Engaging with learning
Why bother? You’ve been through school and possibly university, you’ve got all the professional qualifications you need, why bother to sign up to yet another training course? Surely you’ve earned the right to sit back, feet under the desk and just get on with your job?
Well if you think that then despite all of your learning experiences you have learnt nothing about the world. Every day brings new discoveries and shifting patterns to challenge the status quo. Technology changes, experiences change and people’s attitudes and expectations change so if you think that what you once learnt is enough to carry you through your career then you are way short of the mark.
So it’s time to face facts; even if you stay in the same post for your entire working life then you are going to have to do accept the need for lifelong learning. And if, hopefully, you are in a position to take on fresh tasks and new responsibilities then you are certainly going to have to up your skill set in order to maximise the chances which you are offered.
The training world moves on..
Luckily for all those reluctant lifelong learners out there, as the world has moved on so too has the attitude towards ongoing training. No longer is the sole option that of sitting in a classroom while a designated trainer drones on about processes which are either completely irrelevant to your job or which you already know thanks to having been in post for some time.
Today, training is far more geared towards blended learning, a mix of on-the-job and external training modules which are designed to provide a holistic view of the workplace allied to personal development needs. Individuals can now boost their skill sets when they need to, before they need to and when it would be beneficial for them to do so. This turns lifelong learning from a series of regulated instruction sessions into an ongoing quest to boost skills and knowledge. As such, it benefits the individual and it benefits the organisation.
With that in mind, we have to ask why it is that some businesses still place such emphasis on training and development needs as part of the annual review. If I need to boost my Excel skills in August I don’t want to wait until my appraisal in December in order that my line manager can note my development needs and arrange a training course for some time the following year. Similarly, I don’t want to be marked down appraisal time for failing to undertake certain artificially identified training requirements when they would have added little to my development or ability to contribute to the organisation.
If lifelong learning is to be effective in contributing to individual and organisational success it has to be woven into the day-to-day fabric of the business. Why shouldn’t employees nip off for 10 minutes to watch a video or run through an online help program? What’s wrong with a team leader stopping work for half an hour to run through a new process or provide the team with a quick refresher in telephone answering? Taken in bite-size chunks learning stops being a chore and moves to being a routine part of business life; one which benefits the individual and the business alike.
Formerly a customer service leader within financial services, Derek Bishop has over twenty years’ experience of leading people and delivering business results in high volume and complex environments.
As an expert on culture change, leadership development and customer experience he is considered one of the leading thinkers on creating...