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Why continual learning has never been more important

Why continual learning has never been more important

When we begin our careers, many of us will leave formal learning behind. Whether it was at school or through some adult education, once we're in the workforce, the job becomes more important and we learn through doing every day. However, with our world transforming so rapidly, is this enough to stay competitive?

In February this year, Deloitte released its annual Global Human Capital Trends report, which, amongst other things, focussed on the need for continual learning. Both from an individual and organisational standpoint, continuing our education is critical to our ongoing success.

Principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte Josh Bersin suggests that learning organisations – those that invest in employees and make time to innovate – are the ones that are winning in today's highly complex and oft-changing environment.

"The learning curve is the earning curve," says Mr Bersin, both for workers, employers and entire organisations.

Top-performing organisations strap up from within

A survey conducted by global business membership organisation The Conference Board (TCB) in January this year explored what challenges CEOs across the globe were facing coming into the future. Co-author of the report and Executive Vice President of Knowledge Organization at TCB Dr Rebecca Ray explained how, facing new threats and unprecedented rates of change, organisations are bolstering up their internal capabilities to deal with the complexities outside their organisations.

"Deep-seated anxieties about talent and human capital pervade this year's survey results," says Dr Ray. "CEOs are wide awake to the risks posed by rapidly changing skill requirements, on one hand, and a historic slowdown in working-age population growth on the other."

"At the same time, technology continues to accelerate at an incredible pace, promising great rewards to organisations capable of seizing the initiative," added Executive Vice President of TCB Dr Bart van Ark. "To do so, they need to be aligned, agile, and innovative like never before – and our survey finds CEOs focussed urgently toward that end."

In response to these challenges, top performing organisations have stopped the self-satisfied attitude that there is a large talent pool available, and instead are focussing on developing critical employees from within. With development planning seen as one of the key skills needed for organisations to continue prospering into the future, a revised focus on employee education is necessary.

The win-win of investing in professional development

Workplace Health and Safety expert and educator at LMIT Ken Golden is concerned about the number of organisations who promote workers without adequately preparing them for their new roles. In his view, when developing the next generation of leaders, it takes more than just dropping them in the deep end and hoping they can swim.

Investing in employees' education makes them feel valued and encourages them to completely engage with their role.

"When I see people get promoted to management positions, my first question is always, 'What training have you had to be a manager?' The answer always seem to be, 'None, I've just been promoted and I'm expected to know what to do'."

"No one is thinking about the fact that they can send a worker away for training and leverage that knowledge to make the organisation better," said Ken.

If your employer sinks in their new role just because they didn't have adequate training, then they may become disengaged and create more problems. Employers that skimp on this important step are not demonstrating they care for and value their employees. Essentially, they may miss out on priceless future benefits. For instance, investing in employees through their education makes them feel valued and encourages them to completely engage with their new role. This effectively leads to higher levels of productivity, not to mention the benefits newfound knowledge can have in making your organisation more innovative and agile.

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Getting a definite return on your employees' education

Employers need to realise that there is definitely a return when they invest in their workers, something also reiterated by Deloitte's Global Human Capital Trends report. The researchers suggest that employers should halt on forcing out in-house content. Instead, they should maximise their use innovative training methods and resources out available from third-party providers, such as the blended learning approach utilised by many courses offered by Line Management.

"Sit down and work out how that training can be better implemented to make your operations more profitable and safer," says Ken, "and use that to beat your competitors."

Continued learning is important to the ongoing success and adaptability of workers at all levels. With the pace of change not relenting, becoming complacent in your knowledge and competencies is a surefire way to get left behind in the dust of your competitors. By enhancing yours or your workers' skills with an education service like LMIT, you know that your investment will not be wasted, for our students' success is our reputation.

Published by: LMIT