How to Upskill Your Employees — For Little to Nothing
Who says learning has to cost you an arm and a leg — with a little creativity, you can foster a culture of continuous learning in your organization for little to no cost. The goal is for employees to become inspired to seek out knowledge and best practices to fill in knowledge gaps or supplement their knowledge by learning about industry best practices. Inspiring employees to learn, grow and evolve is not just a boon for their professional future, but also for your bottom line.
Tap Into Online Courses
The unprecedented advancement in technology and online connectedness has propelled professional learning into the 21st Century. From Khan Academy to Coursera to Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) to TED Talks, your employees can watch or listen to some of the best thinkers and business minds in the world and connect with others who have similar professional interests.
Take Advantage Of Vendor Relationships
See if vendors you work with offer free or discounted courses, bootcamps, workshops or events for customers. For example, your marketing specialists may be interested in registering for a day-long demand-based marketing bootcamp to get expand their horizons and bring back best practices to implement at your organization. Oftentimes they offer certificates or certifications that only take a few days to complete, but your employees can add those distinctions to their resumes for the future – thereby making the offer to sign up even more attractive. You’ll be surprised at how much you can take advantage of if you ask.
Don’t Forget About Podcasts And Webinars
Podcasts and webinars can be incredibly rich sources of subject matter knowledge — and the best part is they’re most often free. Encourage your employees to seek out associations that align with their field of work and register for any upcoming webinars, podcasts or promoted events.
Organize Lunch And Learns
One of the most organic and seamless ways to encourage an atmosphere of continuous learning within your company or department is to introduce regularly scheduled lunch and learns. Even if it’s once a month, get a rotating cast of employees to talk about a business book they read, present highlights from an event they participated in or summarize learnings from a webinar they attended. Encourage networking, ask employees to seek out subject matter experts and mentors to help them grow. By making such interactions more deliberate and fun, you will start to foster a culture of learning and innovation.
Promote Your L&D Organization
If your company is large enough, chances are you have a learning and development function/organization built in to help attract, grow and retain top talent. Encourage employees — whether they’re individual contributors, managers or executives — to avail of the resources and grow or stretch themselves professionally. Classes or courses could range from developing soft skills to more hands-on practical subject matter or industry knowledge. Whatever the case may be, getting in the habit of enrolling means committing to becoming a better employee.
Deanna Hartley is a prolific writer and editor, having spent the past decade publishing hundreds of print and digital bylines on topics including job search advice, career development, recruitment, HR and human capital management. Deanna has a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, was formerly a senior editor at award-winning publisher Human Capital Media and a senior copywriter at CareerBuilder. She currently works as a content manager at Aon, a global professional services firm. Her articles have appeared in a variety of publications, including Gannett’s network of newspapers, Business Insider and Workforce Magazine.
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