Continuing education allows an individual to develop relevant professional and personal skills specific to their role. By continuing education, employees have opportunities to expand their skills, reinforce existing knowledge, and advance within their organization.
If you’re wondering how to encourage continued education at your organization, you’ve come to the right place. Check out 6 ways your organization can encourage continued education for your employees:
- Organize A Book Club
- Incentivize Certifications
- Use Career Mapping
- Create A Peer To Peer Mentoring Program
- Create A Corporate Toastmasters Club
- Invest In Custom Ongoing Learning Activities
“Commit yourself to lifelong learning. The most valuable asset you’ll ever have is your mind and what you put into it.” — Brian Tracy, motivational speaker and self-development author.
We are all lifelong learners. By engaging in continued learning at work, we can constantly evolve and build foundational skills that help us lead successful professional and personal lives.
At Roundtable Learning, we’ve helped organizations identify their training needs and implement programs that develop critical skills in their employees. We value smart investments in ongoing learning and have seen firsthand how continuing education benefits an organization.
This article will explain why continued education is important and dive into 6 ways to encourage continued education at your organization.
Why Is Continued Education Important?
Continuing education allows an individual to develop relevant professional and personal skills that help them advance in their career. Through continued education, organizations can encourage career growth and learning opportunities that ensure their employees have the knowledge and skills needed to excel in their role.
When organizations invest in continued education for their employees, they demonstrate their commitment to upskilling and reskilling their workforce. By doing so, organizations can experience the following benefits:
- Improves Employee Performance — Continuing education improves an employee’s existing skills in a specific area or develops new skills in a more unfamiliar area. Upskilling and reskilling your employees creates performance improvements that can help your organization save money.
- Creates Motivated And Valued Employees — Employees will feel more valued and motivated to expand their skills in different areas. A culture of ongoing learning benefits both current employees and recent hires, while also attracting potential employees.
- Boosts Employee Engagement — Providing resources for continuing education leads to increased engagement because it shows employees that their organization values them, improving employee retention.
- Reduces Turnover Costs — With improved retention rates comes a reduction in turnover costs because employees feel valued and are given opportunities to improve their skills.
6 Ways To Encourage Continued Education At Your Organization
1. Organize A Book Club
Arranging a book club at work is a great way to encourage community and build employee engagement. At a book club, employees meet over lunch or arrange a separate time to discuss a book either in-person or over videoconferencing.
As part of the sessions, employees get to mingle with coworkers they normally wouldn’t see and communicate in a way other than email or office messaging. In addition, employees can take turns facilitating sessions, which opens up opportunities to gain new leadership skills in an informal setting.
2. Incentivize Certifications
Certification programs reinforce existing knowledge an employee may already have or teach them something new. Your organization could incentivize your employees to earn certifications in any of the following ways:
- Draw connections between the certification and their performance
- Cover financial costs to earn the certification
- Reward progress through badges, awards, or bonuses
For some employees, certain certifications may be required of them to continue practicing their job. For others, certifications could indicate the completion of an online course that expands their skills or knowledge in various topics and areas of expertise. These certifications are not only beneficial for the employee in their current role, but also give them an advantage over others when looking to advance their career.
3. Use Career Mapping
Career mapping is a great way to increase employee retention by creating a clear path for professional development.
For example, an employee may work in an entry-level position in customer service and want to become an upper-level manager. With career mapping, this employee and their organization can determine the optimal training and available activities (e.g. job shadowing or leading a meeting) that would help the employee grow into a bigger role.
After completing the activities, the employee should complete a follow-up that determines whether or not the activities were beneficial to their advancement.
4. Create A Peer To Peer Mentoring Program
A peer to peer mentoring program bridges the gap between lower-level employees and those working at higher levels. A peer to peer trainer can either have the same role as their fellow employee or work in a higher position.
A peer group is largely development driven and typically involves the following activities between the trainer and trainee:
- Share job-related knowledge
- Develop personal and professional skills
- Provide psychosocial support
- Offer advice and tips to succeed at work
With a peer group, employees are provided a convenient point of contact to answer any questions they may have. A mentorship program additionally provides a supportive learning network that encourages socialization and boosts teamwork.
5. Create A Corporate Toastmasters Club
A corporate Toastmasters Club helps fill existing skills gaps in employees by providing free club meetings either at an employee’s organization or in their community. Toastmasters helps employees learn to conduct meetings, practice time management, enhance their listening skills, and more.
To create a corporate Toastmaster Club, an organization should complete the following 5 steps:
- Find at least 20 people over the age of 18 who want to join.
- Designate and secure a meeting location.
- Fill out and submit the requisite new club forms to World Headquarters.
- Fill out the Start a Club form and request more information.
- Download a copy of How to Build a Toastmasters Club, a step-by step guide to growing a successful club.
These club meetings develop communication and leadership skills in members by requiring them to complete hands-on tasks (e.g. giving speeches or taking on various meeting roles) beneficial to their soft skill development.
6. Invest In Custom Ongoing Learning Activities
By investing in custom ongoing learning activities, your organization can continue to upskill your workforce, introduce relevant concepts, and reinforce new material. Learning programs could instruct learners in a variety of topics, from technical and safety training to customer service training.
Ongoing learning programs could be presented through a variety of engaging modalities. For the highest engagement and retention rates, we recommend any of the following learning modalities, including:
- Virtual Reality (VR) — Immerse learners in an interactive virtual environment where they encounter true-to-life scenarios without facing real-world risk.
- Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) — Provide a synchronous, collaborative, virtual training environment where an instructor facilitates a session for a group of learners or an individual.
- Augmented Reality (AR) — Create realistic interactions with objects and others by superimposing text, images, video, and 3D models onto the world.
- eLearning — Deliver training resources to learners through engaging electronic or digital resources accessed through desktop, mobile device, or tablet.
Ready To Continue The Conversation About Continued Education?
This article has reviewed the basics of continuing education at your organization, from why it’s important to 6 examples of continued education.
Are you ready to introduce a continued education plan at your organization or want to enhance your existing program? We’re here to help! Reach out to our team of experts or schedule an in-person or virtual demo with our team today!