Being able to pursue continued education for work is very desirable. All professionals should wish to add to their skills and knowledge. None should have no opportunity to do so. With regards to what one can learn and how to go about it, the methods are simple. What often stops people from doing it is the effort involved in implementation.
Below we examine the motivations, avenues and advantages of ongoing professional development.
Continued education is feasible
We recently discussed using e-learning tools to promote access to information and learning courses. The availability of education is far more prevalent from a modern workplace than before. Using the digital trend to one’s advantage makes sense when seeking further learning. Furthermore, an average workday can make use of better time management (a most useful skill to learn in any case) to make extra learning possible.
Gaining further knowledge or skills isn’t exclusive to formal training, either. Many companies encourage one-on-one mentoring as part of continued development. In addition, an active skills transfer program should be part of every team or division. The opportunity to learn on the job via colleagues is hugely advantageous. Not only is such learning part of your work process, but it can be directed to give you what you need to make your job easier or better.
If it is to be more formal, there are multiple ways in which companies can contribute and enable continued education. While those means were not necessarily meant for a company’s own staff, they are easily enough adaptable to such a role. Making higher-level learning available to your employees raises their own profile as well as that of the company.
Adding value to yourself
By keeping yourself in training and learning to do more and more, you make yourself more attractive and useful to your employer.
Consider promotions and how they are determined. It is in your best interests to present yourself as the best possible person to make a role work. Or, think about future salary negotiations and performance reviews. By showing that you have progressed as an individual, you better your prospects of success inside your company. You are also more likely to be considered a valuable asset if you have an excellent continued education history.
Finally, think about personal satisfaction. Knowing that you can and have taken steps towards self-improvement is a large psychological boon. It will help you reach and keep a positive can-do attitude. This in turn will reflect in your work performance. And don’t forget, soft skills as well as hard skills offer value. You don’t always have to develop tech skills or vocational improvements. A short course in finances or human resources will serve to increase your understanding and work quality just as well.
Adding value to your organisation
Developing new skills and gaining knowledge means you will have the capability for a better work output. This is in terms of both quality and quantity. The trick is to choose to learn things that enable you to take on more advanced responsibilities as well as enhance performance in your current ones.
Think of yourself as a cog in the work machine. Educating yourself further makes you a larger cog that runs smoother. Looking at the bigger picture with the same analogy, having bigger and better cogs is what will let a company expand and grow. Of course, you will need to think carefully about the topic of your training, and make sure it is in line with your organisation’s strategic goals.
Gaining better career prospects
Without a doubt, future prospective employers will look at your eagerness to learn more. For this reason, it is vital to have track record of self-improvement. This may well lead to you being able to apply for better positions, or command a higher remuneration package.
No potential recruiter will be impressed if they feel you have stopped your continued education. In addition, you might come across as someone who doesn’t want to improve. Both of these appearances would likely have adverse effects on you when you’re trying to present yourself as an ideal candidate.
Taking on the mantle of training
Getting involved in the development of others is a fantastic way of encouraging continued education as a part of your company culture. Think of it this way: at some point, you may be the teacher or mentor. You may know more about a topic that any of the people you work with. Since your company’s success is a team effort, it is to everyone’s benefit that you share your knowledge and help develop the skills in others.
It’s good to have a plan for how you will encourage others to seek out further knowledge and skills. Having an easy approach to training is a good way to not put people off. Also, letting them have a say in what skills or information they wish to pursue is an important factor. The trick? Find the right balance between what staff need, what staff want, and what would be the most beneficial to the company.
When you are creating education opportunities, think very carefully about how to use the resources you have available. Time, equipment and finances (including any costs of time spent away from work) all need to be taken into consideration before implementing a training program.
The author is involved in the development of training material as well as training itself. Adept encourages all employees to seek out continued education opportunities both internally and externally.