Creating a Culture of Continuous Employee Development
One of the myths of employee training and development is that it is a one-time event. We send employees off to a training for a day or two to learn something new. But do we ever follow up with those employees? What was their impression of the training? Was it useful? Is that new knowledge being put to good use?
For an organization to grow and benefit from training, they need to create a culture of continuous employee development. In this view of training, much less emphasis is placed on training as an event. Instead, it focuses on how the individual and the organization continues to grow and learn. It is, in fact, learning how to learn. An organization that is serious about employee development and its effect on company growth will develop company-wide processes that incorporate planning, self-analysis, and continual feedback.
Increase Aptitude for Adaptability in Evolving Markets
It’s no surprise that the most successful companies – the ones that grow continually – are those that are flexible and able to adapt to new challenges and changes in the marketplace. It’s no surprise that these companies have created a culture of continuous development where employees, teams, and departments constantly strive to be better. The healthiest companies realize that investing in the growth and development of individual employees will have a positive impact on business growth.
According to a 2012 study by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (United Kingdom), there is a strong correlation between employee development and sustained employment. Employees who invest in their own development are more motivated and engaged. They are able to adapt to changing business environments. A willingness to continue their education also indicates an aptitude for adaptability and flexibility. An employee with these traits will undoubtedly apply them to workplace challenges to the benefit of their employer.
Build a Methodology of Traditional and Alternative Forms of Ongoing Education
Continuous employee development is the idea that training and development does not include one-time, or even a series of, training events. Instead, employee development is carefully planned, carried out on a daily basis, and evaluated for effectiveness. Not all training comes in a classroom setting. It doesn’t always look the way we think training should look. Continuous employee development requires that we shift from our preconceived notions of what training and development look like to explore novel approaches. In this context, employee development may include traditional classroom-based learning and online learning. In reality, these more traditional approaches may only make up a small percentage of the total training program.
Other training methods may include on-the-job training, coaching and mentoring, group or team learning, and experimental learning. Although training and education plays an important role in employee development, professional growth is equally important. Activities that encourage an individual to develop professionally include joining trade associations, attending conferences and seminars, and becoming active in industry-specific events outside of the company.
Cultivate a Growth Mindset in the Company Culture
In order to take advantage of the benefits of continuous employee development, you may find that you need to make some changes within your company.
- It Starts with Management It’s a truism in business that culture develops from the top down. This is especially true with respect to training and development. Upper levels of management must set the tone and make employee development a priority. Employees need to understand that the organization is invested in their training. It is management’s responsibility to connect the dots between what the company wants to achieve and how the employee can help make it happen. Employees often see training as something they have to sit through or endure. They don’t see the advantages of training or its relevance to the workplace. But employees must be persuaded of the importance of development, not only to themselves but to the company. Employers communicate the necessity of training and development to the larger context of business goals.
- Dedicating Resources to Training It’s also important that the company allocate resources, including sufficient time and money. This is especially important in times of economic uncertainty or when the company is experiencing difficulties or periods of high turnover. Too often, little more than lip-service is given to training and development. Once employees see that management is committed to their development, they will commit to it as well.
In the next newsletter article, we’ll take a look at some training and development methods – including traditional methods and some that are more innovative. If you have implemented unusual and effective training programs at your company, we would love to hear about it. Send us an email at email@example.com.
One of the more traditional methods we will look at next time is classroom and online training. Retail Pro University is your partner in delivering training that will empower your employees with the skills and knowledge to use Retail Pro to its maximum capacity. Every month we offer in-person classes in our Folsom, California office. See the schedule for upcoming class dates. You can also take advantage of our online training classes. Go online from your My Retail Pro account and start any time. If your company requires a more tailored approach to education, contact us about a customized training solution.
We look forward to hearing from you!
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