The Myth of Already Knowing it All: 5 Reasons to Incorporate Continuous Learning into Your Business
4th Sept 2018
You studied, you worked, you conquered. What more learning could there possibly be? In a world that’s constantly evolving, it’s far too easy to get complacent and suddenly find yourself trailing behind. Promoting continuous learning is essential for businesses to survive in a time of endless change.
Once upon a time, employee learning was perceived as a one-time activity. A job to be ticked off a list and never touched again. One training session was enough for employers to sit back comfortably in their chairs knowing their staff were equipped for the industry.
However, within the blink of an eye, it’s 2018. Technology has advanced beyond belief and with that, employees are expected to develop their skills to keep up. The traditional culture of one-time learning just doesn’t suffice anymore.
To respond to the demands of an ever-changing society, organisations must promote continuous learning for staff to remain proficient.
So, what is Continuous Learning?
Continuous learning is the ongoing pursuit of learning to further enhance your skills and knowledge for professional or personal development.
But what are the benefits?
We’re glad you asked. Check out 5 reasons your business should be encouraging a continuous learning culture with digital learning:
1. Highly-skilled Workforce
Helen Hayes once said that “The expert in anything was once a beginner”, a concept often forgotten about regarding employee learning. Although to many, it’s apparent that employees require ongoing training to become productive, competent members of their organisation, several are still under the illusion that onboarding is enough to make efficient employees for life, when this is simply not the case.
A study by IBM revealed that 84% of employees at the best performing organisations are receiving the necessary training they require. Likewise, companies that frequently send their employees on training courses have a 37% higher productivity rate and a 21% income increase per employee.It’s that simple. Exposing your workforce to frequent training means you’ll obtain a fully-fledged team enabling productivity.
And if that doesn’t convince you, companies who engage in continuous learning efforts are reported to have a 24% higher profit margin then those who don’t. It’s a win-win.
Believe it or not, your skills and knowledge have a sell-by date.
You could be an expert on a piece of software, but flash forward a couple of years and that software is obsolete. A new program is available, and you don’t know how to use it. Subsequently, the business starts losing revenue as staff are ill-equipped against their competitors.
Continuous learning via a Learning Management System (LMS) eliminates this eventuality. With the ability to easily and constantly update staff with learning materials on industry changes, happening either internally or externally, your workforce will always be relevant.
For instance, you could add an eLearning module that informs colleagues of new staff protocol or training for the latest software.
Ultimately, ensuring staff skills consistently match the present trends and needs of their industry.
3. Increased Knowledge Retention
Remember what you learnt in that training three years ago? No? How about that product knowledge course?
Decay Theory of Forgetting proposes that when we gain a new piece of information it’s stored in our short-term memory, which can only retain around 7 pieces of information for about 20-30 seconds. Therefore, for individuals to recall knowledge they need continual repetition to transfer things from their short-term memory to long-term memory.
Take when someone asks you to remember the code for the car park. For the numbers to sink in, you’re likely to repeat them several times to yourself as it increases your ability to remember it.
With that in mind, it’s not unexpected when people struggle to recall information they encountered years ago in a training program. Humans require frequent opportunities to refresh their knowledge.
Hence, providing an employee with onboarding training and then expecting them to retain all that information months later isn’t a productive method of training. Just as asking an employee to complete one-off product knowledge learning and hoping they’ll be a human encyclopaedia on all products, isn’t going to work.
This is where the beauty of an LMS comes in. It enables staff to rehearse information through regular online refresher modules, transferring it into their long-term memory. By strengthening that knowledge in their mind, employees will be prepared to put those skills into practice when the time arises.
4. Lower Staff Turnover
Maintaining staff remains an issue for many employers, with 60-70% of staff turnover being voluntary. But, why do employees feel the need to jump ship?
It all lies with job satisfaction.Having the opportunity for career advancement plays a massive part in employee satisfaction. A study reported that 68% of workers feel that training and development is the most important workplace policy. Additionally, 86% of millennials voiced career growth as a significant factor when considering the duration of their employment.
Therefore, offering employees continuous learning opportunities will improve staff satisfaction, as it shows dedication to their personal and career development. Consequently, happier staff results in an increased sense of loyalty to the business.
The major advantage of having a devoted team is that it’s cost-effective. A reduced employee turnover minimises time and money spent on the recruitment process, freeing funds to be used more practically in the business. Or on the biscuit fund. It’s your choice.
5. Identify Skills Gaps
To develop your employees and business, you need a realistic understanding of what your employees excel at, but also where they struggle. This becomes a near impossible task if your employees only experience onboarding training, as there is nothing tangible to illustrate their performance. Forcing learning professionals to make uneducated guesses when forming their learning strategy.
Introducing continuous learning into your workforce with frequent eLearning modules, provides decision-makers with statistics on staff performance, giving them an accurate, up-to-date perspective to create an informed training strategy.
For instance, it may become apparent through continuous learning efforts that employees lack basic customer service skills. Identifying this skills gap would allow Learning and Development professionals to invest more into customer service eLearning courses. Generating a more efficient workforce, whilst simultaneously saving time and energy concentrating on areas your staff are already proficient in.
So, why stop training at the onboarding process when there are a plethora of rewards for organisations who encourage continuous learning? Plus, it doesn’t have to be a burden with the ability to update and add courses easily with a Learning Management System.
It’s like the great Benjamin Franklin said: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”.