Education is a gift that remains relevant, no matter how old you get. Businesses that encourage their employees to experience new things and educate themselves stand to benefit from the new insights their workforce will come up with as a result.
The human brain is a remarkable organ that can do amazing things if given the right motivation. Therefore, within organizations, leaders should promote learning and self-development as necessary tasks so each team member feels comfortable pursuing them. Encouraging continued learning and growth is a crucial investment in the continued success of the staff.
Below, eight associates of Young Entrepreneur Council discuss how they promote learning within their organizations and underline the importance of pushing employees to grow.
1. Have A Professional Reinvestment Budget
We provide a professional reinvestment budget, accrued at a rate of $3,000 per head per year. Last year, $80,000+ was spent on professional reinvestment, not including the time away from billable work. There are many ways to spend those resources, from self-education (“buying time” for independent study), to courses, to taking to the roads and skies to attend and speak at conferences and events around the globe. Disciplined leaders and direct managers are encouraged to regularly discuss use of this budget and align it to professional growth tracks. – Jake Goldman, 10up Inc.
2. Personalize Professional Development Options
Learning and professional growth are paramount to employee career success and company profits. Creating a simple success path for employees starts with offering personalized professional development, where employees can choose the individualized development they are looking for. It’s important to provide growth opportunities that are easy to access and scalable across your organization. Add professional development as an employee benefit to increase engagement and retention. If you can keep the entire team growing and thinking about their development, it will lead to a high-performing culture that in turn will have lasting impacts on revenue and earnings. – Tom Finn, LeggUP Inc.
3. Hold Weekly One-On-Ones
Ongoing learning is essential. If you’re not continually learning and growing, you’re not performing at your best—in or outside of work. My team is fully remote, and myself or a manager hold weekly one-on-one calls with each employee. One-on-ones help hold people accountable and feel connected to both me and the business. They’re also a terrific opportunity to discuss whatever book or other resources they’re currently consuming. I put such a high premium on development that on a 30-minute call, 10 minutes is spent on these conversations. There are many tools to measure a remote worker’s performance. Encouraging personal growth requires a more hands-on approach. Employees who are learning and growing in their role are happier and more productive. Ultimately, that’s good for business. – Matt Diggity, Diggity Marketing
4. Gamify Training And Development
We have gamified training and development through our online learning portal. It tracks scores and compliance data that gets disseminated via our monthly newsletters and other internal communications. Teams and locations are recognized for full compliance, all 100% scores on individual programs are published, staff with 90%+ cumulative scores are recognized and we maintain a training hour leaderboard. The friendly competition encourages participation and provides positive reinforcement for team members to not only complete mandatory training, but also to seek out additional professional development. – Nate Kline, One Wall Partners
5. Encourage Job Shadowing
One way to encourage an employee in further learning and growing is by job shadowing. Job shadowing allows you to see the depth of someone’s knowledge and from there recommend what needs to be learned in the future. Also, job shadowing allows both the trainer and trainee to know if the trainee is still perfect for the job or if something still needs to be done (change role or further training). On the other hand, job shadowing gives the trainee an opportunity to learn things firsthand. The trainer can also gauge if the trainee is ready for more responsibilities or if they need further training and development. Rewarding the trainee (e.g. money, recognition, additional leave credits) makes it fulfilling for them, giving everyone in the team a desire to experience job shadowing as well. – Daisy Jing, Banish
6. Continuously Share Knowledge
Engage with them. In our office, though there is a hierarchy, it isn’t discussed. We all know our roles, but when it comes to education, we are all on the same level. We are all always talking about what we have learned, what we saw, what experiences we had. It entices everyone to get on the same page. One way we push for that growth is by encouraging our team members to join my partner and I in attending conferences (and they do). We know that them being there will likely excite them to learn more and participate in a larger role. It allows them to see the benefit of continuing their education. – Zach Binder, Bell + Ivy
7. Have A Company Reading Program
We have a company reading program where we pay any employee $20/hour to read a book. The rules are simple. The book must be related to personal growth, business knowledge, etc.—something valuable and not just entertaining. Once the book is done you have to write a short report with your three biggest takeaways and how you will implement them into your life and/or work. This program has been a massive win for us for over four years now. It not only helps the leadership team know who is truly ambitious, but it also shows that we exist to promote growth of all kinds and want to see our staff succeed not just at work but at life in general. – Jeff Cayley, Worldwide Cyclery
8. Create Internal Webinars
One thing we started quite recently was to have people in our business who are great at a particular skill create internal webinars for the team. Our writers and SEO experts share their knowledge and tips in a 30-minute presentation. This is recorded and added to our internal company pages for anyone to view. Getting your own employees to share their knowledge helps everyone. It gives the creator more confidence, and also helps the team learn more about each other and, of course, share important skills that everyone can learn from. – Blair Williams, MemberPress