4 Ways to Encourage Lifelong Learning for Employees

by Chris Rhatigan on Jan 20, 2017 5:00:00 AM

lifelong learning

Especially in today’s economy, building new skills and exploring different fields are absolutely essential. With all the resources you have access to, it’s easy to keep learning every day.

The most successful people take this seriously. They’re always looking at new ways of doing things and improving existing skills. Making learning a goal for your employees will help them succeed in both their professional and personal lives. Here’s how to ensure they’re always learning something new:

 

01. Encourage them to take classes

It’s easy enough for people to get that college degree and never look back, but taking classes is an ideal way for your employee to stretch their thinking in ways that they’re not used to.

Check out the offerings at a local community college or take one of the thousands of MOOCs (massively open online courses). They can build new skills or improve existing ones.

 

02. Help them find a mentor

No matter what stage your employee is at in their career, they should have a colleague close by who they respect and want to learn from. Help set up a formal mentorship by setting aside time every week specifically to developing their practice and discussing ideas.

Another option is for them to become a mentor. A good mentorship is a two-way street in which both parties learn something. They’ll reflect on how they approach tasks and projects and maybe even think of new ways to approach their job.

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03. Introduce them to innovative thinkers

Nothing sparks creativity like being around creative people. Introduce them to the best people at your organization. Hanging around with achievers and working with them on projects will help them stay fresh.

 

04. Push them out of their comfort zone

Encourage them to use their free time wisely to try something different. Learn another language or learn how to fix a car — in other words, push them to become better at problem solving. The same thing goes at work. If they’re feeling stagnant in their current position, show them opportunities to move up the ladder or switch departments.

Organizations can encourage lifelong learning through subsidizing classes, offering professional development, and creating mentorship programs. This approach to learning will be better for individual employees and the organization too.

 

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This post was written by Chris Rhatigan

Chris Rhatigan is a freelance writer and editor. He is a former newspaper reporter for The New Haven Register and The Iowa City Press-Citizen. He enjoys playing old video games, studying (and trying to speak) Hindi, and walking his dog on the local trails. He lives in India.