This week* is Learning at Work Week, an annual event organised by Campaign for Learning. This year’s theme is Networked for Learning, which encourages users to explore the ‘social, technological and partnership aspects of learning’ to understand how we can ‘create value from networks, and drive new thinking and ways of developing.’
At People Lab, we believe providing opportunities for further training and development is an essential part of developing employee engagement. Engaging Managers is one of the five enablers of employee engagement, and being an engaging manager means treating employees as individuals, whilst coaching them to achieve their goals. Encouraging and enabling employees to embrace learning and development is central to helping people grow throughout their time with the organisation – and beyond.
In our Spotlight on the Employee Engagement Profession research, we surveyed 76 organisations across the UK. We found that just 29% of professionals who were responsible for employee engagement had received any kind of formal training, and only 57% of organisations allocated budget to developing or training managers in this area. Further to this, just 20% of organisations invest in coaching. Despite the lack of investment in this kind of development, many of our participants expressed an interest in undertaking further training.
Our respondents aren’t alone. In the recent Human Capital Trends research, Deloitte reported that leaders and organisations are struggling to keep up with the demand for new skills and further learning and development. Technology in the workplace is rapidly advancing with the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), though it seems many organisations are unprepared for these impending changes. The third-most-important trend from this year’s report was ‘building the 21st century career,’ which Deloitte defines as ‘a series of developmental experiences, each offering a person the opportunity to acquire new skills, perspectives, and judgment.’ However, just 9% of respondents said they felt ‘very ready’ to address this trend – demonstrating the growing need for organisations to rethink their approach when it comes to learning and development.
Learning at Work Week is the perfect time to start thinking about the changes that could be made within your own organisation – as well as considering which kinds of training you’d like to undertake in the near future. We’ve listed five ways that you can embrace this event in your organisation, to encourage your colleagues (and yourself!) to seek further opportunities for development. Take a look at the list below:
Spread the word
The Campaign for Learning website lists a range of ideas to help you spread the word in your workplace, and through your external networks. You can download free graphics to add to your social media profiles, or to create your own publicity materials to use in your workplace. There’s also an inspiration guide to help you organise an event in your workplace – from leaders giving talks on their experiences, to creating inspirational wall art.
You could also use this opportunity to find out more about your colleagues’ interest in pursuing further learning and development. To do this, you could create a quick online survey, or contact your colleagues via email to ask them if they’d like to undertake additional training. If so, which areas are they most interested in? What’s stopping them from pursuing further development? You can then share these insights with your leaders or managers, to help them get a clearer picture of the need to provide opportunities for learning.
Although you’ll probably have a pretty clear idea of the areas you’d like to pursue further training in, researching and making a list of available courses and adding them to your calendar will ensure you don’t miss out on any opportunities. Don’t forget to check out the Open Learn and Future Learn for free online courses from some of the best universities around the world.
You could also sign up to any relevant webinars or online events – Campaign for Learning has partnered with a number of organisations to provide a range of events, activities and special offers during Learning at Work Week.
Reach out to your network
When you’re researching training courses and events, it might be useful to speak to others who work in the same area as you. You could speak to colleagues in your office, approach others at industry events, or reach out to people via your social media channels to find out more about the training and development that’s proven to be most useful to them. Is there a course they’ve attended that’s been particularly impactful? What would they recommend – and what would they disregard? These responses could be useful during your planning process, and may help you to make clearer decisions about which training to pursue.
Discuss your plans with your leader or manager
When you’re busy, spending time outside of the office (and away from your team) to pursue personal development can seem like an indulgence. However, the training you’re interested in will inevitably equip you with new skills designed to make your working life more efficient – so spending less time training, and more time getting through the day-to-day stuff is a false economy. Any good, engaging manager will understand that development is an essential part of any employee’s progression, and it’ll be something they actively encourage.
Once you’ve decided on the area you want to pursue further training in, sit down with your leader or manager for an informal chat to discuss your ideas – even if your progression and development is something you discuss regularly. It’s important that your manager understands what you hope to get from additional training, and how it’ll enhance your working life – alongside what it’ll bring to the team and wider organisation.
For further information on taking time off to pursue training, visit gov.uk for the full guidelines on training and studying at work.
Become the teacher
If you’ve got a skill to share, don’t keep it a secret! Encourage a culture of learning by sharing your own skills with your colleagues. You could organise a series of learning sessions for different departments to showcase their work and share their knowledge, or invite colleagues from other departments to sit-in with your team for a day. This could help you and your colleagues to better understand the day-to-day running of each department, whilst also picking up some new skills and learnings along the way.
How is your organisation embracing Learning at Work Week? Would you like to pursue further training and development? We’d love to hear your thoughts – let’s keep the conversation going via Twitter, Facebook or in the comments section below.
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*Learning at Work Week begins on 14th May 2018.