Learning never ends. It is as simple as that. As a child we learned what was taught to us. We asked questions about anything and everything. We had a desire to understand everything and that shaped us into what we are today. But as we grow, we stop learning and focus only on utilising our existing capabilities to the fullest. Our desire for learning diminishes and along with it our ability to gain knowledge about new stuff too.
Keep Learning. Don’t be arrogant by assuming that you know it all, that you have a monopoly on the truth. Always assume that you can learn something from someone else.
– Jack Welch
You can never be complacent about your knowledge and skills in this competitive environment. Someone somewhere out there is working hard to acquire new skills and eventually outperform you.
Even after securing a great job you need to strive to keep on developing yourself. No amount of knowledge can be enough. It will be beneficial for you as well as your organisation, directly or indirectly. Any organisation that understands this need is bound to make efforts to foster continuous learning and development amongst its employees.
It is essential that you conduct regular performance evaluations of employees and review their strengths and weaknesses. Employees seek continuous feedback to see how they are faring and in which areas they need to improve.
It is best to identify shortcomings in a timely manner so that it can be addressed immediately. Provide alternatives for the employees to learn and overcome these. After all you need to make sure that employees are working to their highest potential.
It should be noted that learning should not just be encouraged to increase organisational profitability. While that could be one of the by-products, the main idea is to help an employee succeed in his endeavours.
Learning can be encouraged in a number of ways:
Courses and training programmes
Tie up with institutes and development centres that offer relevant courses/training programmes. There are many online/e-learning courses available that employees can join and develop skills to overcome their limitations. They will appreciate this initiative and are sure to take efforts to make the best of the opportunity.
If they have the right attitude, it is crucial that you retain them. In the words of Simon Sinek, “You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills.”
Reimburse employees when necessary
Today there are a variety of events and seminars where industry thought leaders come and share their knowledge. Such events provide a great opportunity to learn from the masters themselves. Your employees can even discuss their problems with other participants and gain new perspectives to overcome them.
Participating in such events should not only be allowed, it should be encouraged. The knowledge gained could be beneficial for your organisation as well. Reimburse your employees and let them know you support their efforts.
Of course, there needs to be a limit so that you are not overspending.
Group development and learning activities
Almost every HR head worth his salt initiates fun group activities, be it in office or on company trips. Make the best use of this opportunity. You can involve activities that can involve learning a new skill. You could organise games where a team can win only when each of its member has successfully completed the task.
Your employees will understand how their individuals goals are equally important to make sure their team succeeds. Educate them about how this is similar in their work environment as well.
Make way for a reading room
Create a beautiful and quiet place for your employees to read good books. Provide these books. Reading can be a good stress-buster.
Make a collection of books that can add value to their personal and professional life. You could keep motivational, self-development, spiritual or management books. You could even keep Archies Digest for that matter, as long as it suffices the reader’s needs.
What other efforts are you taking to encourage continuous learning in your organisation?