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Continuous Learning: The Key to Employee Retention

Continuous Learning: The Key to Employee Retention

Learning shouldn’t end at onboarding. In fact, it shouldn’t end. Ever.

As soon as your employees stop learning, they start looking for their next professional endeavor. In fact, 80 percent of employees rank professional development and training opportunities high on their list of priorities when looking into new jobs. And 94 percent of employees say they would stay longer at a company that invested in their learning and development.

Show your employees you care about their development and career by giving them accessible continual learning and growth opportunities.

One of the best ways to do that is by investing in a continuous learning platform that allows your employees to upskill without adding more to their plate.

What is continuous learning?

Continuous learning is a workplace culture that encourages employees to prioritize lifelong learning. Continuous learning happens through formal courses, informal learning, shadowing teammates, training programs, one-on-one and group coaching, and casual interactions.

A continuous learning platform is a tool that enables employees to continue learning new skills.

Why you need continuous learning for your organization

As Lynda Gratton, a professor of management practice at the London Business School, said, “Continuous learning in the workplace must become the new norm if individuals and organizations want to stay ahead.” The business world changes quickly—if your employees can’t keep up, then your organization will fall behind.

The good news is that continuous learning is beneficial for both your organization and your employees.

  • Your employees are happier and more engaged, so they stay with you longer
  • Your employees can keep working on personal growth while still helping the team
  • Your workforce is better prepared for changes because they are more skilled
  • Your company will experience faster growth because your team is always looking for something new and innovative to try

Ultimately, when you create a continuous learning culture, your team’s skill set and knowledge evolve with the changing times.

How to develop a continuous learning culture

A workplace culture that values learning sees feedback and coaching as growth opportunities. Developing a continuous learning culture starts with emphasizing the value of giving and receiving feedback and encouragement. This helps your employees adopt a learner mindset and become proactive about gathering insights from colleagues.

Get your team on board

Your team needs to believe in the value of learning if you want them to invest time into continuous learning. In an already-busy workday, learning has to have value, or your team will check out.

Part of creating a business environment where learning is not only encouraged but expected is shifting the thinking of everyone on the team. Talk to your team and explain the benefits of continuous or constant learning on a team and individual level. Explain that continuous learning:

  • Keeps their skills and knowledge updated
  • Helps them think more creatively
  • Prepares them for unexpected situations and problem-solving
  • Improves collaboration by making sure everyone is aligned

And then explain that a continuous learner with a growth mindset:

  • Regularly asks for feedback on internal and external projects from peers and managers
  • Sees failures as learning opportunities instead of weaknesses
  • Challenges common preconceptions so that they can learn more
  • Actively looks for relevant e-learning courses and certificates
  • Takes the initiative to increase knowledge

As Albert Einstein said, “Commit yourself to lifelong learning. The most valuable asset you’ll ever have is your mind and what you put into it.” Instill a hunger for knowledge within your team, and you’ll find your employees producing better results and growing with your company.

Encourage learning in the flow of work

Learning in the flow of work happens at the moment. It’s learning while doing — without formal learning materials like books, courses, and lessons. It’s also known as “learning in the moment of need” because it focuses on letting employees get started on a task while they’re still learning the task.

It’s a better way to retain information, and it increases productivity. Employees who learn while working said they were 39 percent more likely to be productive and achieve success and 47 percent less stressed.

In addition to better results, not everyone has the time to be learning outside of work. Knowledge workers, for example, spend around five hours on their core responsibilities, another three hours on either creative or strategic work, and 1 to 3 hours helping other people.

While a lot of your employees want to learn new things and grow their careers, executives and project managers found that the main reason employees don’t upskill is because they can’t make time for it.

A system that supports learning in the flow of work will help your employees upskill without adding more hours to their workday.

To do that:

  • Create help docs that anticipate and solve roadblocks
  • House those help docs in a self-directed learning platform
  • Tell your employees who they can talk to if they need more assistance

We also suggest creating an employee experience platform that lets your team access learning content in a single workflow and within a single application.

Investing in infrastructure that encourages learning in the flow of work ensures that your employees learn exactly what they need to know when they need to know it.

Create customized learning experiences

Your teams and employees have different backgrounds, skills, and experiences. This means everyone wants to learn different things in different ways.

Your content managers, for instance, have no interest in learning more about hiring best practices. Just as your recruiters don’t want to learn about how to write a great introduction.

Continuous learning requires custom learning paths for each of your employees, so they get the most out of your training material. Each learning path should be designed with your employees’ skill levels, seniority, interests, and career development goals in mind. For example, a beginner SEO course works really well for new content marketing hires, and a technical SEO course might be ideal for more senior employees.

While the jury is still out on the four learning styles—visual, auditory, reading and writing, and kinesthetic—it’s still good to have your training materials in different formats for accessibility. Start with creating video versions of all your docs and transcripts for your training videos.

Create a peer-to-peer learning network

A peer-to-peer (P2P) learning network is a system where employees share their knowledge through presentations. For example, content marketing agency Animalz organizes monthly skillshares that allow any team member to teach everyone else about something they’re experts in.

Big companies like Google and YouTube have built growth mindsets and learning cultures using P2P learning networks, also known as social learning networks. As of today, 80 percent of tracked trainings are conducted through Google’s own g2g—Googler-to-Googler—network.

Googlers lean on each other because the company built a culture that applauds this behavior. Google now rarely brings in outside trainers to educate their team—they encourage their people to learn from each other.

You can emulate Google’s success with a system that encourages your employees to teach the rest of your team about something they know. Topics like “How to use Google Analytics” or “Springtime around the world” create opportunities for learning and development.

The idea is to encourage your entire team to share their knowledge and be curious about all kinds of information.

Invest in your employees—they’ll love you for it

The more skilled your employees become, the more attractive they’ll be to other companies. But if you continue to invest in their development and help them reach their full potential, they’re more likely to stay and continue to grow.

Want to learn more about how to use WorkRamp to promote a learning culture? Contact us to schedule a demo.

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