a culture of learning and growth opportunities that becomes their own reward.
1. Know Your Team’s Strengths and Weaknesses
To best understand how to motivate your team for learning and growth, you have to understand the background, motivations and interests of each team member. Be aware of the experience and background of each person. Determine what information would benefit your team members to increase productivity and help them become more well-rounded. Take time to learn in which areas they feel the need for additional learning and training opportunities. Assess what type of training is most effective for your team members and team as a whole.
2. Consider a Variety of Learning Styles
Learning is very individual, and what works for some may not work for all. There are visual learners who have to see how something works to truly understand it. Others learn best by hearing, and these auditory learners will excel through lectures or audiobooks. Tactile learners need to have hands-on experience to grasp new concepts.
Allow each team member to learn in the style that is most effective for them. In understanding each team member’s individual learning style, you give them a platform for succeeding at acquiring new skills and enhanced knowledge, a win-win for them, the team, and your business.
3. Have Fun with Learning
Educational opportunities also present a chance to strengthen the cohesiveness of your team. Consider allowing employees to be actively involved in the learning process. Ask your team for input about what education they want to pursue. Don’t be afraid to ask your team for feedback on training and ongoing education, as this gives you a chance to refine and improve your approach. Team members feel empowered when they are allowed to be an active part of any process and education is no different. By turning education into something that gives your team enjoyment, empowerment and a chance to contribute to the process, you’ll create a more positive environment which can help your team learn and retain information.
A great idea for fostering active participation in training is to allow team members to take some responsibility in training colleagues. This creates a sense of both pride and accomplishment. A lunch-and-learn event is a great way to make learning fun and encourage team participation. Consider catering the event to make it that much more special for the team, or allow team members to bring their lunch and enjoy dining together while learning in this more casual and relaxed environment.
4. Online Learning Opportunities
Online learning has become a dominant force on the educational landscape in the last several years. It affords you the opportunity to give your team members access to high quality education from top experts in their fields at a fraction of the cost of on-site training. It opens up a wealth of opportunity to access resources well beyond your local community.
You can organize sessions with nationally recognized authors, professional speakers and coaches via remote learning. This offers the added benefit of allowing team members to learn at their desks at their own pace. Colleagues, peers and mentors can be a great source of helping to identify the best remote educational opportunities available to your team.
5. Following Up is a Critical Component of Learning
Attending training is but one step of the process for your team members. Retaining and applying new information in their role at your business is how your team members will truly master their new skills. Remember to encourage questions during and after training as this creates engagement which helps team members to process and recall information at a later date.
Take the time for individual conversations or group discussion with your team to help cement what they have learned. By verbally expressing what they have learned, you can assess the effectiveness of training and help employees through a crucial exercise necessary to retain and reinforce information. Whenever a team member takes a class outside of work, others in the workplace can benefit when you give them the opportunity to share what they have learned with the rest of the team.
This content is inspired by the article ‘5 Ways to Foster Learning in your Workplace’ by Jacqueline Whitmore, first published at entrepreneur.com.