By: Felecia Brasfield
Encouraging employees to learn new skills creates benefits for the individual and company alike. However, inspiring employees takes a certain amount of knowledge and finesse. The responsibility of guiding employees in this direction usually falls on hiring managers, supervisors, and department leads.
Developing the workforce is about teaching team members how to solve problems and progress in their jobs. A 2021 LinkedIn workforce learning report revealed that 94% of employees would stay on board with a company longer if the company helped them continually learn and progress. Workers who are not invested in their roles are more likely to leave, but by shifting the focus to learning new skills the common duties in the company are carried out more efficiently.
Benefits of New Skill Development
The benefits of encouraging employees to learn new skills have a direct impact on the business and turnover rate.
According to a recent study, 83% of Human Resource professionals noticed a decrease in the quality of job applicants, especially in regards to their technical abilities. Finding ways to help workers continually educate themselves aids in keeping retention rates down.
New skills mean additional knowledge to improve employee performance. These new tools can be obtained through educational workshops and training opportunities. Their continued learning provides new insight on how to handle problems and expand their knowledge base. As the workers gain more self-confidence they become more motivated and productive.
Increasing an individual’s skill set provides them with the opportunity to expand their careers and gain confidence in applying for other positions within the company as they become available. A team member who feels they are a priority, not just their position, responds by expressing gratitude and working diligently.
Continued opportunities for education improve the internal dynamics of the company and offer a form of team building. By investing in the workforce in this way, the company is communicating that they value the individual and see their potential.
Remember, an employee who learns new skills oftentimes uses the new skills to produce better work and advance organizational standards.
Ways to Encourage Employees
Something to keep in mind when encouraging an employee to develop new skills is to make sure the employee knows the company supports their growth and development. Let’s examine some ways the business can encourage their workers.
It’s important to recognize each worker individually and the first step to achieving this goal is creating development plans. These individual plans consist of the skills they need to develop further and any new responsibilities or projects for which they want to be included. They often incorporate performance metrics and areas of improvement.
Regular performance reviews help the employee know how their efforts should be focused at work and what performance goals need to be met. This partnership between the employee and the company gives the employee a way for them to track their progress and to move them closer to their career goals.
Internal mentorship programs provide a way for employees to gain additional knowledge of other departments and the company as a whole. Having mentors who give them high-level responsibilities helps the employee learn new and innovative skills.
Another necessary step in encouraging employees to learn new skills is to provide job performance feedback. It’s important to include praise when providing feedback. Don’t just point to their flaws without supplying a few ways for them to improve. Suggest helpful changes and constructive criticism communicate the point of feedback is to support development.
Employment training opportunities
One of the most valuable ways to encourage employees is to offer direct training opportunities. These can include educational manuals, how-to videos, e-learning, and in-person training. The results from a 2021 Lorman Study found that 74% of workers surveyed were willing to try and learn new job-based skills.
An often overlooked opportunity is allowing the employees to train at another accredited business. This communicates trust by allowing them to gain outside knowledge and trust they will bring it back. Allowing the employees to train within other accredited companies.
If the company would be unable to function at its current level if one worker was lost then the company should consider cross-training. One individual should not be that fundamental to the company’s success. Cross-training contributes to a greater amount of empathy within the workforce. Eventually, the employee can leverage these newly acquired skills to advance within the company.
The management teams and HR departments will lead the charge by identifying the right amount of motivation for their employees to learn new skills. Companies provide motivation through paid time-off, paid time spent learning new skills, and including performance goals in training programs. (HR Daily) Once the employees have learned new skills they become more engaged and productive.