Every successful company knows that one of its greatest assets is its workforce. And yet, many organizations still cling to outdated methods to keep their employees trained with the right skills to help meet the company’s business objectives, viewing training as a one-off exercise to fill an immediate need. Now, progressive companies are looking to transform themselves and embrace continuous learning as a way to up-skill and re-skill their workforce. Employees that are more actively engaged with learning, training, and skills certification are more satisfied human resources and have a higher likelihood of remaining valuable contributors to their company for the long haul.
Consider these four important benefits that developing a continuous learning culture can offer for your organization:
1. Fill the Skills Gap More Efficiently
As companies grow their businesses, it’s not uncommon for them to experience what’s known as a “skills gap” with their employee base. Business expansion often requires deeper and more diverse skillsets to meet the growing demand in development, marketing, sales, and other organizational disciplines. Rather than closing the skills gap through traditional means (e.g. hiring full-time employees or contractors to back-fill open positions), progressive companies build and nurture a continuous learning culture that regularly trains existing employees to satisfy skills demands as they arise across the organization.
As many as one-third of new employees leave their job within the first six months, and the cost to backfill can be as much as 1.5 to 2 times the employee’s salary. Nurturing a workforce that continually acquires vital skills keeps the internal talent pipeline full and reduces the need for conventional talent acquisition and its associated costs. Filling the skills gap should be viewed as a fluid, continuous process, not just something that is forced onto new hires or for annual training.
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2. Gain a Competitive Edge in the Marketplace
Companies that embrace continuous learning empower individuals to drive more value across the organization and set the stage for better corporate performance. Continuous training can ultimately yield 50% higher net sales per employee, a significant impact on both top and bottom lines. Strong learning cultures also drive faster time to market for products and services, better employee productivity, faster response to customer needs, and better ability to meet future demand in the marketplace.
Highly sought after skills such as project management, digital marketing, and financial analysis – as well as soft skills such as writing and public speaking – enhance an employee’s ability to raise their value in the organization, even outside their day-to-day activities. Cross-training departments to understand broader disciplines gives every role insight into how the entire company operates and how everyone contributes, improves companywide collaboration and develops tighter bonds between individuals and teams. No matter where employees are in their tenure or as a member of a particular department, a culture of learning helps them be a more effective asset to the company and create better competitive differentiation among peers in the marketplace.
3. Create a Better Overall Work Environment
When everyone in the organization buys into a continuous learning culture, it creates not only a more productive workforce, but also a more enjoyable and innovative work environment. It shows demonstrably that employees are seen as human resources that can be nurtured and consciously integrated into a company’s skills infrastructure. It transforms an employee’s role from just having a job into a growing career opportunity, both internally and with future endeavors, giving employees a certain degree of freedom with career choice and raises their hiring capital for the future. And importantly, continuous education doesn’t necessarily create attrition: employees that see their company investing in their career development are 30-50% more likely to stay with their current employer.
4. Get It Done Online, On-demand
Traditional departmental and functional training can be expensive and time-consuming, and in many cases the experience falls short of employee expectations. An on-demand learning model, where employees can choose courses themselves and complete them online at their own pace, is far more conducive to building a continuous learning culture. Online training and skills certification – offered by on-demand platforms like Simplilearn – can be delivered as either self-directed online learning or instructor-led live virtual classrooms, both public and private. This flexible approach means training is conducted faster, cheaper and more efficiently, and delivers a broader set of skills. Courses can be tailored for each employee based on the proficiencies required for current or future roles, and a wealth of top instructors are available who are all recognized experts in their respective fields. The on-demand model also makes it easy to refresh curriculum with the most current and dynamic available in each industry and for each skill.
Building a continuous learning culture helps organizations to engage with their workforce more effectively and empower them with skills that significantly benefit both parties. Companies who embrace continuous learning will see happier employees, better organizational performance and more prolific competitive differentiation in their market.